If lucky bamboo is a part of your indoor plant collection, you must be enjoying its exotic vibe of a jungle. On the other hand, if often happens that your lucky bamboo becomes ‘unlucky’ and starts turning yellow.
When it happened to me for the first time, I started wondering why is my bamboo turning yellow? So I found that the reason for bamboo turning yellow is usually inappropriate care in form of water, light, or humidity amount.
Still, other starting points may cause a bamboo plant to turn yellow. In the following lines, I will describe them more closely.
What is Lucky Bamboo
Lucky Bamboo or Dracaena sanderiana is actually not a bamboo at all.
It normally lives across Africa and Asia, although it is native to the Republic of Cameroon in western Central Africa.
Lucky bamboo is similar to its genus of dracaena by the leaf shape and the practice of leaves falling off after two years or so.
The stem, however, remains green and lush even when the leaves fall off.
Lucky bamboo has become wildly popular because of its unusual swirly looks and often use in the feng shui practice.
Namely, it is said to bring good energy and happiness, which is why it is often picked out as a great gift.
It is a low-maintenance plant that doesn’t require much care. Because of that, it is often seen in offices. With proper care, it may live for years and years.
Now that we have answered what is lucky bamboo, we can move onto the next question – why are my bamboo leaves turning yellow.
Why Is My Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow
If you notice your lucky bamboo turning yellow, know that there is something wrong with it. The causes may vary, so I have made a list of possible problem sources.
This is why, before taking any actions, you must first ask yourself ‘why is my bamboo turning yellow’. After all, understanding the problem is half of the solution.
1. Too Much Sunlight
Lucky Bamboo is native to Central Africa, and the temperature it prefers varies from 15 to 35oC. It lives in abundant rainforests with a lot of humidity and no direct sunlight.
This is the reason why strong sunlight causes bamboo yellowing leaves or stems. Too much sunlight may even burn the plant so bad, to the point where you won’t be able to revive it.
Too much fertilizer has been known to get the plants to dry out because of all the chemicals and minerals found in the fertilizers.
The built-up salts and minerals dehydrate the plant. Being overfertilized, the plant is unable to soak all the valuable nutrients.
As a result, you have wilted and yellow bamboo leaves, and even stems.
3. Inadequate Temperature
As I have already mentioned, lucky bamboo prefers temperatures from 15 to 35oC.Hotter temperatures may cause the lucky bamboo leaves turning yellow.
On the other hand, colder temperatures may have the same effect. Cold temperatures will make the water temperature fall.
If the temperature goes down too much, it will make the bamboo stem get cold, limp, and yellow.
4. Low Humidity
Lucky bamboo lives in dense rainforest. Those are the places with high humidity levels. As the air becomes drier, the transpiration accelerates.
When the acceleration is happening, lucky bamboo has no time to replace the water loss. As a result, first, you have bamboo yellow leaves. Over time, the stem starts becoming yellow, as well.
This is a cause that often gets overlooked because people tend to think that bamboo has enough humidity since it is living in the water.
The truth is, lucky bamboo needs at least 50 percent humidity, and the water alone sometimes just isn’t enough.
5. Pest Problems
If you have intruders hanging around your lucky bamboo, it is high time to react, especially if they are causing bamboo plant leaves turning yellow.
Although insect infestations are very rare when it comes to lucky bamboo, they do happen sometimes.
Spider mites, mealybugs, and scales may be uninvited guests.
They tend to suck the plant juices and they also discharge a growing medium that allows fungi to grow. As a result, bamboo leaves become yellow and even fall off.
Pest infestation is not only dangerous for the bamboo but the other house plants as well since it usually spreads rapidly.
6. Injured or Broken Stalk
Injured or broken stalk, although being a mechanical, external problem, leads to other issues.
Since the plant can’t transfer the water and the other valuable nutrients regularly, the affected parts become weaker and weaker.
Over time, they become wilted, soggy, and yellow.
7. Bad Water Quality
Since it spends its whole life in water, lucky bamboo can be a little picky when it comes to water quality. Also, like all dracaena, bamboo is sensitive to fluoride.
