How and When to Use Fertilizer With Lucky Bamboo

Published February 7, 2019
Girl spraying fertilizer in her lucky bamboo plant

It's one thing to know how to use fertilizer for lucky bamboo but it's just as important to know when to use it. It is rare that you'll need to use fertilizer for this plant. Lucky bamboo can go for years without fertilizer.

Why Lucky Bamboo Doesn't Require Fertilizer

Caring for lucky bamboo sometimes feels as though you're neglecting the plant when compared to other houseplants. Lucky bamboo gets all the nutrients it needs from water since it thrives on nitrogen. This is why you want to change out the water regularly.

Keep Water Fresh to Avoid Needing Fertilizer

Since lucky bamboo is a water plant, it requires a clean water environment. This is ideal since most tap water contains the nutrients Lucky Bamboo needs, although fluoride and chlorine are harmful, so filtered water is the best. Nitrogen is the main nutrient followed by magnesium and iron.

When to Use Fertilizer With Lucky Bamboo

There are some instances when you may need to fertilize your lucky bamboo. Each one is easy to remedy with the right fertilizer and more importantly, the right amount of fertilizer. Be sure you add fertilizer to the soil or water and never as a spritz. Only use water to spritz the leaves if desired.

Distilled Water Lacks Nutrients

One time you may need fertilizer is if you're using distilled water since magnesium and iron are lost in the distillation process. A few drops of fertilizer is all you'll need, if that much. It depends on the fertilizer instructions and water to fertilizer ratio. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's guidelines.

Dirty Water Breeds Disease

If the water isn't clean, then your plant can suffer from a lack of nutrients and succumb to disease. If you've allowed the water to become cloudy or dirty, then you may want to give your plant a little boost. After you change out the dirty water for clean water, you can add fertilizer just to ensure the plant remains healthy

Stimulate Growth

If you desire to stimulate leaf growth, this can be accomplished by adding a little fertilizer to the water. It's best to do this during the natural cycle of the spring growing season.

Yellowing Plant Leaves

If your lucky bamboo leaves are turning yellow and you haven't used fertilizer, the plant may be suffering from a lack of nutrients. In this case, you'll need to fertilize it. Most lucky bamboo arrangements feature a number of stalks. If a stalk turns yellow, it's best to discard and replace.


If you've fertilized your plant, and it turned yellow, this indicates over-fertilizing. The best you can do at this point is change out the water and hope your plant will recover. You can use distilled water for a while to let the plant rest. Once it recovers, you can go back to using regular water.

How to Use Fertilizer With Lucky Bamboo

Bamboo plant in a glass flowerpot

It's best to use fertilizers made specifically for lucky bamboo plants. Most lucky bamboo fertilizers are NPK with trace elements. These are usually in a ratio of 2-2-2, meaning, they have a balanced 2 parts ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K).

Using Regular Houseplant Fertilizer

If you prefer to use a houseplant fertilizer, you can dilute it to be a suitable strength for lucky bamboo. Be sure you use an NPK balanced fertilizer.

Soil-Based Lucky Bamboo

If you aren't using fertilizer made for lucky bamboo, you can dilute regular houseplant fertilizer. The strength should be around one-tenth less than what you'd use for houseplants. Less is always better. You can increase the strength if needed. If your plant is potted in soil, then you can use a diluted houseplant fertilizer every six to eight weeks.

Water-Based Lucky Bamboo

For a water-based plant using diluted houseplant fertilizer, you'll use the same ratio of diluted fertilizer to water as the soil-based plant. You'll only need to fertilize once every quarter (every 3-months).

Learning How and When to Use Fertilizer With Lucky Bamboo

Growing lucky bamboo is very easy, especially when you use a water-based container. Follow the guidelines for how and when to use fertilizer and your lucky bamboo plant will last for many years.

How and When to Use Fertilizer With Lucky Bamboo