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Why Are My Lucky Bamboo Roots Orange? (Solved!)

Growing lucky bamboo indoors is an exciting experience, especially if you do it in water.

However, you may be concerned if the roots turn orange because they are visible through the glass container. Is there something wrong with your lucky bamboo?

Fortunately, lucky bamboo roots are naturally orange or red, so there’s no need to worry. Lucky bamboo roots begin as white with a hint of orange and mature to an orange color. If the roots become slimy and turn gray, black, or brown, this is a sign of root rot.

What Color Are Lucky Bamboo Roots?

Lucky Bamboo Roots
Lucky Bamboo Healthy Roots

In contrast to most houseplants, lucky bamboo roots are naturally orange in color. It’s true to grow your lucky bamboo in a water-filled glass vase.

Lucky bamboo’s orange color isn’t something to be concerned about. It isn’t caused by root rot or any other potential plant issues.

Instead, you should be pleased that your plant is thriving when its roots turn this vibrant shade of orange.

Your lucky bamboo plant’s roots aren’t entirely orange when they’re young. It is almost wholly white, but there is a slight orange tinge.

It will last longer if you plant your lucky bamboo in soil that does not receive direct sunlight.

However, if you grow your lucky bamboo in water, it will begin as a bright white or slightly brown color. In time, the roots of your bamboo become orange or reddish-orange.

The following are some critical root colors to keep in mind. In addition to dark brown, black, or gray, the roots can also be soggy and smell unpleasant.

That is usually a sign of root rot disease or that the growing water needs to be changed due to an algal bloom.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Lucky Bamboo Roots

Lucky bamboos have somewhat unusual roots. This is especially true if it’s growing in a glass water vase with a visible root system.

At the same time, this makes it simple to determine whether your lucky bamboo’s roots are healthy or unhealthy.

The differences between healthy and unhealthy lucky bamboo roots have been summarized in the table below:

Healthy Lucky Bamboo RootsUnhealthy Roots
Roots ColorInitially, they are bright white, but healthy mature roots are orange or reddish-orange.Roots that are black, gray, or dark brown on a lucky bamboo are usually a sign of trouble.
Roots TextureWhen touched, healthy, lucky bamboo roots feel succulent, hard, and bouncy.Unhealthy roots feel soft, mushy, or spongy to the touch.
Root SpottingHealthy roots are usually blemish-free, bright white or orange.Brown or black spots may appear on unhealthy roots affected by root rot or other diseases.
Roots SmellUnless you’re using chlorinated water, the roots should not have a strong scent. Lucky bamboo grown in the soil emits an earthy fragrance.Lucky bamboo roots that are diseased or decaying frequently emit a rotten-egg odor. If you haven’t changed the water as often as needed, you may notice the odor of stagnant or stale water.
Beyond RootsHealthy lucky bamboo has bright green leaves and stems.The stem and leaves may turn yellow and start rotting.

Lucky Bamboo Root Problems and Solutions

[1] Black Roots

Roots of lucky bamboo can turn black for a variety of reasons. Rot disease or poor growing water are the most likely culprits. Also, the stem and leaves are expected to turn yellow and begin to decompose.

You’ll get the same result if you don’t repot your lucky bamboo plant after its roots have outgrown its container.

If you don’t remove some of the roots from the root system, they may turn gray, dark brown, or black and begin to decay.

Solution for Black Lucky Bamboo Roots

The quickest solution is to cut off the black roots. Use a clean, sterile pair of pruning shears, scissors, or snips that are razor-sharp. Only leave roots that are orange or red.

Be sure to discard any old water and replace it with fresh distilled or bottled water before adding the lucky bamboo stocks back into the system.

[2] Lucky Bamboo Root Rot

Lucky Bamboo Root Rot
Lucky Bamboo Root Rot

While lucky bamboo is a low-maintenance plant that is nearly indestructible, you should keep an eye out for root rot as it grows. 

This frequently affects lucky bamboos that have been planted in soil or growing water.

Root rot is typically caused by poor water quality and poor growing conditions. Bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens in your plant or water can also cause root rot. 