Other chemicals in water, besides fluoride, may also dry the plant through time, eventually causing yellowing or even browning.
It also happens that the water is simply too stale, which can make the leaves turning yellow.
Stagnant water is also creating a great environment for organisms such as bacteria, mold, or different types of fungus. Algae is another threat that loves stale water.
8. Nutrient Insufficiency
Although it is a low-maintenance plant that requires almost none additional nutrition, lucky bamboo still loves getting a treat from time to time.
This is the reason why you should fertilize it during the hot months. If it isn’t getting enough food, your bamboo might become yellow and limp. It will either stop growing or grow slowly.
9. Root Rot
Root rot may happen for a few reasons. First of all, always avoid dirty water. Try to use rainwater, distilled, or evaporated tap water.
You will notice infected lucky bamboo roots by the color. Orange is the only healthy root color. If the yellowing starts from the bottom, root rot is the cause of it.
How to Revive Bamboo Leaves Turning Yellow
If your problem consists of bamboo leaves turning yellow as a consequence of exposure to direct sunlight, all you can do is cut the leaves.
You must use sterilized, sharp tools (a knife or scissors). If you notice the stem turning yellow as well, cut the yellow part and throw it away.
Replant the healthy part of the stem, or place in freshwater (if you are keeping your bamboo in water). By cutting the infected parts, you direct all the valuable nutrients to the other, healthy parts of the plant.
If you don’t want your lucky bamboo yellow leaves to reappear, find a new spot for your plant. Place it somewhere where it has sunlight, but not direct.
Find a warm spot with enough (but not too much) natural sunlight. If you can’t find a place like that, you can use artificial lights as a replacement.
Of course, it will do good for a short period, sooner or later the plant will want natural sunlight.
If the cause of your bamboo plant yellow leaves is overfertilization, there are two things you can do. The first one is to immediately change the water built-up with excess minerals and salts. Use distilled water.
Pro-Tip: If you want to help your lucky bamboo harmed by overfertilization as soon as possible, you can use rainwater. Just replace the water in the container with rainwater you’ve previously collected. Rainwater has the best Ph value and the ratio of salts and other elements.
Of course, this is a tip only if you keep lucky bamboo as a hydroponic. If you are keeping yours planted in soil, you can change the soil as well.
If this is the reason for the yellowing, all you have to do is either change the room temperature or change the room the plant is in.
Avoid positioning lucky bamboo on places where the temperature tends to drastically change. Drafty places are a big no, so avoid window sills.
Use a thermostat or a fan to determine and adjust room temperature.
To stop low humidity conditions from affecting your lucky bamboo, start misting it regularly. As it loves a high level of humidity, you can do it pretty often, your lucky bamboo will be very grateful.
If your bamboo is neighbors with your other house plant, you may place them all a little closer to one another, rising the humidity level that way.
You can also plant the container with your green friend on top of a plate with humid rocks. As the water evaporates, it will pass humidity to the plant.
In the end, you can always use a humidifier and solve the humidity problem that way.
The solution to the problem lies in the size of the affected area. If it is a light insect infestation, you can simply wipe off the pests with a cotton cloth.
Soak the cloth with alcohol or mild soap mixed with lukewarm water before wiping. In cases of bigger infestation, you can use special insecticidal soap.
Ask your local flower shop worker which local brand will work the best for lucky bamboo. Apply the soak with a cotton cloth as well.
If the infestation is bigger and the alcohol nor soap helps, you will have to trim the infected parts. Use sterilized tools so you don’t transfer the infestation.
If you are growing your lucky bamboo in a vase, you will have to clean and disinfect it as well. If you have some pebbles or rocks on the bottom, clean them as well.
Isolate the infected plant so the contamination doesn’t spread to other plants. Don’t hesitate to throw away the plant if it seems helpless.
Trying to save it may make a greater loss than the gain.
Injured or Broken Stalk
If your lucky bamboo stem is broken, there is only one thing to do – try to save what is left. Trim the stem just above the nod and toss away the yellow part of the stem.
Use a sharp, disinfected tool. You can stop the eventual infections by dipping the stem into natural bee wax.
