Lucky bamboo plant with black spots and black background

Black Spots on Lucky Bamboo – What to Do?

I once noticed some black spots on my Lucky Bamboo. I was anxious because I couldn’t imagine my lucky plant dying.

Molds are the usual cause of black spots on Lucky Bamboo (yes… you read that right). Getting rid of mold on any household plant is a delicate case and most be handled well.

During my research, I found out I was not the only one facing this problem. Some even have molds covering their pots. Others noticed that their Lucky Bamboo has started rotting. When I came across a solution that worked for me, I made up my mind that I would share.

Mold on Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo sometimes suffers from mold that appears on its stems or leaves. The mold is not harmful to the plant but is sometimes unsightly.

There are easy-to-use home remedies to kill or prevent mold from continuing to form. A good way to prevent mold from appearing in the first place is to keep the water and pot clean. We’ll give you more tips at the end of the article.

Does it mean it’s dying?

Molds that develop on Lucky Bamboo are saprophytic. That means that they feed on dead plant material and are not pathogenic or harmful to plants or humans. However, they can cause decay over a longer period of time.

Mold on the roots of your plant can affect the efficiency of the roots absorbing nutrients. This can potentially damage your plant.

Mold in soft or brown spots along the stem indicates that your Lucky Bamboo is dying and decaying.

Can you revive a dying Dracaena sanderiana?

This is a question I often came across during my search for how to get rid of black spots on Lucky Bamboo. Sometimes the entire body of your Dracaena sanderiana is covered with mold. This then causes the plant to start rotting. You worry that your lucky Bamboo is dying for a good reason!

It’s an irony: The bamboo plant you bought to give you luck and good fortune, looks like it’s ready to quit working.

Luckily it is easy to tell the difference between a dying plant and one that has a chance to survive. For example, if your plant has turned yellow and is squishy, that might be the end. If it still is green or has green parts, there is a chance that you can revive it.

So, try not to lose everything and save the rest of the green you have and the healthy stems.

Causes of mold on Lucky Bamboo

Mold often grows on Lucky Bamboo around the roots and base of the plant due to its proximity to water. Frequent water changes can lead to mold growth on the plant roots and growing medium.

Certain types of molds also grow on the stems and leaves due to the mold spores’ exposure in the air. This can be as a result of contamination from other houseplants.

We can find indoor pots in places where air flows less, making this fungus more likely to appear.

There are other causes of molds apart from environmental conditions. If you have your plant in soil, poor water drainage (or accumulation) can lead to the appearance of molds. A good trick I use to prevent this is to place stones at the bottom of the pot: this helps the excess water go outside.

Tips for healthy water

Water is essential for the growth of your plants, but too much water can cause several problems. Root diseases or the appearance of mold are part of the problems caused. 

Many people keep their Dracaena sanderiana just in water with some pebbles. While this is perfectly fine, you have to make sure you do it right.

Tap water is often added with chemicals or is naturally harder (calcium oxide). So, if you are using tap water, you may harm your plant.

If you are using rainwater or well water, you may have more residues in it. It may even contain algae or other contagious organism.

So, filtered or bottles water would be the best in order to avoid all of those things. Some say distilled water because it literally has nothing left but I don’t go that far. It just feels wrong as you shouldn’t drink it as a human, so I wouldn’t use it on my plants.

Advice for watering for plants in soil

Although this plant grows in the water you can use soil (just like me) if it pleases you. Growing the plant with soil can be a little tricky, but I have a trick myself.

Do not water unless the plant needs it. There is a little trick I use. I insert my finger into the potting soil to a depth of about an inch. If the soil seems dry, I will water it. If the soil surface is damp to the touch, I will wait a few days before checking it again. Trust me; this trick helps a lot.

Saving the rotting Lucky Bamboo

Let’s find the problem that caused mold on your Dracaena sanderiana. This way you can get rid of it and avoid it from coming back.

Temperature

Look at problems related to temperature first. Maintaining a warm, comfortable, and consistent environment for your plant is important.

If there is any possibility that your plant is suffering from low temperature or any other environmental cause that weakens it, try to reverse it.

