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Why Are My Bamboo Leaves Turning Yellow? (Easy Ways to Cure)

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I’ll kick off today’s talk, saying DON’T.

Don’t get worried if you find your bamboo leaves turning yellow.

Sometimes, it is just the natural aging process of the leaves. While sometimes, being a little offhand with a few caring domains can cause the leaves in your lucky bamboo to turn yellow.

If you are asking yourselves, why are my bamboo leaves turning yellow? You are at the right spot. Today, we will talk about all the possible reasons for a bamboo plant to turn yellow.

I’ll also add some of the easiest ways to cure the yellowing of leaves in your precious lucky bamboos.

So, stay with me as I dive into the article.

11yo lucky bamboo leaves turning yellow - Why are my bamboo leaves turning yellow?
“11yo lucky bamboo leaves turning yellow & progressing up the stalk.” – Image via Reddit.

Why Are My Bamboo Leaves Turning Yellow? – Reasons

Leading reasons for bamboo leaves to turn yellow are:

  • Natural leaf fall.
  • Overwatering or Underwatering.
  • Excessive light.
  • Excessive use of fertilizers or Nutrient deficiency.
  • Transportation stress.

How to Care for a Lucky Bamboo if its Leaves Are Turning Yellow?

Natural Leaf Fall

You should know that the lucky bamboo is not an actual or ‘true’ bamboo. Its scientific name is Dracaena sanderiana, and it’s totally different from the original bamboo plants.

Lucky bamboo is an evergreen indoor perennial plant that, unlike deciduous plants, undergoes leaf fall during spring rather than fall.

Therefore, if you find your bamboo plant yellowing some of its older leaves before leaf fall, it’s probably because of the natural leaf fall to promote new and healthy growth.

As long as your lucky bamboo is growing new green leaves, it’s best not to worry about the older leaves turning yellow and falling off of the plant.

Overwatering or Underwatering

Why are my bamboo leaves turning yellow? Well, overwatering is one of the most common causes of yellowing leaves in plants.

Have you overwatered your bamboo plants for a pretty long time? If yes, the yellow leaves are probably because of moisture stress.

There are two ways to grow lucky bamboos:

  • You can either plant your bamboos straight in the water.
  • Or you can root them directly into the soil.

Doesn’t matter which method you opt to grow your plant. Overwatering for an extended period can cause the roots to rot.

While on the other hand, an underwatered bamboo plant will show wilting along with the yellowing of the newer leaves.

How to Properly Water Lucky Bamboo Plants and Prevent Root Rot

If you grow your bamboos in water, you should take care of the container’s water level.

It is best to keep the water level below the stalks so that the water only touches the roots of your bamboo plants. In this way, you can save your lucky bamboo from getting root rot.

Also, make sure to change the water every now and then. Giving your bamboos fresh water every two to three weeks works fine. It is always best to use distilled water because mineral water containing chlorides and fluorides can cause the yellowing of leaves in your bamboo plants.

Water with disinfectants such as Chlorine can also result in bamboo leaves turning yellow.

If you have your bamboo plant rooted directly in the soil, you should wait for the above half to get dry before giving your plant another shot of hydration.

Letting the soil partially dry out between watering is the key to preventing your plant from root rot.

You can browse this article to know how you can treat root rot.

Soil-borne fungi and bacteria dwell in soggy wet conditions. Therefore, overwatering your bamboo plants initiates the process of root rot.

Also, having waterlogged soil that’s not well-draining speeds up the rotting process.

In fact, a poorly draining and unhealthy potting mix is the leading cause of overwatering, subsequently resulting in root rot.

Therefore make sure to use a lightweight and well-aerated potting mix along with a pot having a lot of drainage holes.

Related Article: Best potting mix for indoor plants.

Excessive Light

Direct sun is the last thing your lucky bamboo needs. It is always best to keep your bamboo plant away from direct sunlight.

That’s because it is a type of plant that loves to thrive in shady places. This can either be a sunshade, direct light filtered using sheer curtains, or a shade provided by the canopy of bigger plants.

If your lucky bamboo receives too much direct sunlight, the leaves will scorch and turn yellow due to sunburn.

Best Lighting Conditions for Lucky Bamboo

Your lucky bamboo will definitely flourish in a spot where it receives bright but indirect light.

This can be a few feet away from an east- or west-facing window where the direct sun rays can’t touch the foliage.

If you place your lucky bamboo in front of a south-facing window, make sure to block the harsh rays of midday sun using light curtains.

However, keep your lucky bamboo away from the complete shade where it doesn’t receive any light.

It is always best to propagate these beauties whenever you get a chance to do so. Watch this easy tutorial on how to care for and propagate the lucky bamboo plants.

Excessive Use of Fertilizers or Nutrient Deficiency

Another answer to “Why are my bamboo leaves turning yellow?” can be overfertilization.

Yellowing of leaves due to overfertilization is something that professionals call ‘leaf burn.’ Other symptoms also include leaf tips and margins turning brown. Lucky bamboo is the type of plant that does not necessarily need to be fertilized.

However, if you grow your bamboo directly in water, yellowing of leaves can occur due to nutrient deficiency.

The potting mix that we generally use has nutritious components such as compost, manure, worm castings, etc. But with water, the plant can become deficient in nitrogen or potassium, causing the yellowing of leaves.

Healthy Amount of Fertilizers

Here we have two different scenarios.

  • If you have your bamboo plants rooted in a potting mix, add nutritious components such as fresh compost, leaf litter, or worm castings in the blend. You won’t need any fertilizer at all.
  • If you have your bamboos planted in water, use a nitrogen-based or a well-balanced liquid fertilizer (diluted to half strength; it’s best to follow the instructions mentioned on the package) two to three times annually.

That’s pretty much it with fertilization.

Now, let’s head towards the transportation stress.

And by the way, have you seen this ready-made assorted lucky bamboo planter on Etsy just for $30. Order yours now, and be at rest regarding any type of travel shock to the plant.

Fresh lucky bamboo assorted planter - Why are my bamboo leaves turning yellow?
“Assorted Lucky Bamboo Planter” – Image via Etsy.

Transportation Stress

Bamboo leaves can sometimes turn yellow due to a travel shock or transportation stress. This usually happens due to a sudden change in environmental conditions such as temperature, light intensity, humidity, etc.

Most of the time, there is nothing much to worry about. The plant gets out of shock after you provide it with similar conditions as before.

What Can You Do?

You can try your best to provide your lucky bamboo with the ideal conditions.

  • Keep the temperature between 60°F to 80°F.
  • Take care of proper lighting conditions, as explained before.
  • Lucky bamboo is kind of a hardy plant and is easy to care for. It can easily keep up with normal household humidity levels of 50-60%.

It just takes some time for the plant to adapt to new surroundings.


With all that said, let us conclude the talk here.

Why are my bamboo leaves turning yellow, you asked? Well… I hope you got your answer. If you found today’s article helpful, consider sharing it with your friends and family.

Also, feel free to share your queries or opinions in the comments below.


Mahad H.