Bamboo Turning Yellow: What to do?

You have this gorgeous bamboo plant in your home. But oh my, what is happening as the bamboo is turning yellow? What were you doing wrong, or is it your fault?

There is no need to stress as it is a sign of a few possible things but mostly overwatering. So, let’s explore why your lucky bamboo plant might be changing from green to yellow. Stay tuned as Plantly will guide you along the way.

What Does It Mean When Bamboo Plants Turn Yellow?

Bamboo Turning Yellow: What to do?

You know that growing a bamboo plant is easy, like the lucky bamboo, a popular houseplant. But as with any plant, even a lucky bamboo can run into problems. There are times they do not look healthy.

One of the common symptoms you may encounter is the bamboo leaves turning yellow to brown. This is because there are no more luscious green leaves. But why does this happen? As mentioned, lucky bamboo turning yellow or any other plant can result in different reasons.

But another important note is that most bamboo plants drop their leaves during spring to provide a place for new growth in fall. Still, it depends on the bamboo you have. For example, the lucky bamboo stalks are always green.

But then again, it is not an actual bamboo and is called Dracaena. The lucky bamboo stalks look similar to the bona fide ones growing outdoors. But this is a high-humidity water-loving plant. But as with all bamboo plants, it is a sign of stress.

Possible Causes of Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow

The lucky bamboo turning yellow with the leaf discoloration shows there is something in your care routine needing changing. Ensure your plant and other bamboo plants remain healthy with some adjustments.

Furthermore, you also need to look at the color of the leaves and the stem. With a lucky bamboo stalk, yellow is more severe than yellow leaves. So, why is your plant turning yellow? Let’s find out.

Too Much Sunlight

sunlight exposure

If you have a lucky bamboo, they are sensitive plants to direct sunlight and will turn yellow due to sunburn.

Another telltale sign is the leaf wilting as the light is too strong. So, moving your plant to indirect light can help solve the problem.

Instead of placing your plant in a window, put it on a table next to the window. We recommend trimming the leaves to divert the growth to new a new one.

Lucky Bamboo Plant Has a Nutrient Deficiency

bamboo plant with nutrient deficiency

Yellowing bamboo in the leaves can be a nutrient deficiency as it starts to droop, leading to stunted growth. Hence, the yellowing leaves show your bamboo needs some macro and micronutrients.

The usual cause is the lack of nitrogen, magnesium, and potassium. Furthermore, it depends on how you are growing your bamboo. If you grow it in water, it cannot supply the needed nutrients for long.

Using a mineral fertilizer can provide your plant quickly with the nutrients it needs. Yet, another concern about yellow leaves is overfertilizing. So, to fix the problem, the first step is to check the soil for any white crusts.

If you notice this formation, it helps to change the old soil with fresh potting soil. Or you can use distilled water to wash the soil off and let it drain through the holes. Do not overfeed your bamboo. Instead, use a balanced feed of half-strength as little is better.

Wrong Temperature and Humidity

Another critical factor is the temperature for healthy growth. For example, your lucky bamboo plant prefers medium temperatures of 65°F to 95°F (18°C to 35°C. A too-high temperature removes too much moisture, while too low-temperature results in chill damage.

It helps to keep an eye on your bamboo for temperature changes near doors and windows to rectify the problem. It can be a perfect spot during summer, but it can become drafty in winter. These days you can find a device that checks both the humidity and temperature levels.


Another concern is low humidity, resulting in the leaves turning yellow. When the air is dry, your bamboo plant loses moisture and escapes faster. So, your bamboo needs a high humidity of 50%.

So, to fix humidity, you can invest in a humidifier or use a gravel tray or pebble tray with water. You can place your lucky bamboo indoor plant on the tray but ensure that the roots do not sit in the water.

Alternatively, you can group your plants to raise the moisture around your bamboo. On the other hand, an occasional misting also helps, but you need to do this frequently, and it can attract more fungal growth.

Insect and Diseases

The most common insect found on bamboo is the thrip. It is a tiny pest, and it can fly. Nonetheless, the insect settles on the trunk or leaves and can overrun your plant fast. If you have this insect on your lucky bamboo, it loses its decorative effect.

Other insects are aphids that you find on the underside of the stems and leaves. You can remove them with a wipe-down using rubbing alcohol mixed with lukewarm water and mild liquid soap for a light infestation.

Or you can dilute soap in a gallon of water and apply it to the foliage using cotton balls or cloth. We also recommend trimming affected parts to prevent the spreading of the infestation. For bamboo growing in containers with water, keep the container clean and refresh the water.

The two major diseases that can lead to your bamboo turning yellow are root rot and leaf rot. The best you can do is use control damage by transplanting your lucky bamboo into enriched soil.

Also, stop watering your plant and remove the dying roots and leaves. Before planting the bamboo rinse the roots underwater and use a fungicide to treat them.

Lucky Bamboo Plants Stem Turning Yellow

lucky bamboo stem turning yellow

The bamboo stem is a vital part of providing nutrients to the leaves. When it breaks, it results in an interruption of the nutrients to these parts. Other causes can also be from pruning too much or plucked leaves.

You can cut the upper part to repair an injured stem as grafting does not work. Cut above the node to help encourage growth for new offshoots. Seal the stem with soy wax you melt. Place the branch back where you keep it and provide enough water.

Also, ensure that the ribbons you tie around the stalks are not too tight.

Poor Water Quality

poor water quality

The bamboo is not very demanding, but the lucky bamboo turns yellow when it comes to water quality. So, if you use tap water with fluoride and chlorine, you notice the change overnight. We recommend rainwater or filtered water.

If you need to use tap water, it is best to leave it standing for at least two days before using it. The same applies to bamboo standing in stagnant water. This is because the water forms algae and steals your plants nutrients.

It helps clean the container regularly and provides fresh water to replace stagnant water.

Tips To Prevent Bamboo Turning Yellow

The above are the common reasons for your bamboo plant to turn yellow. Here are some tips to prevent this from happening.

  1. Select an ideal container that is twice the size of the root ball. For vases, choose one tall enough to accommodate the stalks. You can then add some decorative stones to prevent algae production.

  2. For soil-based bamboo, it helps to provide enough drainage holes.

  3. Follow a proper watering practice. Then, when the soil feels dry, you can water it.

  4. Also, choose organic compost for bamboo growing in the garden. Or use an organic fertilizer. On the other hand, a liquid fertilizer also diluted works.

  5. Provide your bamboo plant with enough light and never leave them in full sun as it will burn the leaves.

  6. Use the correct potting mix to prevent yellow leaves that hold moisture but drain well.

  7. Lastly, try to avoid stressful conditions like extreme temperature changes.

Final Thoughts

If your bamboo has a yellow stem or leaves, it can be that it is dried out or can be dead. But it is not always a sign that you have a dead plant. There are several ways as you have seen to revive your plant to grow lush green leaves.

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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