Blog, miscellaneous

Why Is My Bamboo Turning Yellow?

Many people love a household plant called Lucky bamboo or Dracaena sanderiana. And that’s not just because of its beautiful appearance. This plant is also believed to increase feng shui, bring positive energy, good luck, wealth, fortune, and safety for house owners. Besides, the bamboo plant keeps the environment clean as it’s a natural air purifier. And last but not least, it gives an appealing look to the décor of any home style.

However, despite the fact that bamboo is one of the easiest houseplants to care for, certain problems can still arise with it. For instance, some owners complain about lucky bamboo turning yellow. And if you’re asking yourself “Why is my bamboo turning yellow?” too, this guide is for you! Here, we’ll explain the reasons behind this issue, provide you with well-tried tips on how to fix it and regain the plant green vibe. So, let’s get to it!

Reasons Bamboo Turning Yellow

Like in many plants, yellowing signifies that your lucky bamboo is suffering from specific problems. However, treating this issue without the right info and knowledge might even worsen the plant’s condition! So, why is your lucky bamboo turning yellow? Here are the reasons:

Direct Sunlight

Lucky bamboo originated in rainforests and thrived in indirect light. Hence, if your plant is exposed to direct sunlight for a long time, it may lead to burns, leaves yellowing, and fading. On the other hand, too little light can make bamboo become weak as well, and its color may turn pale or yellow.

How to Fix It?

First, trim off burnt or yellow leaves, then put your bamboo in a place with indirect yet sufficient light, for instance, on the desk near the bright window or a shady corner.     

Exessive Fertilizer Application

Why does bamboo turn yellow? One of the most frequent reasons is overfertilization. And while a good fertilizer is important, a lucky bamboo plant doesn’t need too much of it. It can thrive for years without ever being fertilized. In fact, overfertilization can even cause more harm than good, as it stresses and weakens the plant. So the leaves and stems may wilt, become yellow or even brown.

How to Fix It?

  • If you feel you need to fertilize your bamboo, be sure to use a specifically designed solution.
  • Do not feed the plant too often, and remember, little is better than too much!
  • If you’ve overapplied fertilizer, wash off the soil with plenty of purified water, then let it flow out of the bottom. It’ll remove excessive fertilizer and salts. 

Nutrient Deficiency

Although we’ve warned you against overfertilization in the previous paragraph, you should remember that nutrients are still essential for any plant to assure lush and healthy growth. Therefore, if your bamboo lacks macronutrients or micronutrients, it can cause its leaves to turn yellow, wilt, and droop.

How to Fix It?

  • Find a balance! Remember to feed your plant from time to time but not too much! Figure out how often your type of bamboo needs to be fertilized.
  • If your plant grows in water, add liquid fertilizer.
  • For bamboo growing in the pot, choose the soil with an optimal pH level, which is 6.0 to 6.5. Otherwise, some nutrients will not be very effective. 

Incorrect Temperature

The temperature influences specific physiological processes in all living organisms, and lucky bamboo is not an exception. It thrives best in temperatures ranging between 65°F and 95°F, that’s why this plant feels comfortable in most homes and offices. However, the hotter or colder temperature can cause bamboo yellow leaves, or result in them wilting and even dying.

How to Fix It?

  • Monitor and maintain the right temperature in the room.
  • Do not place the plant in spots where the temperature may drastically change, e.g., near doors or windows – they can get drafty in fall and winter.

Low Humidity

The lucky bamboo natural environment is humid rainforest. That’s why low humidity – less than 50% – can be the reason behind the bamboo plant turning yellow. 

How to Fix It?

Use only one of the following methods since excessive humidity can attract fungal growth:

  • Maintain proper humidity in your home – 40-60%.
  • Make a pebble tray, pour some water on it, and keep your bamboo atop the tray.
  • Spray water to the plant daily.  

Injured or Broken Stems

Another frequent reason why lucky bamboo leaves turning yellow is stem bending or breaking. If the stem is injured, it’ll cause an interruption of nutrient supply to leaves, making them too weak and sick.

