Causes Why Your Bamboo Leaves Turning Yellow

Some plant species are quite popular not only for their exquisite beauty but their lucky charm as well. An example of this is the Lucky Bamboo Plant. As the name itself says, this species is believed to bring good luck such as prosperity and success. That’s according to Feng Shui experts.

Although popularly known as a bamboo plant, this species is not a true bamboo at all. It belongs to the Dracaena genus. Its botanical name is Dracaena sanderiana, a native of West Africa.

You are lucky if you’ve taken hold of a pot of this lovely plant.

Although this outdoor plant is relatively easy to tend to, you may encounter a common problem in your lucky bamboo plants. This is when the leaves are turning yellow. Various causes lead to this phenomenon.

We’re here to explain them one by one. So, keep reading and learn how to properly handle a yellowing lucky bamboo.

Top 5 Reasons Why Yellowing of Leaves Is Happening to Your Bamboo Plantbamboo plant in a pot with leaves turning yellow

Soil Conditions

There could be two soil conditions that cause your lucky bamboo leaves to turn yellow. First, if the soil is overly wet it lacks enough oxygen to supply the plant. Second, if the soil is deficient in nutrients that are supposed to transfer to the entire plants.

In both cases, the yellowing of the leaves is just a symptom of an underlying problem. Let’s discuss each more deeply.

Lack of Oxygen

Plants need oxygen to live, just like humans and animals. The roots, specifically, get their supply of oxygen in the soil since they are not exposed to the atmosphere, unlike the leaves. Where is this oxygen present? They can be found in the pore spaces embedded in between the soil particles.

That’s why we don’t recommend heavy clay soil.

Boggy soil is normally wet and muddy. Because they don’t have enough pore spaces, the water easily fills in and displaces the oxygen molecules. In this case, you’re drowning the plant. I bet you have an idea of what it means to have very little oxygen supply. You can barely breathe.

Luckily, the bamboo plant can tolerate much of this condition than any other species. You can even grow this in water. However, if the condition persists, the media (soil or water) will become completely depleted of dissolved oxygen.

This condition leads to root rot. Damaged roots can no longer function in the transport of water and nutrients. As a result, the lucky bamboo stalk and leaves turn yellow.

Lack of Nutrients

Have you ever heard of nutrient deficiency? Yes, plants also suffer from such. There are 17 essential nutrients that plants need for growth.

Even if just one of those is absent, your plant will suffer and can even possibly die. The site of symptoms of nutrient deficiency in plants is the leaves. So, it could be the reason why your bamboo leaves are turning yellow.

However, inspecting for symptoms of nutrient deficiency is a tricky job. You have to familiarize yourself with the different symptoms as each lacking nutrient will display a specific shade of yellowing. Some yellow leaves can be observed on mature leaves while others are present in the young leaves. You have to be careful when it comes to this.


Thankfully, there are remedies to the abovementioned problems. If your lucky bamboo turns yellow, don’t panic. Go straight to checking on the soil condition. If the soil is constantly soggy and marshy, those yellow leaves may be caused by root rot. The way to know is to uproot the plant and inspect the roots.


Root rot is characterized by having a mushy and slimy touch. The odor is also foul and the color is often dark brown or black. You can trim the dead roots off and repot your plant using fresh and sterilized potting soil.

Regulate watering so the roots won’t be stressed after repotting. Yellow bamboo leaves will no longer turn green so better cut them off. Then, wait for the plant to produce new growth that is fresh and green.

Applying Fertilizer

If you’re suspecting that the whole plant is suffering from nutrient deficiency, the precise way to check is by subjecting the soil to analysis. There’s a soil test kit available that you can buy but you can also send it to the soil laboratory. The result will identify which specific nutrient is lacking in the soil.

From there, you may apply the right kind of fertilizer needed. For fast results, use diluted liquid fertilizer.

Watering Conditions

Sufficient water is essential for plants to grow and develop. But you have to mind a lot of considerations when watering a plant like lucky bamboo. The quality of water used, frequency of watering as well as the method of watering will determine the health of your lucky bamboo plant.

Stagnant Water

If your lucky bamboo plant is planted in soil, then you have to avoid having stagnant water at the bottom of its pot. This will happen if you are overwatering the plant or the soil isn’t well-draining. When water is pooling in its container, the roots will suffer from root rot due to fungal growth.

lucky bamboo in water

On the other hand, if the bamboo plant is grown in water, you should also avoid letting the water get stagnant for a long time. Unclean water can be a home for the growth of harmful bacteria.

Poor Water Quality

Poor quality water is one of the causes why your bamboo leaves turn yellow. Tap water may contain high amounts of chlorine and fluorine. When you use them on your lucky bamboo, it may have a detrimental effect that could lead to your bamboo plant turning yellow.


Provide Good Drainage

Always drain excess water from the pot. Water is just enough to saturate the soil. But don’t let it pool in the container.

Replace Water Once a Week

Make sure to replace the water in your lucky bamboo container every week. This is to ensure that the water is clean. We recommend using distilled water because it is free of impurities. Alternatively, if you have a filtration system at home, you can use filtered water.


Providing the right kind of temperature is one of the important factors in keeping the plant healthy. All plants need to accumulate the right amount of heat for them to grow. If there’s an incorrect temperature, your lucky bamboo plant will not grow normally.

Excess heat could lead the plant to lose more water than necessary. As a result, your bamboo plants will be dehydrated. If not resolved immediately, the possibility for the green leaves to turn yellow is high.


Provide the Right Temperature

As a tropical species, the lucky bamboo prefers to thrive in warm locations. The ideal temperature is 65° to 90°F (18 to 32oC). So, keep the temperature in check from time to time.

Avoid Cold and Heat Drafts

Cold and heat drafts such as air conditions or heaters emit extreme temperatures. Don’t place your lucky bamboo near them. Direct exposure to these drafts can damage the plant physically.

Exposure to Sunlight

bamboo tree with yellow leaves

We all know that sunlight is needed by the plants to produce their food. Different species, however, have their own set of requirements for light conditions. Too much sunlight could lead to leaf scorching. So, don’t be surprised if the leaves turn yellow.

On the other hand, the lack of light also leads to the same fate. A lucky bamboo plant that isn’t exposed to enough light will turn pale yellow. It will also lead to the weakening of the entire plant itself.


Provide Filtered/Indirect Light

Since lucky bamboo naturally thrives in areas under a tree canopy in lush forests, it’s best to provide it with indirect light. This condition is best met if the plant is grown indoors. A window that has access to natural light will be a fitting location.

Make sure to provide only indirect light, especially in the afternoon to achieve a vibrant foliage color.

Environment Condition

Every plant has its climatic requirements. The good thing about Lucky Bamboo is that it will thrive in all of its USDA growing zones. However, the plant isn’t cold hardy so it won’t survive the coldness of winter outdoors.

If your plant doesn’t have the right growing conditions, then, it is more susceptible to turning yellow.


When the temperature goes down 50oF (10oC), make sure to bring your lucky bamboo plant indoors. This is to prevent the damage caused by extremely cold temperatures.

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