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When & How to Repot a Lucky Bamboo

Updated on February 20, 2015
Lucky Bamboo with yellowing leaves
Lucky Bamboo with yellowing leaves

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

Difficulty: easy

Cost: no cost


  • pebbles
  • flat glass marbles
  • glass or ceramic vase
  • lucky bamboo stems


  • knife or spatula
  • pruner or scissors
  • colander
  • bowl


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.

Do you like lucky bamboo as much as I do? Any thoughts to share?

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    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      This is a problem I was having with our bamboo plants. Thanks for the tip.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 3 years ago

      @ashleydpenn: This lens was a visual joy to produce.

    • ashleydpenn profile image

      ashleydpenn 3 years ago

      A very good step by step lens. Thank you.

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

      Great info! your lens will be on our Facebook page on March 13. Stop by and like/share the page with your friends!

      "The Green Thumb: A Place for Gardeners to Gather"

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 4 years ago from Europe

      I have bamboo in the garden that I don't consider lucky - it grows like a wild weed and would take over if I let it. I need a lucky panda.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I do like them and used to grow them but now, I have orchids as they are cheap here and I love some flowers.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      We used the lucky bamboo as the theme for my son and daughter in law's rehearsal dinner. Each guest received a small plant. These are sure fun to watch grow and I appreciate this information for care. Thanks.

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      I don't know the difference between lucky bamboo and any other kind of bamboo. So I can't say I like or dislike it. This was interesting.

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 4 years ago

      Really helpful, thank you so much!

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 4 years ago from New York

      Valuable information to anyone growing miniature lucky bamboo plants.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      So handy to have this. You have really given excellent details on 'how to' here.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is very helpful for me right now as I have a bamboo that needs to be re-potted.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 4 years ago

      I've had many of them, and find that I just get tired of it, so out it goes! Then one of my kids brings me a new one............

      Moving this over to our FB page for Weekend Gardeners come on over and like that one too!