Bamboo plants require little care and maintenance to thrive, but they are not without their own problems. They can become sickly looking due to water conditions, lighting, lack of nutrition or bacteria and mold. Luckily, sick or dying plants display warnings. They turn from green to yellow or tan. Their leaves become droopy and yellow. They look deflated or spindly. Each one of these signs can be attributed to a number of problems that can be easily corrected.
Check the chemical content of your water. Water with too much chlorine or fluorine can kill a bamboo plant. Try using bottled, filtered or distilled water for a few weeks, and see if this brings your plant back to its lush, green self.
Feed your plant. If it has been a long time since you have fertilized your plant, try feeding it to give it a boost. You can do this with a few drops of aquarium plant food or with a few drops of very diluted plant food. (Try adding four times the recommended water to the mix and then only add a few drops to your water.) On the contrary, if you are fertilizing too much or too often, this will cause your bamboo to look spindly and weak.
Correct the light your bamboo receives. If your plant is too close to a sunny window and begins to look yellowed or starts losing leaves, move it farther away from the window. If your plant begins to look droopy and brow, try moving it closer to a natural light source. Never put your bamboo in full sun. This will sunburn and kill your plant quickly.
Clean your water and your container. Dirty water is a breeding ground for mold, algae and bacteria, all of which can lead to a sick looking plant. Clean your container at least twice a week until your plant shows improvement, then clean it weekly after that.
Know when to quit. If you bamboo's stalk is brown and crinkly or has turned to mush, there is no saving it. It is already dead and is simply rotting or hardening in its container. If you are going to try again with a new plant in the same container, make sure to clean it and the rocks thoroughly in case bacteria was the culprit.