Why Is My Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow? (And How To Fix It)

Lucky bamboo plants are part of the Dracaena genus family of plants. Its botanical name is Dracaena Sanderiana.

Lucky bamboos can tolerate dry air, so there’s no need to have it in a high humidity environment.

Like other plants in the Dracaena family, a lucky bamboo plant does not like intense sunlight. They will thrive if you keep them in shady areas or indirect light.

Lucky bamboo plants grow both in water and soil. However, the roots need to be submerged in water if you use water as the medium.

They are very hardy plants and are difficult to kill. However, lucky bamboo turning yellow is definitely not a good sign. What do you do when your plant is turning yellow?

Hopefully, this article helps you discover the cause of yellowing leaves. We’ll also provide solutions on how to fix and prevent your lucky bamboo from turning yellow.

Related post: Dracaena Sanderiana: How to Care for Lucky Bamboo Plants in Your Home

Is Your Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow?

When yellow leaves appear on your lucky bamboo from the bottom up, it is a sign of plant stress. It’s an indication that the plant is lacking optimum conditions for its growth.

But you don’t have to stress about this problem.

There are many reasons for the yellowing of bamboo leaves or stalks, such as inadequate water quality, over/under watering, over-fertilization.

A simple plant care routine can help avoid the yellowing of the leaves, giving you bright and healthy green leaves.

This hardy household plant is damage and disease-resistant. This lucky bamboo stalk plant can thrive well in a pure-water vase or soil and light conditions.

If you notice your bamboo plant is turning yellow, it indicates that something is not right with the plant.

Causes and Fixes When Lucky Bamboo Turns Yellow

There’s a myriad of reasons that cause lucky bamboo leaves or stalks to turn yellow.

The primary causes of the yellow part of bamboo are over-watering, receiving direct sunlight, and too much fertilizer.

1- Inadequate water quality 

One of the first things to consider for yellowing the stalk or yellow leaves is the water quality.

Although these plants don’t need much water, they’re highly prone to damage from chemical-laden toxic water. Heavily chlorinated tap water is harmful to plants, especially bamboo. 

How to Fix

There are many ways you can fix this issue.  Don’t use tap water – unless it’s filtered water.

If you want to use tap water, get your tap water tested for levels of certain chemicals. 

Low levels of chlorine and fluoride won’t harm your plant.

Ideally, you should use collected rainwater, filtered water, or bottled water to water your potted bamboo plant. 

If you’re willing to put in some extra effort, leave tap water in a vessel overnight or about 24 hours before using it to water your plant.

This will allow the chlorine to evaporate, leaving behind safe water.

2- Watering issues 

Why Is My Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow? (And How To Fix It) | UrbanOrganicYield.com

The amount you’re watering is also important.

Although the lucky bamboo plant doesn’t need much water, it can grow equally well in a vase (without substrate, i.e., rocks) or soil.

However, overwatering or under-watering can sometimes cause yellowing.

How to Fix

To fix this, check whether the soil is damp. If it is dried out, water the plant more frequently, whereas if it’s damp, consider watering it less frequently.

3- Too much sunlight

Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can be a major cause of yellow lucky bamboo plants (or burning).

Unlike most plants, direct sunlight isn’t necessary.

In its natural habitat, it grows in a tropical rainforest under lush foliage in natural light. 

Rather, too much sun is too much so, the lucky bamboo prefers natural light, not full sun.

While it’ll grow well in bright indirect sunlight, only indirect light can hamper its growth, making it look pale and wilted.

How to fix

If you’re growing lucky bamboo in a pot, check the position of your plant.

Place it somewhere in a warm, humid spot that receives indirect light; it should brighten up within a few days.

Alternatively, if it’s growing in soil, then try to provide it with more shade by ragging up a sunshade.

4- Overfertilizing

Yellow bamboo stalks indicate over-fertilization. Excessive fertilization results in too many salts and minerals build up.

This can hinder the plant’s growth by preventing its roots from developing well, which would fail to support the plant.

It also changes the soil’s pH, which could facilitate the growth of microorganisms.

This could also make the nutrients less available to the plant, stunting its growth.

How to fix:

If it’s growing in a container, then be on the lookout for a white crust on the topsoil.

If you notice this, then repot your plant in fresh soil to flush out the excess fertilizer. 

You can also neutralize the effect of excessive fertilizers for your lucky bamboo planted in water by washing it off with distilled water.

You can do this by pouring water and allowing it to drain fully through the plant.

In the future, use a balanced amount of organic soil with liquid fertilizer, and only twice a year fertilize it.

5- Inadequate temperature 

lucky bamboo turning yellow

If the leaves of your lucky bamboo leaves are wilting and turning yellow and you’ve ruled out the four other possibilities previously listed, then inadequate temperature could be your culprit.