It will preserve the stem and protect it from any possible harmful external effects. Make sure you keep your lucky bamboo away from children and pets, for two reasons.
The first reason, this way you will prevent any potential stem injuries.
On the other hand, lucky bamboo is toxic for pets, so it is best to keep them away, for the sake of your furry friends.
Bad Water Quality
Bad water quality may affect your lucky bamboo big time. That is why you should avoid using tap water.
It is full of possibly harmful chemicals. Instead, collect rainwater or use distilled water.
If you can do none, you can fill glass and plastic bottles with tap water and leave them open out in the sun.
Harmful substances such as chlorine will evaporate in a couple of days. No matter the source, always use lukewarm water.
Also, make sure you always change the water every two to three weeks. When changing the water, wash out the vase as well.
Dark ceramic vases will lower the chances of algae appearance since it blocks the sunlight. If the algae do appear, gently wipe the entire affected area of the plant.
You will also want to thoroughly wash the vase and the pebbles.
If your lucky bamboo is turning yellow because of nutrient insufficiency, you should feed it. Use liquid fertilizer since it is the mildest option.
Dissolve it in water according to the instructions on the product itself.
Pro-Tip: For keeping your water fresh and clean, add a little bit of active charcoal to the bottom of the container. It will help purify the water and keep the pests away.
If you notice root rot, thoroughly clean the container and the pebbles on the bottom.
The best solution would be to replace the rocks and pebbles, just because they may contain microscopically visible infected areas that may cause trouble again and again.
Also, planting lucky bamboo in soil lowers the risk of root rot.
How to Prevent Bamboo Plant Yellow Leaves
Of course, there are a few things you can do for your lucky bamboo before it gets affected by the harmful causes described above.
The first and most important part – keep your green friend away from direct sunlight. Place it somewhere bright and warm.
Make sure you avoid cold drafts, as they may have a negative impact as well. Use organic fertilizers. Liquid ones are the best solution.
Try to fertilize the plant from time to time, but not too often. Once in a month or two during hot months will be enough.
You should be careful when it comes to the container size. It should be tall enough for the stem.
Find one that is twice larger than the bamboo’s root ball. If you are keeping your lucky bamboo planted in soil, make sure you choose the right soil mix.
You will need soil that ensures good drainage, so perlite or sand mixtures are a great choice. Also, the soil should always be damp enough – not too dry and not too soggy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Bamboo Plant Turning Yellow Become Green Again?
Ok, so my bamboo is turning yellow. Can I get it to be green again?
The answer to this question depends on the cause of the bamboo turning yellow.
If it is suffering from nutrient deficiency, there is a chance for the yellow bamboo plant to turn green again.
In most other cases, you will have to cut out the part that turned yellow. If you have a problem with yellow bamboo leaves, just cut the yellow ones.
If your problem is the stem turning yellow, cut the yellowing part. Replant the healthy part of the stem.
The problem with bamboo plant turning yellow is determining the main cause of it.
For as long as you don’t discover the real reason, you’ll always have the same problem reappearing again and again until it finally kills the plant.
What if Lucky Bamboo Is Yellowing on the Top Side?
Yellowing on the top side probably indicates too much sunlight exposure. The presence of spider mats or other pests may be the cause of it as well.
What if Lucky Bamboo Is Yellowing on the Bottom?
If you are keeping your bamboo as a hydroponic, too cold may be the cause of bamboo leaves turning yellow.
On the other hand, if it is planted in soil, overwatering may be the reason for yellowing. Root rot and pest presence may be the case as well.
How Much Should I Cut off?
If you have to cut off the yellow part (and you usually do), you may wonder how much to throw away.
The answer is relative. It depends on the size of the affected area.
In general, you should cut just as much so when you press the stalk, it seems completely healthy and hard all the way through.
The center of the stem mustn’t be soft.
If you are asking yourself ‘why is my bamboo plant turning yellow’ the answer differs from one case to another.
In general, the reason may be inadequate temperature, bad water, overfertilization, or something else. The most important step is determining the cause and then acting accordingly.
Just remember, the yellow part of the plant is dead, but the other parts that are not contaminated may be saved.Follow us on: