How to Save a Rotting Bamboo Plant

Updated February 21, 2017

There are many forms of bamboo plants, some of which are grown indoors in containers of water. With this constant exposure to moisture, these bamboo plants will develop rot in the presence of bacteria. Early signs of rot include yellow colouring on the leaves, and later signs will appear in the form of brown stems and slimy roots. You can save a rotting bamboo plant if you take immediate action.

Remove the rotting bamboo plant from its current pot if there are other bamboo plants in it. Prepare a new pot for the bamboo by filling it halfway with distilled water. If desired, you can use a plastic cup for this until you know the bamboo will survive and then use a more decorative container later.

Look at all of the leaves on the bamboo stem and identify any that are completely yellow or have yellow spots on them. Pull these leaves off by hand or cut them with a pair of sharp pruning shears. Dispose of the infected leaves.

Melt 1 to 2 tbsp of paraffin wax in a bowl in the microwave, following the package instructions. Dip a cotton swab into the melted wax and apply a thin layer to all areas of the bamboo where you cut off the leaves. This seals the bamboo and prevents bacteria from getting into the fresh cuts.

Examine the roots of the bamboo plant and identify any that are brown, black, grey or slimy instead of bright white or orange. Prune off all of the rotting roots as close to the base of the root system as possible without injuring it.

Place the bamboo stem into the new container of water and change the water out every one to two days until you see new green leaves develop with no more signs of rot.


Wash your hands and disinfect the pruning shears after working with infected plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic cup
  • Distilled water
  • Hand pruners
  • Paraffin wax
  • Bowl
  • Microwave
  • Cotton swab
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.