Why Is My Bamboo Turning Yellow (& How to Treat)?

The leaves of Lucky Bamboo turning yellow.
DIrect sunlight is one of the causes of Lucky Bamboo leaves turning yellow.

Though it is not unlucky if the Lucky Bamboo turns yellow, it may be heartbreaking to you. 

You must be wondering if Lucky Bamboo can turn yellow entirely. Yes, Bamboo can turn yellow with leaves and stems, but today we will talk about the leaves turning yellow.

Generally, the leaves of Lucky Bamboo turn yellow due to watering issues, exposure to direct sunlight, incorrect temperature, low humidity, over-fertilization, nutrient deficiency, and pest infestation. These causes are treatable by providing the optimum care requirements.

The image represents healthy and unhealthy Lucky Bamboo.
Yellowing leaves of Lucky Bamboo hampers the growth of the entire Lucky Bamboo.

Contradictory to the name, Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is not a true bamboo. Instead, it is a member of the family Asparagaceae

In Feng Sui practices, Lucky Bamboo symbolizes good luck, growth, and prosperity and boosts positivity in the household and office. 

If you don’t wish your office or house to be bare in the absence of healthy Lucky Bamboo, follow some steps to never let your plant get sick.

If your Lucky Bamboo has turned yellow in leaves, this article can be a lifesaver!

Is It Normal For Bamboo To Turn Yellow?

In normal conditions, the leaves and stems of Lucky Bamboo are green.

It is natural for Lucky Bamboo to turn yellow leaves if they are old enough. Natural aging allows plants to replace old leaves with ones. 

Besides aging, the yellow color of leaves or stems may indicate that Lucky Bamboo is going through the wrong circumstances.

There is less chance that your Lucky Bamboo will restore to green once it has turned yellow.

Aging of a Lucky Bamboo.
Lucky bamboo turns yellow due to aging.

So, if the leaves turn yellow frequently without reaching maturity, you need to open your eyes to some solutions. 

Why Is My Bamboo Turning Yellow? (Causes & Solutions)

Though Lucky Bamboo is a low-maintenance plant, you need to be precise about meeting the specific requirements of your Lucky Bamboo.

If you don’t fulfill the conditions, the leaves begin turning yellow, which is an initial sign that your plant is going through an unfavorable situation. 

If you don’t want your Lucky Bamboo to die, identify and solve these problems before it is too late.

1. Watering Issues 

You can plant Lucky Bamboo both in soil and water. In either case, the watering issues arise when you feed the plant with more or less water than required.

Water helps in the transporting required nutrients from the soil into the plant.

Similarly, watering helps keep the roots healthy, thereby aiding in the delivery of nutrients to the plants.

If you do not supply the proper water amount to Lucky Bamboo, the plant becomes devoid of healthy roots, resulting in yellowing leaves.

Here are a few signs which help you determine between underwatering and overwatering!

Signs of overwateringSigns of under watering
Yellowing of lower leavesDropping of leaves
No plant growthSlow plant growth
Wilting does not recover after watering.Wilting will improve after watering
The soil produces odorThe soil is dry
The roots are mushy, and black.The roots are dry. The soil pulls away from outside of the pot

Underwatering

In the lack of water, Lucky Bamboo leaves may turn yellow.

In the absence of water, Lucky Bamboo cannot stand erect due to the lack of water and cannot produce energy and move the nutrients from the soil to the stems and leaves.

Consequently, the leaves begin turning yellow, dropping, and the plant starts to wilt.

The dropping of leaves due to under watering prevents transpiration and conserves the water.

Lucky Bamboo can dry out quickly when planted in soil.

Immediate Steps of Revival

If you notice dry soil around the plant, dead leaf tips, slow growth, or any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is an indication that your Lucky Bamboo is dehydrated and needs water immediately. 

Rescue your Lucky Bamboo from turning yellow with these immediate steps of revival!

  • Dip the pot of the plant in a bucket of water until the air bubbles appear.
  • After the air bubbles appear, transfer the plant to moist soil. Do not let the soil dry out. 
  • Place the plant in a water-filled pebble tray. This way, the plant can absorb the water without rotting the root.

Overwatering 

When the soil is too wet, the Lucky Bamboo suffers from a lack of oxygen and eventually drowns.

Overwatering contributes to the degradation of roots due to rot or fungal infections, as Lucky Bamboo can not dry out completely when it gets more water than it requires.

lucky-bamboo-in-water
Overwatered Lucky Bamboo receives root rot quickly.

When the roots rot, the plant cannot deliver nutrients to the plant, thereby yellowing of leaves.

