How to Take Care of Bamboo Plants in Water

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Water

  • Gravel or river rocks

  • Aquarium plant food

  • Small pot or container

Lucky bamboo is actually a grass, not a traditional bamboo plant.

Bamboo that grows in water is often referred to as "lucky bamboo." It's called this because the tradition of feng shui believes that bamboo can bring prosperity, longevity and happiness to its owners. It requires little maintenance, and can live for years if you follow a few simple care guidelines.

Step 1

Use the right amount of water. Bamboo will grow roots in places where it is submerged in water. If you add too much to your container, you will create an unattractive plant which displays root growth in odd looking places. Around 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water is standard.

Step 2

Use the right kind of water. Water high in chlorine or other chemicals can damage the plant. If your tap water is high in these chemicals, try filling a container with water and letting it sit out overnight to allow some of the chemicals to dissipate. Another option is to use filtered water.

Step 3

Change the water regularly. Water in a bamboo plant must be changes at least once a week to prevent algae and mold growth. If you use rocks to support your bamboo plant, they must be cleaned weekly, too. Bacteria and mold grow rapidly in moist conditions. One of the easiest ways to kill a bamboo plant it to let it sit in stagnate water.

Step 4

Provide the right amount of light. Like people, bamboo can become sunburned if kept in direct sun for too long. They need partial shade. Placing them on a desk or shelf serves them perfectly. It's not best to place them in a sunny window.

Step 5

Maintain the right temperature. Lucky bamboo will die if its environment is too hot or too cold. The average temperature should stay between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 6

Don't cut or trim too much. It is perfectly fine to trim your bamboo from time to time to maintain the look you want or to try to grow a new plant from cuttings. Too much trimming and cutting can kill the plant. Always allow time for the plant to heal when removing a large amount of leaves or stalk before doing any more cutting.

Step 7

Watch for the signs of ill health. Bamboo will show signs to let you know something is wrong. The leaves can droop or turn yellow to indicate lack of water or too much sun. The same goes for the stalk. It can turn yellow or tan, and become either hard or mushy. You will be able to see any algae growth on the rocks or stalks.


Use very sharp, sterile cutting equipment to avoid disease and damage to the plant. Rotate your plant weekly to ensure it gets sun on both sides. Fertilize your plant once a month by adding two drops of aquarium plant food to the water after changing it.


Lillian Downey

A Jill-of-all-trades, Lillian Downey is a certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, certified clinical phlebotomist and a certified non-profit administrator. She's also written extensively on gardening and cooking. She also authors blogs on nail art blog and women's self esteem.