Rotting roots also threaten nearby healthy roots, stalks, and leaves, so immediate action is your best bet.

Check to see if your luck bamboo has root rot:

Step #1: Check the Foliage

A clear container like a glass vase can make it easier to spot root rot if you’re growing your lucky bamboo in water.

However, if the root rot is hidden in plain sight or grows in the soil, checking the leaves is often your first line of defense.

The first signs of root rot are constantly visible on the plant’s foliage! So how are the leaves of your lucky bamboo?

If your plant is healthy and thriving, it should be a vibrant shade of green with a healthy amount of foliage.

However, if they’re limp, dull, and turning yellow, you may be dealing with a severe case of rot disease. Overwatered lucky bamboo shows signs of drooping, yellowing, and wilting. (Source: University of Florida).

Step #2: Inspect the Stem

When root rot begins, it usually spreads upward from the roots. In most cases, the lower stems take the brunt of the damage after the roots.

Consider inspecting as many shoots and roots as possible, especially those close to the base.

If the lower stems of your plants are mushy, soft, or turning yellow, it’s time to do something about it! Root rot is a likely cause of this.

Heavily affected stems may turn brown or black and begin to decay. Stems that have been infected may also appear swollen and have a rotting odor.

If your lucky bamboo is sulking, you should inspect it every three to four days.

Step #3: Uproot Your Lucky Bamboo and Check the Roots

You may need to call in the big guns if your investigation of the leaves and stems fails to yield conclusive results.

First, gently remove your lucky bamboo from its water vase or pot by tilting it.

Handle the roots and stem with clean hands only. Take a close look at the roots from every angle.

Step #4: Note the Color of the Roots

The roots’ color is the first thing to look for when removing your lucky bamboo. Bright white, orange, or reddish-orange roots are indicative of healthy plants.

The bad news is that if they’re rusty brown, black, or gloomy gray, you’ve got root rot.

Step #5: Feel or Touch Suspect Roots

The best way to tell if roots are rotting is to touch or feel them. Rotten roots are spongy and easy to peel or breakaway.

Step #6: Any Rotting Odor?

It would help if you were on the lookout for mushy roots that are black, gray, or dark brown. Root rot can also be detected by solid sulfur or rotten egg odor.

Dealing with Root Rot in Lucky Bamboo

The first step is to determine what is causing it to treat root rot. As a result, understanding this will aid in your recovery. Root rot in lucky bamboo is most often caused by one of the following:

  • Overwatering – You can fix this by stopping irrigation to give the soil time to dry out.
  • Fungal rot – A host of fungi, including Phytophthora, Fusarium solani, Rhizoctonia solani, Pythium, and Thielaviopsis basicola, can be responsible for the root rot. The solution often involves treating your lucky bamboo with copper or sulfur-based fungicides (Check the latest price on Amazon here). 
  • Watering during dormancy – You should hold off irrigation from late October to early spring when your lucky bamboo is dormant.
  • Poorly-drained soil – This requires a combination of repotting, switching to a better pot, or adding drainage holes on the bottom of the container.
  • Wrong pot size – Repot your lucky bamboo into one size bigger pot.

[3] Roots Covered in Algae

If you notice green algae on the roots or in the water, it’s usually because your lucky bamboo is growing in a clear vase. The light will aid algal growth.

Solution

Clean your lucky bamboo container with warm water and mild liquid dish soap.

When replanting, use fresh bottled or distilled water. Until the algae growth is entirely controlled, you should change the water every three to four days.

After that, make it a habit to change the water every week.

However, if the algal bloom persists, you may want to consider repotting into the soil or switching to an opaque container.

Please keep in mind that the growing water and soil of lucky bamboos can contain various harsh chemicals and salts.

If you use city water containing chlorine, fluorides, etc., you’ll notice a change in the roots’ color and a whiff of odors.

Why Are My Lucky Bamboo Roots White?

The roots of a young lucky bamboo are naturally bright white due to the presence of chlorophyll. As a result, their skin may be tinged with an orange or brown color.

However, when your lucky bamboo matures, the leaves will turn a reddish-orange or orange color.