Immediate Steps of Revival

If your Lucky Bamboo is suffering from overwatering, here are some ways for immediate revival of the plant.

  • Stop watering your plant once you notice the signs of overwatering. Don’t water the plant until the roots and soil are dry.
  • Move an overwatered plant to shade. Since an overwatered plant cannot transport water to its upper portions, leaving the plant in the sun can cause the upper part to dry.
  • Loosen the soil and roots by tapping the side of the pots with your hands. This will help in the formation of air pockets.
  • Repot the plant to a new pot with fresh, well-draining potting mix after trimming the damaged roots and foliage.

2. Substandard Water Quality

Lucky Bamboo needs fresh and chemical-free water to thrive.

Stagnant water develops microorganisms like bacteria and fungus, which promotes root rot when you keep Lucky Bamboo in stagnant water for a long time.

Furthermore, algae develop in the container and obtain the nutrients designated for the Lucky Bamboo if you expose stagnant water to light. 

Lucky Bamboo in stagnant water.
Constant or unchanged water causes the yellowing of Lucky Bamboo leaves.

Thus, you should be mindful of the water quality you use for your Lucky Bamboo.

Since Lucky Bamboo is sensitive to the chemicals present in tap water like fluoride and chlorine, you should avoid tap water as far as possible.

These chemicals will accumulate and inhibit the plant process over time. The leaves will turn brown or yellow according to the concentration of fluoride and chlorine.

The production of Algae can be minimized by using a darker ceramic vessel.

Besides, if you have been using tap water and stagnant water for your Lucky Bamboo, immediately rescue the plant with these steps!

  • Switch the tap water with rainwater, filtered water, or distilled water since they are free from chemicals like chlorine and fluoride.
  • Remove the algae in the container with mild soap and purified water.
  • If you are using tap water for your plant, let it sit for 1-2 days so that the chlorine can evaporate over time.

2. Exposure To Direct Sunlight 

Lucky Bamboo is a plant that enjoys sunlight, but exposure to direct sunlight is harmful to it.

Excessive sunlight will cause damage to chlorophyll and other photosynthetic pigments, and eventually, the leaves will turn yellow and scorch.

Therefore, placing Lucky Bamboo in direct sunlight for a prolonged period is not advised.

Instead, Lucky Bamboo requires bright, filtered, or indirect sunlight.

Lucky Bamboo placed in indirect sunlight.
Indirect sunlight is best for Lucky Bamboo.

But remember, placing the plant in a much shady location can slow the plant growth.

Immediate Steps of Revival

If you notice the scorching leaf due to excess sunlight, revive the plant with these steps!

  • If you have placed Lucky Bamboo directly under the sunlight, relocate the plant to a dim location, where it gets indirect sunlight. 
  • Place the Lucky Bamboo next to, but not directly in front of, a bright window.
  • If you leave the plant in direct sunlight, cover it with shade nets
  • You can also increase the water frequency for Lucky Bamboo, which has suffered from excess sunlight.

3. Incorrect Temperature 

Temperature is one of the integral factors for plants to thrive, as it assists in the processes like photosynthesis and respiration in plants.

According to the tropical or temperate nature of the plant, every plant has a specific temperature range at which it can thrive its best.

Being a tropical plant, Lucky Bamboo prefers moderate temperatures. 

The temperature under 50 degrees and above 90 degrees Fahrenheit is harmful to Lucky Bamboo.

Too high temperatures can break down sugar and starch, which is harmful to the plant.

Besides, the temperature above the optimum level will slow down the root growth, restricting the plant’s water and nutrient uptake, and yellowing leaves exist.

lucky-bamboos-with-aloe
Low temperature causes leaves of Lucky Bamboo to become crispy and yellow.

In addition to yellowing of leaves, Lucky Bamboo suffering from high temperature, demonstrates other symptoms like dry leaf edges and wilting.

Similarly, if the temperature drops below the freezing point, the plant cells freeze and block the passage for nutrients, resulting in yellow leaves.

The extremely low temperatures also cause droopy or curling leaves of Lucky Bamboo.

Immediate Steps of Revival

If your plant is going through damage due to high or low temperatures, you can save the plant with these measures.

  • To prevent water loss in Lucky Bamboo suffering from high temperature, water it deeply.
  • In order to lower the temperature for Lucky Bamboo, you can move it to a shady location.
  • Bring it indoors if you have exposed Lucky Bamboo to freezing outdoor conditions.
  • When the leaves of Lucky Bamboo are turning yellow due to low temperature, cover the soil with several inches thick layers of mulch. This layer will keep the soil temperature warmer and preserve the temperature. 

