When & How to Repot a Lucky Bamboo
My smaller lucky bamboo has had some yellowing leaves lately so I decided to give it some care. Yellowing and drying leaves are signs that something is amiss.
Since I keep my plant well watered I knew it wasn't dry, but it had been a long time since I had freed up and trimmed the roots, so I did so today.
See the original state of the pot at the last step below.
Time required: 30 minutes
Cost: no cost
- flat glass marbles
- glass or ceramic vase
- lucky bamboo stems
- knife or spatula
- pruner or scissors
1. Use dull knife or thin spatula to loosen roots from inside of pot around whole edge.
2. This is what my plant looks like when it's just removed from the pot.
3. Using my fingers I lightly loosened the tightly ingrown root tips from the top of the rootbound mass.
4. I used my gardening shears to trim long knots of roots.
5. This is what the top of the root mass looks like after I trimmed the knots.
6. Looking at the same root mass from the side, after completing Step 5. I gently separated the long roots that formed the shape of the pot, running round and round the sides, and trimmed them too.
After loosening those long roots that grew into a tightly wound mass around the pot, I dumped the rocks from the old pot into a bowl of water.
7. Some rocks left in the plant were tightly wrapped with little roots so I loosened them and put them in the water.
Then I could scoop the bits of cut root ends out of the water, because the roots float, leaving washed rocks at the bottom of the bowl.
8. I placed the freshly trimmed and rinsed root ball of the plant into a slightly larger pot into which I had placed about 1/4 of the rocks and flat glass marbles from the old pot.
Pour the pebbles, marbles and water through a metal colander. Pick out any tiny bits of remaining roots.
9. Here's the pot full of rocks and marbles to the water line on the stems (formed in the old pot), with the pot filled with water to the same line.
Use bamboo fertilizer sparingly. Too much will cause as many problems as not enough. I generally only use it once per year.
10. Since it felt so fine to have finished the small pot of bamboo I decided to also clean and refresh the larger plant too.
This is how tightly the root mass had grown. About once per year I clean the glass vase and loosen up and trim and rinse this plant as well. The plant always grows well after doing this maintenance.
11. Note the yellowed and dried leaves on the first plant, the subject of this article. If your bamboo shows similar signs it may need repotting.