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

Is your once lush and vibrant lucky bamboo now donning a less-than-lucky yellow hue?

You’re not alone.

The lucky bamboo plant, an enduring symbol of prosperity and promotes good luck, can ironically become a source of stress when its leaves begin to change color.

While yellowing leaves can leave any plant owner puzzled and concerned, this issue is especially disheartening for those who cherish their lucky bamboo as more than just decor—a token of well-being, balance, and positive energy.

So, what’s really going on? Is it a lack of luck, or is there something more scientific at play?

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the common culprits behind your lucky bamboo’s yellowing leaves, offering diagnoses and remedies to restore your cherished plant to its former green glory.

Read on to discover how to get to the root of the issue, quite literally, and ensure your lucky bamboo remains a vibrant symbol of good fortune in your life.

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.

A Closer Look at Lucky Bamboo Plant

The Lucky Bamboo plant, scientifically known as Dracaena sanderiana, is native to the tropical rainforests of Africa and Asia but has gained widespread popularity as an indoor plant around the world.

Contrary to its name, lucky bamboo does not actually belong to a bamboo family but is more closely related to the Dracaena genus.

It is often associated with feng shui. Lucky bamboo is revered in various cultures, particularly in Chinese tradition, where it’s associated with good fortune, prosperity, and positive energy. Its flexible stalks can be trained to grow in various shapes, adding to its aesthetic appeal.

Why Are My Bamboo Leaves Turning Yellow? – Reasons

The leading reasons for lucky bamboo turning yellow are:

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

Natural Leaf Fall

Natural leaf fall is a normal physiological process in the life cycle of a lucky bamboo plant, and it is one of the benign reasons why lucky bamboo turns yellow.

As bamboo plants mature, it’s natural for older leaves to turn yellow and eventually fall off to make way for new growth. This yellowing is a sign of aging rather than a symptom of disease or improper care.

It is the plant’s way of reallocating nutrients and energy to support newer leaves that are more efficient at photosynthesis. As such, occasional yellowing and shedding of older leaves should not be a cause for concern and generally does not require intervention.

Overwatering or Underwatering

Why is the lucky bamboo turning yellow? Well, overwatering is one of the most common causes of yellowing lucky bamboo.

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

There are two ways to grow lucky bamboo stalks:

  • You can either plant your lucky bamboo 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 your lucky bamboo stalks for an extended period can cause the roots to rot.

On the other hand, because of underwatering, the lucky bamboo turns yellow along with wilted leaves.

How to Properly Water Lucky Bamboo Plants and Prevent Root Rot

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

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

Water quality matters! So, make sure to change the water every now and then, ensuring that the plant does not stay in the stagnant water for long.

Stagnant water can be dangerous for the plant’s health. So, giving your bamboo fresh filtered water every two to three weeks will work fine. It is always best to use distilled water because mineral water contains chlorine and fluoride.

These Chemicals can cause the yellowing of leaves in your bamboo plants.

Water with disinfectants such as Chlorine can also result in the leaves of the bamboo plant 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, including potential fungal growth, dwell in soggy, wet conditions. Therefore, overwatering your bamboo plants initiates the process of rotten roots and creates an environment conducive to fungal growth.

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 rotten roots.

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 light from a full sun is the last thing your lucky bamboo needs. It is always best to keep your lucky bamboo plant in bright, indirect light. Too much sun can damage them, causing the plant turning yellow.

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

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

Best Lighting Conditions for Lucky Bamboo plant

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

This can be a few feet away from an east- or west-facing bright 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 too much sunlight 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 your question about “why the leaves on lucky bamboo plant turning yellow” can be overfertilization.

Lucky bamboo leaves are turning yellow due to too much fertilizer; it is something that the 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 lucky bamboo plant directly in water, the yellowing of leaves can occur due to nutrient deficiency.

The potting mix 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 lucky bamboo plants rooted in a potting mix, add nutritious components such as fresh organic compost, leaf litter, or worm castings in the blend. You won’t need any fertilizer at all.
  • If you have your bamboo planted in water, use a nitrogen-based or 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 and following these tips, you can get a healthy, lucky bamboo plant back.

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

The yellowing lucky bamboo leaves can sometimes be due to a travel shock or transportation stress. This usually happens due to a sudden change in environmental conditions, such as wrong temperature, light intensity, low 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 care with some ideal conditions for its healthy growth.

  • Lucky bamboo prefers temperatures between 60°F to 80°F.
  • Take care of proper lighting conditions, as explained before.
  • Place a pebble tray to keep up the humidity levels.

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


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

Well… I hope you got your answer. The yellowing of bamboo leaves can result from various factors such as water quality, nutrient deficiencies, and environmental conditions.

Proper diagnosis is crucial for determining the appropriate treatment, including adjusting watering schedules, applying balanced fertilizers, or altering the plant’s environment.

While some yellowing is a natural part of the plant’s lifecycle, early intervention can help mitigate more serious issues, ensuring the bamboo remains a vibrant and healthy addition to your space.

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.