Why Are My Bamboo Roots Orange? Luckily its Fine!

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Last Updated on February 22, 2023 by Griselda M.

Are your bamboo roots orange? Generally, I would assume that you are referring to a lucky bamboo plant. These plants are often sold in a little bowl of water, or water pot and you replace the water every week or two and put some nutrients in it. Why are your Lucky Bamboo Roots Turning Orange?

Lucky Bamboo vs Bamboo (A Quick Clarification)

Lucky bamboo is in fact not bamboo – it is Dracaena sanderiana. This means it is in the same genus as snake plants, but nowhere near bamboo. In most cases, when people refer to their “Bamboo” plant growing in a pot of water, it is in fact a Lucky Bamboo plant growing in a pot of water.

These have become very fashionable due to their minimalist appearance and the roots growing in a clear pot of water, together with the attractive “bamboo” stem and leaves at the tip look pleasant to some aesthetic senses.

So, if you have a “lucky bamboo” growing in a pot of water, just know it is not actually bamboo. This article assumes you are referring to lucky bamboo in a pot of water and the question you have asked is “Why are my lucky bamboo roots turning orange?”

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Healthy Lucky Bamboo Roots/Healthy Bamboo Roots

Lucky bamboo roots extend as coiled white, to orange, or even red extensions from the base of the lucky bamboo stems. They coil around inside the reservoir pot, or, if you grow the plant in your garden pond as I do, they can drift around in the water for a few feet. They are strong roots. If they go any other color other than white, yellow, orange, or red, it may be a problem and a sign of rot.

How Do I Know If My Bamboo Has Root Rot?

If the water in your lucky bamboo plant reservoir starts to stink and go brown, or murky, then the water is becoming anaerobic – this means it has no oxygen left in it, and the roots will drown and rot. As the roots rot, more oxygen will be consumed and the result is a mess.

My general rule with these water bamboos – and to be honest I hate them as it just looks silly – is that the best thing you can do is to re-pot the lucky bamboo in well-drained potting soil and grow a real potplant! These lucky bamboo Dracaena thrive in soil.

Read more about A Guide On Cutting Bamboo Stalks The Right Way

Does Bamboo Have Orange Roots?

Lucky bamboo – and many other Dracaena plants – have yellow to orange roots. This is normal. Sometimes, when the roots are quite young they may appear white – but with time they pick up a bit of color. I have even seen them go red at certain times of the year. This is nothing to be worried about. So if your lucky bamboo roots turning orange is causing you some concern, do not worry, it is normal.

If your roots go brown, black, or any really dark color – they are rotting, and you need to change the water, or preferably just pot the plant quite deeply in some good well-drained soil and let it re-root itself.

 what to do if bamboo roots are orange

Why Are My Bamboo Roots Red?

At certain times of the year, and age, the roots can turn red. I have seen this happen, and it appears to have something to do with temperature. Again, this is normal, and do not stress. It actually looks quite pretty. Again, if you grow your lucky bamboo in soil, you will not see any of these colors and will have a less stressed plant and a less worried you!

How Do Bamboo Roots Grow?

Lucky bamboo roots shoot from the node areas on the stem of the lucky bamboo. These are the rings on the stem. The roots start off looking like little white maggots sticking out of the stem and eventually become a tangled orange mass of roots – which – as we have noted – can turn red from time to time depending on temperature and nutrient stress.

Bamboo roots will stop growing if the water begins to get stagnant and rot – this is because the rotting process uses up oxygen, and then the roots drown – when this happens, the roots will then rot, and that uses up more oxygen, and soon you will notice a bad smell and a dead or nearly dead plant. If this happens, wash the roots, and repot the plant – placing a second node under the soil. It will probably recover if you do not water the soil for a few weeks.

How Deep Do Bamboo Roots Go?

Lucky bamboo roots can go quite deep over time. They mainly concentrate on the surface area of the soil, but I have had plants that have developed roots that hang down quite deeply in my garden pond for example, with roots being about two feet long. This seems to be about the longest length I can find in the literature as well.

Typically if you are growing them in a pot, the roots will not go much deeper than about a foot or so. This will depend on the type of pot, depth, and type of soil. I have planted lucky bamboo plants out in the “jungle” section of my garden, which has a deep, sandy compost soil, and in these areas, the roots seem to go pretty deep – I think in a soil where there are wet and dry cycles, and when the plants get to be about 5 foot tall, they roots can easily go more than two feet into the ground.

Will Cut Bamboo Reroot

Short answer yes. Long answer – it reroots really easily. Just cut chunks of this plant about 5-10 inches long and place them in water with a little nutrient and they will root! It is that simple. I actually threw a whole lot of trimmings away, and they rooted and grew in my compost heap!!

If you want to encourage the cuttings to root, you can cut them, and allow the cut truncheon to lie in a cool shady area for a week, so that the scar heals. Then you can put them in a jar of water with some Lucky Bamboo food in it and place the jar on a windowsill. Check the liquid weekly to ensure it is not turning funny colors, and replace it as needed. Depending on the temperature, you will notice roots in about two to three weeks. 

Final Words On Bamboo Roots Turning Orange!

Lucky bamboo rots are naturally orange – if this happens – that your bamboo roots start turning orange(or even red), do not stress at all. This is normal! Take home message – lucky bamboo roots turning orange is completely normal.


Why are my bamboo roots orange?

Lucky bamboo roots start of white and turn orange as they mature. They will sometimes even turn almost red in color. This is normal. Do not worry.

How to grow bamboo from its orange roots?

Let your plant grow until it is tall enough then cut the stem between nodes. If you place this cut stem in a cool dry place with dappled sun for a few days, the stem will heal, and then just place the stem in well drained potting soil and water once a week. It will root.

What to do if bamboo roots are orange?

Do not worry at all. The roots turn orange naturally as the plant grows and ages. They may even turn red occasionally. If the roots turn brow, black or start to stink, change the water. Orange is normal.

How do you know if bamboo roots are healthy?

The roots will be curling around the pot, or in the potting soil, and have a nice orange/red color. The plant will look healthy. If the roots turn black or brown they are dead and rotting. This is not so good. Reduce water and allow the plant to recover. Repot it in dry well drained soil. These things are nearly impossible to kill, so if you do feel worried, do not stress too much. Things will get better.

Learn more about How To Make Lucky Bamboo Stalk Thicker?

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