Why are my lucky bamboo roots orange?

When you first get a Lucky Bamboo, you may find that its roots are white or light brown. However, if you check up on them later, you may notice that instead of white, you have bright orange or even red roots, but what does it mean? Is it cause for concern?

Orange is the natural color of Lucky Bamboo roots and is a sign that your bamboo is healthy and happy. Some plants naturally have orange roots due to the elements and minerals inside the roots and rhizomes.

Continue reading below to learn more about Lucky Bamboo and when you should be worried about your plant’s health. We will also cover how to propagate your plant from its roots.

What Color Are Lucky Bamboo Roots?

Rooted bamboo
When you first see a young Lucky Bamboo, its roots will usually look white. There may be faint hints of orange or streaks, or they may even be a light brown.

Later in their lifespan, your plant may show signs of orange or red roots.

Don’t worry; these are all natural colors, and if you see them on your Lucky Bamboo roots, there is no need to fear.

Does Lucky Bamboo Have Orange Roots?

Lucky Bamboo has naturally orange or red roots as they age. If you happen to see their roots change color to red or orange, there is no need to worry. This is just a sign of a healthy plant. When younger, they will only have light streaks or shades on top of white or light brown roots.

The roots changing color isn’t a sign of any problems or health concerns. It is usually a sign of a healthy plant. So if you see these orange roots on your plant, rest assured that you are doing well.

What Other Plants Have Orange Roots?

Plants with orange roots are commonly found in China because they are considered medicinal. China has a diet rich with orange food in general, including oranges and tangerines.

However, there are orange-rooted plants throughout the world. Snake Plants and Asiatic Bittersweet Vines are two good examples of other plants with orange roots.

You may wonder why Lucky Bamboo roots are orange? This is common with plants that naturally handle harsh environments, whether hot and dry or cold. The bright orange color grows bolder and even leans towards red when the plant needs a little support.

Lucky Bamboo has its color all year, unlike some other plants with orange roots. The reason behind this isn’t well known, but it does seem to be because the roots are high in anthocyanin, which turns roots red or orange.

How to Tell If Lucky Bamboo Has Root Rot?

If you keep your Lucky Bamboo in water, it is much easier to see when something is going wrong. Usually, the roots will change to dark brown or black and look mushy and slimy.

If your Lucky Bamboo is in soil and you can’t see the roots easily, you can also look at the leaves. If the leaves are yellowed and showing signs of wilting, that’s a good sign that something is wrong with your Lucky Bamboo, and that problem is likely root rot. If you notice the yellowing beginning on the leaves that are close to the soil first and moving upwards, that is a sign of root rot, as the leaves closest to the roots face the problems first.

Once the situation worsens, the rot will spread to the stem. The affected stem will often be brown and soft, and slimy to the touch. Once the plant hits this point, the roots are severely impacted, and it might be hard to salvage the plant.

Often, at this point, you can also tell if the roots are rotting as there will be a decaying, rotting odor from the soil or water.

How Do You Fix Root Rot on Lucky Bamboo?

You can take a few steps immediately once you notice the roots on a Lucky Bamboo are rotting. These change slightly depending on if you are growing your plant in water or soil.

If you are growing it in soil, it works similarly to any other plant. Root rot is most common due to overwatering. For this reason, you want to stop watering your plant and let the soil dry.

Then, you want to remove any infected leaves and stems. Start with the leaves and stems that are doing the worst and go from there. You want to ensure your plant still has some leaves so it can get energy from sunlight.

Next, you will want to remove your plant from the pot. Try to remove any roots that don’t look as they should. Remember that Lucky Bamboo often has orange, red, or white roots, and they will feel firm. If you see any gray, black, or brown roots that are slimy or swollen, you will want to remove those.

When removing infected roots, you will want to sterilize the tool you are using to cut the roots after every cut to prevent the fungus from transferring to a healthy root.

Finally, you will want to re-pot your Lucky Bamboo. Remove as much old soil as possible and spray the soil and the new pot with a fungicide to prevent any issues.

In the future, you will want to ensure your bamboo isn’t in wet soil for too long. This means not over watering and making sure your soil drains as it should.

If you use water as a growing medium instead of soil, your steps will be slightly different.

You will want to remove the bamboo from the container. If you have any decorations in the container, such as rocks or glass, remove those as well. Then, clean and disinfect the container and the decorative pieces thoroughly.

While those are drying, take care of your plant. This will be the same process as when they are in the soil. You will want to start with trimming any dying stems and leaves. Then, inspect the roots carefully and search for any rotting, slimy, or discolored roots. You can also spray your plant down with fungicide if you want.

Then, you can place everything back into the container and give your plant fresh, clean water.

To prevent this issue in the future, make sure you always give your plant clean water and clean the container and the decorative pieces a few times a month. Usually, every two weeks should be enough, but it depends on the temperature where you live.

What Do Unhealthy Lucky Bamboo Roots Look Like?

If Lucky Bamboo is unhealthy, they will do their best to ensure you know. Usually, the first signs will be yellow or wilting leaves. Then, you will see the stems start to grow brown or soft.

The roots will also change from brilliant orange to brown, gray, or black.

What Does Healthy Lucky Bamboo Look Like?

Healthy Lucky Bamboo will have bright orange roots and be a healthy green color. As long as you don’t have leaves that are wilting, turning yellow, or turning brown, it is safe to say that you have healthy plants.

How to Grow Bamboo from its Orange Roots?

To grow Lucky Bamboo from their roots, you simply want to find some of the rhizomes and cut them off. You will do this by first giving your plant a lot of water the day before. You want to make sure the soil is damp but not soaking wet.

Then you will look for the rhizomes that are furthest from the central roots. And cut them. Younger roots are best, so you usually want to find white rhizomes, though you can use orange ones. You will want to cut a section that is 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) long.

Once you cut them, take any of the roots, rhizomes, and shoots and bury them in the soil. You want to cover them with at least 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 cm) of soil.

While it is not a 100 percent success rate, this is the best way to get growth from the orange roots.

Summary

Orange is the natural color of Lucky Bamboo roots and is a sign that your bamboo is healthy and happy. Some plants, such as Lucky Bamboo, naturally have orange roots. This is due to elements found within the roots. 

It is only when the roots are brown, gray, or black that you have cause for concern. This is because other colored roots can be a sign of root rot or other health issues. Yellow or wilting leaves can also be a sign of root rot so be on the lookout if you spot these symptoms.

If your Lucky Bamboo’s roots are a healthy orange and your plant has bright green stems and leaves, no need to worry your plant is thriving.