How to Prevent Brown Tips on Lucky Bamboo

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How to Prevent Brown Tips on Lucky Bamboo. Lucky bamboo is pretty much the easiest houseplant to grow-just sink the stems into a small vase and fill with water! Lucky bamboo may look like bamboo, but it is actually a Dracena sanderiana, and like many members of the Dracena family, lucky bamboo is susceptible to a problem called tip burn, where the ends of the plants' leaves turn brown and crispy even though they are getting plenty of water. Here's how to prevent tip burn from affecting your lucky bamboo plant.

Remove your lucky bamboo from its container. Thoroughly wash the container and any pebbles or marbles used to support the lucky bamboo with warm, soapy water. Rinse and dry the container and the pebbles. Then, fill a small bowl with bottled water and gently rinse the lucky bamboo roots. After rinsing the roots, put the lucky bamboo back into its container and add in a few marbles or pebbles around the roots to help support the plant. Refill the container with bottled water to just above the mass of roots.

If you live in a dry climate, low humidity levels inside your home may also cause tip burn. Place a layer of flat stones in the bottom of a shallow metal or plastic tray. Then, fill in the spaces between the stones with water, making sure the water doesn't cover the stones. Set your lucky bamboo container on top of the stones. As the water in the tray evaporates, it will increase the humidity around your plant.

Refill the water in the tray as needed, usually once or twice a week. Also, change the water inside the lucky bamboo container once a week, being sure to use only bottled water. If your plant was watered with tap water previously, you may still see some tip burn after you switch to bottled water, but the problem should subside within 4 to 8 weeks.

Only fertilize lucky bamboo if the leaves begin to turn a pale yellowish green color. To fertilize, just add a few drops of liquid organic houseplant fertilizer to the water when you change it. Don't use a synthetic liquid fertilizer because they are often high in salts, which can cause tip burn.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many cities add fluoride to their water in an effort to prevent tooth decay. They also often treat water with chlorine to kill microorganisms and add salts to soften water. Dracenas, including lucky bamboo, are extremely sensitive to fluoride, as well as chlorine and salts. When you water your lucky bamboo with tap water, these substances tend to build up in the tips of the plants' leaves, eventually killing the cells, which results in tip burn. Watering lucky bamboo with bottled water prevents tip burn in new plants and can fix an existing problem.
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