Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Little Bamboo That Could

About a month ago, I noticed my mom's bamboo plant was looking really sick. The leaves were drooping and turning a yellow-green color, while the stocks were starting to fade. My mom has had the bamboo for less than a year and has been trying everything she knew to keep that plant from dying. She would clean out the water every week, put it various parts of the house with different lighting, and tried feeding it once a month with no results. I figured there was something a miss when my mom said it was doing better when she put it in direct light. Putting a bamboo in direct light is the quickest way to burn the leaves. So, I decided to take it home and see if I could help out. One of the first things I did was clean off the leaves. There was a thick layer of dust on each leaf that I suspected was not letting it get the light it needed when it was in partial sun. I carefully wiped down each leaf with a paper towel soaked in distilled water. As the paper towel moved down the leave, a black streak started moving with it, reminding me of wiping down a shelf that hasn't been used in years. Seeing that much dust made me consider the plant was having trouble photosynthesizing and getting the energy it needed from the sun. That's why it seemed to do better when it was put in direct sun light.

Once I was done cleaning off the leaves, I could feel the little bamboo was still stressed out. I took the little bamboo to my kitchen and began removing the stones to reveal algae building up around the rocks and the roots. I took everything out of the container. To my surprise, the stocks were wrapped in plastic with only two holes for the roots to come out of. I clipped off all the plastic and the roots covered in algae with disinfected clippers. Then very thoroughly disinfected the rocks. I also disinfected the glass planter. I put everything back and put some new water with plant food into the container.

I wish  I had photos of the bamboo when I first took it in and the in between steps. I was a little more preoccupied with saving the bamboo, it didn't occur to me. Here is what the plant looked a week after being cleaned.

It started looking much perkier and the roots started spreading throughout the pot really fast. To prevent the algae from building up again I transplanted the little guy into a new opaque planter. Here is the cute little guy after 3 weeks and in his new home.

The leaves are getting a darker color and they don't have a funky film on them. The little guy also feels a lot less stressed out and seems to be producing new leaves. Yay for happy plants! I hope this little guy continues living a strong and happy life.

Oh! Here is also another bamboo plant that I've had for almost 4 years now. I transplanted it into a new pot that it was out growing around the same time as the one above.
Unfortunately, the green container did not hold water well and started leaking. I think it was also emitting something to the bamboo, as it caused the bamboo to start drooping. So, here it is in its new little purple home. Hopefully it starts to perk up soon. 
I'll be following up with this little guys progress. I'm really enjoying the new container. It doesn't leak and contrasts great with the green from the plant. I just hope my resilient bamboo starts looking better soon. But it's a little early to tell. *crossing fingers* 

I  realized from taking care of these two bamboo plants how much I can learn from gardening and trying to communicate with the plants. I'm really excited to take care of more plants in the future and learning new things from them!