4. Low Humidity 

Lucky bamboo prefers a humidity similar to the average room humidity, i.e. 50%.

In an arid environment, the leaf loses water rapidly, and the inability to compensate for the loss will cause yellow leaves.

Leaf tip of Lucky Bamboo turing yellow.
Lucky Bamboo leaf tips turn yellow due to low humidity.

Other symptoms of lack of humidity include shriveling or curling leaves, brown leaves, and leaf scorch. 

Immediate Steps of Revival

  • Keep the plant above a pebble tray with water. The water in the pebble tray promotes evaporation.
  • Placing the Lucky Bamboo in the kitchen and bathroom, the high humidity areas will help it with humidity.
  • Misting Lucky Bamboo will aid in increasing the humidity. Misting two to three times a week is recommended to increase the humidity.
  • Use humidifiers to increase the humidity of the room.

5. Nutrient Deficiency 

Have you ever thought the plant you love the most may still be lacking your love? Because for your plant, love means nutrients! 

The Lucky Bamboo leaves turning yellow is usually due to a lack of macronutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium.

Lucky Bamboo will reclaim its true colors if it has turned yellow due to nutrient deficiency.  

Yellow leaves due to nutrient deficiency.
Nutrient deficiency also causes leaves to turn yellow.

Here is a table representing some other symptoms due to deficiency and excess of these nutrients.

NutrientFunctionDeficiency Sign Excess Sign
NitrogenHelps in chlorophyll production Pale-yellow coloration, slow growthExcessive growth of plant

Attracts insects and pests
PotassiumRegulates the photosynthesis processBrown scorching of leaves

Curling of leaf tips

Yellowing between leaf veins
Stunted plant growth

Yellowing of foliage initially and slowly stem
MagnesiumProvides green color to the plantYellowish coloration & stunted growthDark colored variegation

Immediate Steps of Revival

  • Add liquid fertilizer to your Lucky Bamboo if you have planted it in water.
  • If there is nitrogen deficiency, add nitrogen-based fertilizer or animal manure to the soil.
  • You can use potassium nitrate or potassium hydroxide to compensate for potassium deficiency. You can also use organic fertilizers like wood ash, seaweed, or chicken manure.
  • You can supplement the plant with Magnesium by spraying Epsom salt over the plant. Cow manure is an organic additive of Magnesium.

6. Over Fertilization 

Lucky Bamboo doesn’t require much fertilizer, so over-fertilization can destroy it. 

Excessive use of fertilizers pulls the moisture away from the soil and causes damage to the roots. 

Similarly, over-fertilization will change the soil’s pH level, causing lesser delivery of nutrients to the plant.

Thus, this can weaken your Lucky Bamboo, causing yellowing or browning of leaves and sometimes yellowing of the stem. 

Signs

If your Lucky Bamboo demonstrates the following characteristics, it is a sign that you have over-fertilized your plant.

  • Due to poor root structure, an over-fertilized plant cannot absorb the moisture, and the leaves or the entire plant turns yellow or starts burning.
  • Excess fertilizer causes the layer of fertilizer to develop over the soil surface.  
  • The roots of an over-fertilized Lucky Bamboo look blackened.
  • Due to over-fertilization, the leaves start falling, and the growth of Lucky Bamboo is prolonged. 
Brown leaf tips of lucky bamboo.
Lucky Bamboo leaf tips turn brown due to overfertilization.

Immediate Steps of Revival

If you notice the signs, don’t panic and take the following steps to discourage further damage: 

  • You can remove the layer of fertilizer on the soil by releasing it with the help of a spoon. However, don’t stress the plant by digging too deep.
  • Remove the entire yellow leaves of Lucky Bamboo as they add stress to the plant. 
  • Allow the plant to drain the fertilizer with sufficient water. It would be best to allow the water to drain through the bottom and repeat the process three to four times.
  • If the draining doesn’t seem to work, replace the potting soil.

If you are to feed your Lucky Bamboo, make sure you know how to fertilize them.

7. Pest infestation

If your Lucky Bamboo is yellowing, the reason may be that it may have been home to culprit pests like spider mites, thrips, aphids, mealybugs, and fungus gnats.

Spider mites feed off materials from the plant cells and cause damage to the plant. 

Similarly, the thrips chew the buds and damage plant tissues, which hamper the photosynthesis process and causes the bamboo leaves to turn yellow. 

Aphids are other pests that produce a sticky liquid that provides a growth medium to microbes and bacteria.

In addition, the larvae of fungus gnats can damage the roots, while the mealybugs damage the plants by sucking the sap.

pest-infestation-in-lucky-bamboo
When pests feed on Lucky Bamboo, the leaves begin turning yellow.