How to Fix It?

  • If your bamboo is wearing lace or ribbon, make sure it’s not too tight or it can hurt the stem.
  • If the stem is broken, trim off the upper piece from the injured part, it’ll provide room for new sprouts.
  • Seal the cut with natural melted soy wax, it’ll prevent infections.
  • Place bamboo in a secure place where kids and pets won’t be able to reach it. With a proper environment and sufficient water, your bamboo will grow lush again.


Although rare, mealybugs or soil mites can seriously damage lucky bamboo. They suck its juices from leaves and stems and promote fungal growth. This leads to brown or black patches on leaves. And if you don’t eliminate the insect infestation, the leaves will turn yellow, curl, fall off, and, subsequently, the bamboo will die.

How to Fix It?

  • First, isolate the infested bamboo, otherwise, insects will spread to other plants.
  • Get rid of the bugs by wiping them with insecticidal soap or a rubbing alcohol solution.
  • Trimm off affected parts of the plant, it’ll stop the infestation from further spread.
  • If the bamboo grows in the water, clean the vase and stones.

Note that these procedures work effectively only for light infestation. In case the plant is severely damaged, sadly, you’ll have to throw it away.

Unclear Water

If the plant grows hydroponically, you must frequently check and change the water since stagnant water invites bacteria, mold, fungus, and even algae to grow. This reduces bamboo’s defense, makes it weaker, and prone to diseases. 

How to Fix It?

  • Change the water, clean the vase and stones every 2-3 weeks.
  • Use a darker vase and don’t expose it to direct sunlight, it’ll prevent algae growth.
  • If you’ve noticed algae, remove the bamboo from the vase and rinse its roots in clean water. 
  • Remove the stones, sprinkle both stones and vase with salt, and let them sit for several minutes. 
  • Then brush off the algae and wash the vase and pebbles well. 
  • Once the base for your bamboo is ready, you can bring it back.

Poor Water Quality

If you’re still asking yourself “Why is my lucky bamboo turning yellow?” and can’t find an obvious reason (insects, injured stem, stagnant water), consider the water quality you use for your plant. The damage caused by chemicals in water doesn’t appear overnight. Toxins accumulate over time and inhibit plant metabolism, respiration, and photosynthesis. This results in leaves wilting, yellowing, or even browning.

How to Fix It?

  • Avoid giving bamboo tap water, use distilled water or collect rainwater.
  • If you still want to use tap water, let it sit for 2 days to evaporate some chemicals.
  • Install a water filtration system – purified water is great for your and your plants’ health.

How To Revive Bamboo Leaves Turning Yellow?    

Why is my bamboo yellow? Hopefully, you’ve identified the problem with the help of the previous paragraph. Now, you may be wondering whether the yellow plant can turn green again. Well, if the culprit behind the yellowing problem is a lack of nutrients, then yes, it will return to its normal color when it gets the necessary substances. Otherwise, you won’t be able to restore its green appearance.   

However, don’t rush to throw away your lucky bamboo until you’re certain it can’t be saved. In most cases, you still can take specific steps to bring the plant back to life and make it beautiful again:

  • Trim off the yellow leaves, it’ll make room for new growth.
  • If the stalk is damaged, trim off the affected part and re-plant the remaining healthy part.
  • Choose a proper container – it should be tall and have a size twice larger than the bamboo root ball. If your bamboo is soil-based, the pot must feature holes in its base.
  • Bamboo is not a drought-tolerant plant, it likes water. So, you’ll need to adapt your irrigation setup since the plant spreads wider and wider each year.
  • Make sure to prevent your bamboo from stressful conditions, e.g., strong drafts, rapidly changing temperatures, little or excessive humidity, dehydration, etc. If your bamboo has yellow leaves, extreme external conditions will only worsen the situation.


Hopefully, this guide has helped you find out why your bamboo is turning yellow. So keep these in mind, and your lucky bamboo will always be healthy and green!

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