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

If you are facing the problem of your bamboo turning yellow, realize the fluctuation of their optimum environment. 

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 with problem-specific mitigations.

Following the yellowing, the plant starts to stunt and shows leggy growth.

So, this article can be a lifesaver if your Lucky Bamboo turns yellow.

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

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

Yellow leaves of Lucky Bamboo.
 If you are growing Lucky Bamboo in water, change the water every 7-10 days in the summer and every 10-15 days during winter.

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.

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

1. Watering Issues 

Water helps transport nutrients from the soil into the plant and keeps the roots healthy.

To ensure optimum watering, maintain the watering frequency every 2-7 days.

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


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.

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

Immediate Steps of Revival

Suppose you notice dry soil around the plant, dead leaf tips, and slow growth. It indicates 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 plant pot in a bucket of water until the air bubbles appear, and transfer the plant to moist soil. 
  • Place the plant in a water-filled pebble tray. This way, the plant can absorb the water without rotting the root.


When the soil is too wet, the Lucky Bamboo lacks 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 a cup
If you’re growing your plant in soil, don’t water until the top 50% of the soil is dry.

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 to immediately revive 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.
  • After trimming the damaged roots and foliage, repot the plant to a new pot with fresh, well-draining potting mix.

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. 

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

Besides, if you have been using tap 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 harms it.

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

Lucky Bamboo plants in sandy soil
Excessive fertilization results in salt accumulation in the soil which halts plant growth.

Instead, Lucky Bamboo requires bright, filtered, or indirect sunlight of 8-10 hours.

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

Immediate Steps of Revival

Revive the plant with these steps if you notice a scorching leaf from excess sunlight!

  • If you have placed Lucky Bamboo directly under the sunlight, relocate the plant to a dim location where it gets indirect sunlight, next to 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 

Too high temperatures can break down sugar and starch, which harms the plant.

Being a tropical plant, Lucky Bamboo prefers temperatures between 50 and 90°F.

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

In addition to the 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 damaged due to high or low temperatures, you can save the plant with these measures.

  • Water it deeply to prevent loss in Lucky Bamboo from high temperatures.
  • To lower the temperature of Lucky Bamboo, you can move it to a shady location.
  • Bring it indoors if you have exposed Lucky Bamboo to freezing outdoor conditions.
  • When Lucky Bamboo leaves turn yellow due to low temperature, cover the soil with several thick layers of mulch to preserve the soil 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.

Other symptoms of lack of humidity include wilting 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, or use humidifiers.
  • Misting Lucky Bamboo will aid in increasing the humidity. Misting two to three times a week is recommended to increase the humidity.

5. Nutrient Deficiency 

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. 

Here is a table representing some other symptoms of deficiency and excess 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.
  • Add nitrogen-based fertilizer or animal manure to the soil if there is a nitrogen deficiency.
  • 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 

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

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. 

It is best to fertilize Lucky Bamboo with a balanced fertilizer every month in spring and during the formation of new buds.


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. 

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, damage plant tissues, hamper photosynthesis, and cause 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.

Learn the signs of insect infestation below!

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 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 soap and water solution. 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 a lack of nutrients causes them. 

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

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.

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

  • First, sterilize the instruments like shears or scissors and use chlorine bleach to disinfect them. 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 when they meet the stalk and do not cut any healthy leaf or stem.
  • After you remove the yellow leaves, throw them in the compost pile as they are suitable compostable materials.

From Editorial Team


Spring and Summer are the best seasons to prune Lucky Bamboo plants.

Similarly, offshoot cuttings are the best way to propagate them.

Moreover, you can root them in water too, and when they start producing roots, transfer them to the soil.

Happy Gardening!

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