Bamboo Questions w/ Crispy Photos


I purchased 2, large black bamboo plants from you in August of 2009. I planted both of them in separate large containers, and they are in our back patio space. The space gets moderate sun and is quite windy. We live in San Francisco (in Noe Valley).

I’ve been fertilizing them 3 times/year with the fertilizer I bought with the plants, and watering them regularly. They’ve both looked great so far – they sent up new shoots last year. I just fertilized them for the spring a few weeks ago – although not with the full “dose” you suggested because I was running low on the fertilizer. One of the plants looks great and is sending up new shoots. But I just noticed that the leaves on the other plant are all dried up. The leaves haven’t started falling off yet, and they haven’t changed color, but the plant doesn’t look good. I’ve started watering it more regularly, thinking maybe it wasn’t getting enough water. But I’m wondering if there’s anything else I should be doing.



Can you send us a couple of photos of the cranky one? It sounds like it may be that it got “crisped” on a hot-sunny-windy day when it just didn’t have enough moisture in the soil to replace what it was loosing to evaporation from the leaves… you can spray the leaves with water and it may help restore any that haven’t totally died… hopefully it can recover. The photos should help me let you know what other action to take. You can also give the stressed plant some liquid kelp it acts as a vitamin shot and growth stimulant.

Take care,

More after the break, with a picture of the crispy bamboo…

Now before I print Aimee’s response (with photos!), let me just add how rare it is for someone to recognize that 2 plants near each other are actually experiencing different conditions.

Yes, I agree with your initial assessment. When it was pretty hot a week or so ago, and windy, I probably should have been watering more frequently… The “crisped” plant gets more wind than the other one, due to its location. I’ve attached photos so you can see the 2 plants and their locations, and the “crisped” plant up close. It’s been windy the last few days, and when I was outside checking on the plants this morning, I noticed that the crisped one’s soil was pretty dry, while the other one’s soil was still moist (I watered both plants well yesterday).

So here are my questions.

1 – what can I do to help the crisped plant recover?

Per your suggestion, below, I just went to Floorcraft in San Francisco and bought some Growmore brand Seaweed Extract/Liquified Organic Kelp (.10-.10-1.5). Did I buy the right thing? If so, how much should I give the crisped plant – in what dosage, and how often? If not – what should I have bought?

2 – how often should I be watering these plants, in general, given their age and location?

3 – When I bought the plants from you, I also bought Bio-Turf fertilizer, 8-3-5. I have run out. Floorcraft didn’t have that brand of fertilizer, or anything else with that exact NPK ratio. What kind of fertilizer, in general, should I purchase to use on these plants from here on out? Is there a general NPK ratio I should be looking for?

Thanks for your help!

The plant doesn’t look good – not enough water. It will have to completely defoliate before it may resprout leaves, although the odds are iffy. Water twice a week, and a bit more when we have hot and windy days. Kelp is good. If not the Bioturf, use an organic turf fertilizer with the first number between 8-10 (nitrogen), and lower numbers after.

  Cactus and Succulents
  Carnivorous Plants

  Sign up for our Monthly Newsletter

November 2023

US Constitution


We Get Questions

Email your questions to:

blog [at] cactusjungle [dot] com