I've been following the general guidelines for taking care of lucky bamboo.

  • Purified water
  • Sunny area, indirect sunlight
  • No fertilizer
  • Indoors (60 to 70 fahrenheit nowadays)

They have been slowly dying. They turn yellow, starting from the top. Then they shrivel and show black dots everywhere. I cut off the yellow tops on two of them, hoping that the yellowing would not spread, but that didn't work.

enter image description here

There's quite a lot of algae (I think that's what it is) developing in the tank. I use the same purified water that I personally drink (Pur brand filters) so I don't know how the tank could become so dirty. Is this algae the killer?

enter image description here

  • 3
    algae will not kill your plant but will compete for nutrients. Use a container that is opaque and the algae will not be so much of an issue
    – kevinskio
    Feb 1, 2015 at 22:46
  • @kevinsky What nutrients do the bamboo need that the algae is using? The thing that confuses me is some plants like lucky bamboo, venus flytrap, and aloe vera want to purposely live in bad soils and want clean water. How do these plants even grow?
    – JoJo
    Feb 2, 2015 at 4:13
  • 1
    Algae use the same nutrients, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium and micronutrients that your plant does. They are not killing your plant. That is another, unknown cause.
    – kevinskio
    Feb 2, 2015 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


Two things...too much water and too cold. Lucky Bamboo likes the temp to stay above 65F.

Algae does not use the same nutrients as more complex plants do and not at the same proportions, algae will eat a lot more phosporous and nitrogen than anything else, but will generally not use other nutrients. I know most fertilize is NPK based, but that's totally and completely LACKING true nutrition for a plant. THat's like us eating carbs and fat and nothing else. Yes they are the basis of our diet, but without the rest of a complete diet you get weak and sick. Same with plants. There is more to plant nutrition than NPK. Calcium is perhaps the single most overlooked plant nutrient, iron being the second overlooked.

One way to prevent algae in an aquatic environmnet is to include chilated iron which helps OTHER plants uptake nutrients more effectively and starve out the algae.

That said, lucky bamboo doesn't need much nutrient. I think you are just keeping it too wet (evidenced by the algae), the plant weakened and got a virus.

EDIT: I took a closer look at the picture, the water is almost to the top of the rocks. Also if you are using purified water, where is the algae getting it's nutrient from? If you put purified water in a container and put it out in full sun, algae will NOT grow in it as it has no material to grow from. Where did you get the rocks from?

I have a lucky bamboo also that my youngest son bought for me....I water it with tap water, but it's in a small container I can just about wrap my hand around. I fill it up with water to get all the surfaces of the gravel wet, and then pour out the excess. I do this enough to keep the gravel wet, but without any immediately standing water. I do it oh, once every few to several days depending on the time of year.

  • Any references for "algae will eat a lot more phosphorous and nitrogen than anything else"?
    – kevinskio
    Feb 25, 2015 at 19:19
  • Aquaculture references is where I got it from as well as experience from practicing what I learned from them way back when. You see, fish produce nitrogen, and uneated fish food produces other nutrients. The way algae is kept at bay is to keep live plants. The plants can take up the chilated iron, but the algae cannot and so the plants out-eat the algae.
    – Escoce
    Feb 25, 2015 at 19:34

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