Inadequate temperature affects certain physiological processes in plants.

Too high temperature accelerates respiration (breaks down sugar and starch until there is nothing left for the plant’s nutrition).

In contrast, too low temperatures would freeze and cause damage to the plant. Lucky bamboo thrives in warm temperatures.

The optimum temperature that lucky bamboo plants thrive in is between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 30 degrees Celsius).

How to fix

Avoid cold water and cold temperatures by placing your lucky bamboo plant in a warm shady place.

This shouldn’t be near anywhere with drafts, such as the window or door, nor near appliances such as air conditioners or heaters.

You should also monitor the temperature of your space regularly.

6- Low humidity 

Humidity is also an important factor you need to consider to maintain bright, shiny lucky bamboo leaves.

The plant’s natural habitat is warm and humid, meaning that the plant needs a relatively high humidity level of about 50%.

If you’re watering your plant infrequently, then your lucky bamboo plant could be drying out and lacking humidity.

How to fix

In a dry environment, mist or spray water on the yellow leaves more often to keep them moist, and consider using a room humidifier.

Other causes for Lucky Bamboo Plants to Have yellow leaves

Though these are less common, other causes of the yellowing bamboo include;

1- Physically injured stem:

The stem is the medium to transport nutrients from roots to leaves to turn yellow.

Any injury (bending or breaking) of stem hampers plant growth, could result in a yellow stem and yellowing or dropping of leaves.

If you suspect this, cut out the damaged or yellow stems (just above the node) using shears. This will facilitate the growth of new offshoots.

To prevent further damage, place the plant in a safe place.

2- Insect infestation:

Though this is typically rare, insect attacks (by mealybugs, mites, etc.) could be the cause of the lucky bamboo turning yellow.

The first step to treating this problem is to isolate the infested plant.

Then, remove the insects by wiping the leaves and stalks with an alcohol solution or a mixture of mild soap in freshwater.

Lastly, trim any damaged leaves.

3- Natural aging:

Like all plants, the natural aging or decay of the plant also results in yellowing leaves.

If the entire plant is looked after regularly, then a few yellow leaves isn’t a major concern.

They can be trimmed to avoid the proliferation of decay.

FAQ

Why Does My Bamboo Turn Yellow?

The yellowing of lucky bamboo shows that the plant is not receiving its ideal conditions.

This could be because of many environmental reasons like water stress, too much direct sunlight, over-fertilization, overwatering, pest infestation, and natural decay.

Identifying and resolving the root cause of the problem could help your lucky bamboo regain its green leaves.

Can Lucky Bamboo Be Overwatered?

Lucky bamboo shouldn’t be overwatered as it can rot the roots and damage the plant.

These plants don’t need excessive water, so you have to water only if the topsoil appears dry.

How Do I Save My Yellowing Bamboo Plant?

You can save your lucky bamboo once you have identified the potential reason for the damage.

1-Start by choosing the right and bright corner to place the lucky bamboo plant.

Please keep it away from direct sunlight to avoid the yellowing of the foliage.

2- Water the plant moderately. Allow the topsoil to dry before watering again to avoid over-watering issues.

In dry environments, spray leaves more frequently to avoid water stress.

3- Feed nutrient supply with organic fertilizer only once or twice a year.

4- Use an appropriate soil mix that can retain moisture, nutrients and offers good drainage as well.

Can yellow bamboo turn green again?

If the lucky bamboo is turning yellow because of nutrient deficiency, it can be green again.

Nutrient deficiency can be recovered through organic fertilizers.

Should I cut yellow leaves off the Lucky Bamboo? 

If the lucky bamboo turns yellow because of exposure to direct sunlight or poor-quality water, it is better to trim the damaged leaves and lucky bamboo stalks (just above the node).

This will encourage the growth of new leaves.

Conclusion

The lucky bamboo plant (Dracaena sanderiana), which is native to Africa, is now available worldwide, primarily sourced from Asia.

The first and most important thing about this plant is that it is not truly a ‘bamboo species.’

This plant is commonly referred to as bamboo because its stalks resemble bamboo. In terms of care and structure, however, it is more closely related to a succulent.

The lucky bamboo plant, also known as Chinese water bamboo, makes a great indoor plant.

Lucky bamboo plants are said to bring blessings and good fortune to their owners, especially if you receive them as a gift.

Now you know the various causes of yellowing lucky bamboo leaves.

If the only issue with your bamboo plant is that the leaves turn yellow, this isn’t really a major concern.

If you suspect other causes, then it’s best to analyze the environmental conditions.

It may take several trials and errors to get your lucky bamboo plant in the right conditions that support its growth.

Under optimum conditions, it can live up to two years without extensive care.

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