Sylvie has been an online writer for over nine years. Her articles focus on everything from home decor to gardening techniques.
Cleaning Lucky Bamboo Plant Stones
The lucky bamboo plant, or as it is less commonly known, Dracaena sanderiana, is a lovely addition to any home. This plant enjoys indirect light and once it has found its perfect comfort spot in your home it will reward you with healthy growth.
When this easy-to-care-for plant has been placed in a clear glass container, as is common given its curious and appealing root system, it may suddenly become obvious that something is amiss. A greenish, yellow growth, known as algae, may gradually begin to invade what was once a clear vase filled with stones. Why does algae tend to grow in the bamboo plant's vase?
- The plant may be over-exposed to excessive amounts of sunlight which causes the algae to grow and multiply. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight.
- A lack of water flow may also be an issue if there is insufficient clean water accessible to the plant. It will stagnate and turn green with fertile algae growth. Make sure there is a clean, fresh supply of water in the vase.
- Displaying the plant in a clear vase/jar will encourage algae growth much more than a darker, ceramic or porcelain vase since glass will allow more contact with sunlight. Other types of vases block the amount of light reaching the roots and stones. Choose darker ceramic vases instead of clear glass.
- Over-feeding does not necessarily make for a healthy atmosphere. When you are 'feeding' the plant you are also adding extra nutrients and substances to the water which will 'feed' the potential for algae growth. By supplying too many vitamins, you may ironically be responsible for making your own algae problem get out of hand! Only feed your plant a couple of drops of vitamins mixed with its water supply, no more than once per month.
How to Clean and Remove the Algae Build-Up on a Bamboo Plant's Stones
- This is a delicate, exotic plant and must be treated accordingly. Gently remove the plant, shaking off any stones which may be attached to the roots.
- Rinse and tenderly massage the roots in fresh, cool water before placing the plant in a glass of room temperature water.
- Place the stones in a colander. If you have stones of various sizes/colours placed on top then remove them first and repeat the procedure with the second layer afterwards.
- Sprinkle the stones with a generous sprinkling of salt, preferably table salt, however, kosher salt or sea salt will do. You want to cover the stones, then mix the salt in well with your hands.
- If the vase/pot is also algae-covered, sprinkle it generously with salt. Do not use soap on either the stones or the vase as this will contaminate the plant in the future.
- Leave the salt on the stones and vase for 15-35 minutes depending on the quantity of the existing algae.
- Mix the salt in with your hand or a pot-scrubbing brush until you are satisfied that the algae has been removed.
- Rinse the stones and vase thoroughly with warm water until all salt has been washed out.
- Replace stones in the bottom of the vase and carefully position the roots of the bamboo plant first, then cover the roots and fill vase with the remaining stones.
- Water only with purified water if possible.
- Avoid placing the lucky bamboo plant in direct sunlight.
* Follow these steps monthly and you will be able to avoid algae becoming a problem. With practice you will find this is an easy, environment-friendly and cost-friendly way to care for your lucky bamboo. By providing monthly maintenance, you will be able to ensure its continued good health for the years to come!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Karen on July 16, 2017:
Great advice thank you!
iburahimu on March 06, 2011:
Algae can be a big problem for indoor plants lover. If we can treat it right the problem will solved easily.
Thank you for the nice tips.