Move the plant immediately and place it in a spot with a temperature of 65 °F (18 °C) or higher. Make sure it isn’t right in front of an AC vent.

Water

Examine the water. It’s easy to drown a plant (like I did) or leave it without the necessary water if you’re busy. Either of the two situations mentioned can cause your plant to look or act like it is sick.

Change the water immediately and use filtered or bottled water and give it some fertilizer. Pay attention to your plant for a couple of weeks to see if it heals without a change of water or watering.

As a rule, keep your Lucky Bamboo happy using the following rule. Keep the water level at:

  • 1 inch (2.5 cm) for a plant between 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm)
  • 2 inches (5 cm) for plants between 8 to 14 inches (20 to 30 cm) 
  • 3 to 5 inches (7.5 to 12.5 cm) if your plant is taller.

Soil

Get the earth out. Lucky Bamboo does not need land to grow and prosper. Yours might be begging you to release it if you feel like it’s down.

Remove the plant from the soil, put it in a mineral water. Bath for several hours to clean, hydrate, and re-acclimatize to being out of the dirt.

If you see signs of black, brown, or white bugs, mold, or any other biological matter, you can still save it. If the stems are healthy and green, cut the roots (the healthy ones are orange). Then place the plant in a pot without soil, adding water in the amounts mentioned above.

Mites

Defeat the plagues. The main culprits are mites. If you find mites on your plant, spray some insecticide soap water on it. You can use common dish soap with water.

Neighboring plants

Make sure surrounding plants aren’t infected or even causing the mold. Check all your plants in the area.

How to get rid of mold on a Lucky Bamboo plant

Mold can appear anywhere in the pot, from the outside to the leaves or the soil in it. Thus, we must be very careful with the humidity conditions in which we place our plants.

Step 1 – Remove

Whether the mold is limited to the pot and the soil or it has infected the plant, the first step is removing the plant from the pot. Then you get rid of the water or soil.

Step 2 – Clean

Now, you need to wash the plant itself if you have black spots on your Lucky Bamboo. Soak the houseplant in a mixture of water and baking soda for an hour.

You also need to clean the pot thoroughly. I usually use (white) vinegar diluted in warm water to get rid of most things in my household. It is more natural than bleach, and it works wonders.

My research indicated that using a bleach and water solution to wash the pot is a way of getting rid of residual molds. But this is a highly controversial fact. Some people claim that this only makes the matter worse for them. In addition, it’s a chemical solution that I would generally avoid as much as possible.

Step 3 – Fresh setup

Take your pot, fill it with water, and pebbles, and put your Lucky Bamboo plant in. The fresh start should already work wonders if you use all the tips I already gave you.

Step 4 – Fighting the mold & prevention

Let me teach you a trick: you can mix baking soda with oil and soap. This will be more effective since it will better adhere to the plant. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of soap in a bowl with 30 oz. (1L) of water. Use the mixture to spray the plants once a week until the mold is no more.

Keep both the water and the pot clean. If you smell a musty smell coming from water, you know it’s not clean, and you need to change it.

Learn more plant care tips for Lucky Bamboo here!

Tips to avoid mold & fungi growth on Lucky Bamboo plants

  • Keep the land clear of dead leaves and debris: these can cause mold to appear after decomposition. If you see an affected branch, do not leave it inside the pot. Prune it immediately and remove it to prevent damage from reaching the inside of the plant.
  • Take them out for air: even if they are indoor plants, you should take them outside once in a while in order to combat mold.
  • Baking soda, the most effective fungicide: Sodium bicarbonate is a very effective fungicide since it is capable of neutralizing the cell wall of the fungus, making it disappear. 
  • Milk, another effective fungicide: you can prepare a simple mixture that will help end mold. For this, you need one part of milk and nine parts of water. You must spray the leaves and stems of the plants weekly. This way, you will also help prevent the appearance of fungi.

About Us

Woman (Natalie) and man (James) in front of bamboo

We are James and Natalie – newly-weds & nature lovers!

We want to give you the best information possible on bamboo. Get inspired to grow bamboo or to switch to natural bamboo products!