Learn the signs of insect infestation below!

PestSign
Spider MitesYellow or black spots in top of the leaves

Yellow appearance of the leaves
ThripsDeformed growth of the plant

Tiny discolored spots in the leaves
AphidsDecreased growth, mottled leaves

Yellowing and curling of leaves
MealybugsWhite, cottony egg-masses in the leaves
Fungus gnatsSudden wilting, poor growth

Yellow coloration of leaves
Potato LeafhoppersThey inject watery saliva that damages the leaf surface

Yellowing and falling leaves

Immediate Steps of Revival

If you notice the infestation of the pests in your Lucky Bamboo, follow rescue your plant through these steps:

  • Ungroup your Lucky Bamboo from the other houseplants. 
  • Spray the Lucky Bamboo with diluted isopropyl alcohol, or a solution of soap and water. The rubbing alcohol should be mixed with equal water to rub off the pests.
  • You can spray the entire plant, including the underside of the leaves, with insecticidal soap once a week till the infestation is under control.

Should I Remove Yellow Leaves from Lucky Bamboo?

There is no chance that the yellow leaves of Lucky Bamboo will turn back green again until they are caused by a lack of nutrients. 

Since there is no going back, you can cut off the yellow leaves as they only contribute to using the nutrients of the healthy leaves.

Lucky Bamboo turning yellow..
You can cut off the yellow leaves to save the remaining green leaves.

You can peel off the yellowed leaves to let the new leaves grow. To ensure the process goes smoothly, follow the steps below!

  • First of all, collect the instruments like shears or scissors.
  • Sterilize the tools and use chlorine bleach to disinfect the tool. Mix 10% bleach to water, and soak the equipment for 30-minutes.
  • After disinfecting the tool, cut off the leaf. Be sure to cut the entire yellow leaf instead of just the yellow part.
  • Cut off the leaves at the point where they meet the stalk.
  • Be careful not to cut any healthy leaf or stem.
  • After you remove the yellow leaves, throw them in the compost pile as they are suitable compostable materials.

How to Prevent Yellow Leaves on Lucky Bamboo?

The good news is that you can help Lucky Bamboo produce green, fresh, and healthy more than ever with a bit more care and prevent them from getting yellow.

Here are some proven tips to provide your Lucky Bamboo with optimum care!

  • To ensure optimum watering, maintain the watering frequency every 2-7 days.
  • If you are growing your plant in water, it is advised to water once every 8 to 10 days. You should maintain the water level such that the root is submerged. 
  • As water quality greatly influences Lucky Bamboo to get yellow leaves, you can change every 7-10 days in the summer and every 10-15 days during winter.
  • Placing the Lucky Bamboo near the south-facing window during winter will be best for Lucky Bamboo. To prevent direct sunlight, you can make use of curtains or drapes.
  • Provide 6-8 hours of bright, indirect sunlight to your Lucky Bamboo every day.
  • Cover the plant with a blanket or burlap fabric during the winter season. Keeping the plant warm will prevent damage due to freezing temperatures.
  • You can build a temporary hoop house or tent to protect the plant during winter.
  • Group the plants together to increase the humidity. As plants release moisture through transpiration, grouping them together will create a humid environment in the growing area of Lucky Bamboo.
  • It is best to fertilize Lucky Bamboo with a balanced fertilizer every month in spring and during the formation of new buds..  
    Lucky bamboo planted in water
    The roots of Lucky Bamboo must be submerged while planted in the water.
  • If you are planting in the soil, let the two to three inches of soil dry out before watering. 
  • Slightly acidic soil is preferable for Lucky Bamboo, so you can plant it in soil that has a pH of 6.0 to 6.5.
  • Pruning of Lucky Bamboo depends on the height of the plant. If you wish, you can prune after 3 to 5 growing seasons.
  • You can repot Lucky Bamboo once its roots become too tight in the container.
  • Also, once a week, you must wipe the foliage, preferably with a solution containing neem oil or horticulture oil, to avoid pest infestation.

If you want to multiply Lucky Bamboo, you can get help from Lucky Bamboo seeds

Conclusion 

Seeing your favorite plant dying is always heartbreaking. To prevent Lucky Bamboo from suffering adverse situations, you need to know about the optimum requirement of your plant.

I have everything mentioned in the article. If you have or face any of your Lucky Bamboo turning yellow in leaves, you can get help from it. 

If you own a single or jungle of Lucky Bamboo, you also need to know Lucky Bamboo benefits and flowering guide.

Lastly, a bit of extra love for your plant will never go in vain! 

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