Lucky bamboo is generally grown indoors in containers of water. With this constant exposure to moisture, these plants can rot. This is especially true if you don't change the water often enough and bacteria develops. An early sign that your lucky bamboo plant is rotting is yellow coloring on the leaves. As the rotting progresses, you will see brown stems and slimy roots. You can revive a rotting bamboo plant if you take immediate action.
Remove the rotting plant from its current pot if there are other plants in it. Prepare a new pot for the lucky bamboo by putting in small stones and filling the vase halfway with distilled water. If it is easier, just use a plastic cup for this until you know the bamboo will survive, and then use a more decorative container later.
Look at all of the leaves on the bamboo stem and identify any that are completely yellow or have yellow spots on them. Pull these leaves off by hand, or cut them with sharp pruning shears. Dispose of the infected leaves.
Melt 1 to 2 tablespoons of paraffin wax in a bowl in the microwave, following the package instructions. Dip a cotton swab into the melted wax, and apply a thin layer to all areas of the bamboo where you cut off the leaves. This seals the bamboo and prevents bacteria from getting into the fresh cuts.
Examine the roots of the bamboo plant and identify any that are brown, black, gray or slimy instead of bright white or orange. Prune off all of the rotting roots as close to the base of the root system as possible without injuring it.
Place the bamboo stem into the new container of water, and change the water every one to two days until you see new green leaves develop with no more signs of rot.
Alternatively, cut off the rotting section of the stem. Dip the cut tip of the healthy upper section of the lucky bamboo plant in rooting compound. Allow this to dry overnight, and then place it in distilled water and allow it to root. Once roots have formed, position it in a vase with small pebbles and clean distilled water. Change the water regularly to prevent further bacterial infection that could lead to new rotting issues.
Wash your hands and disinfect the pruning shears after working with infected plants.
Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.