Why is my Bamboo Turning Yellow? Guide to Reviving your Lucky Bamboo

Why is my bamboo turning yellow?

Isn’t bamboo supposed to be a plant that is easy and low maintenance?

Isn’t lucky bamboo supposed to be ‘lucky’? Then why is mine dying?!

If these questions sound familiar to you, rest assured you are in good company. We’ve all had a bamboo plant turn yellow at some point during our gardening journey. Your bamboo may be turning yellow for a few reasons, like:

  • there is an imbalance in nutrients or food,
  • environmental conditions aren’t favorable, or
  • your plant has developed a disease problem.
Why is My Bamboo Turning Yellow

In this guide, we are going to help you troubleshoot common indoor bamboo plant problems. We’ll be describing the possible reasons for your bamboo turning yellow. After each cause, we’ll provide solution(s) that you can try to fix your problem.

So if you’re ready to revive your beautiful plant, grab a coffee and let’s begin.

Why is My Bamboo Turning Yellow: Possible Causes

When it comes to determining the cause of a sad looking houseplant, we like to run through our list of usual suspects that could be the source of the problem.

Why is My Bamboo Turning Yellow: Possible Causes
Photographer: Severin Candrian | Credit: Unsplash

Water Quality Issues

One of the main culprits to cause bamboo to yellow is water quality.

Tap water has quite a few additives that do not agree with houseplants, like chrlorine, fluroide and sodium. These additives are harmful to your plants, and will stunt their growth.

Additionally, water quality supplied to houses for consumption varies from city to city. Some tap water is considered hard water, which has high concentrations of minerals. The fluoride levels and build up of minerals in your plants soil and surface can hinder their natural processes, like photosynthesis and the ability to absorb water via their roots.

How to Resolve Poor Water Quality

Find an alternate source of water. We like to use filtered or distilled water.

Filtered water (like bottled water) is as it sounds. It is water that has all the unnecessary water minerals and chemicals filtered out, so all you have is the good stuff leftover. To filter out the unwanted elements, water is put through a filtering process that involves running it through materials that remove toxins (like carbon).

On the other hand, distilled water is produced by running the water through a boiling chamber until it evaporates. The evaporated water is then cooled and condensed into pure H2O, ready to be used to water your plants.

An alternate source of water that you can use for your plants is rain water. When collecting rain water, make sure the water hasn’t been stagnant for too long. Stagnant water can become contaminated with algae, which will stunt the growth of your plants.

Your Bamboo is Starving

When an indoor plant is low maintenance and is as simple to care for as lucky bamboo, it is easy to forget about feeding your special plant.

When your bamboo is deficient in nutrients, you will begin to notice a few symptoms appearing. Initially, your bamboo’s leaves will begin to turn yellow, droop and just generally look sad. Eventually, the leaves will wither and drop off, and your bamboo will develop a yellowing stem.

Starving Bamboo with yellow leaves and stem

Suggest Solution for Starving Bamboo

The obvious solution is to feed your bamboo on a regular basis.

If your bamboo is in water, we recommend using a water-soluble liquid fertilizer once every two months. Simply add it to the water and mix thoroughly to ensure there is no fertilizer burn on your lucky bamboo.

For bamboo in potting mix, we like to use slow – releasing fertilizer granules that are available at your local nursery. The granules are convenient for time-poor plant parents, because they gradually release nutrients for your plant over a long period of time.

Overfeeding Your Bamboo

While under-feeding is a common problem, did you know you can overfeed your bamboo plant?

Some lucky bamboo plant owners can be a bit overzealous with their feeding regime, causing their plants to turn yellow.

Overfeeding does sound strange, so let us explain what happens when there is an excess of food. When too much fertilizer sits in your plants containers, the extra minerals and salts will become toxic. This harms both the plant and natural microorganisms in the soil.

It really is a compounding effect, because once the microorganisms disappear, the balance of the soil is no longer stable, which then causes the pH level to increase.

Suggest Solution to Overfeeding your Bamboo

If you suspect your bamboo may be suffering from overfeeding, we recommend changing out the water or soil immediately. It will immediately get rid of the excess minerals and salts, bringing your bamboo back into a neutral environment.

Maintaining a balanced medium is tricky, because there is no simple test you can do to check if there are too many nutrients in your bamboo’s soil. Unless, of course, you love getting your science on with testing strips and laboratory test tubes.

The best method for maintaining a regular feeding schedule is to utilize a bit of technology and your phone. We carry phones everywhere, and they are the easiest way to prompt your memory for keeping your plants fed consistently. Use the calendar function and install reminders to include some fertilizer in your water every second month.

It may sound tedious, but you’ll thank us later when you have a thriving ‘green’ bamboo inside your house!

Is Your Bamboo Too Cold? Or Too Hot?

Avoid placing plants in windy positions

Generally speaking, bamboo has a broad tolerance for temperatures. It can survive in temperatures between 65 – 95°Fahrenheit (18 – 35°Celcius).

However, if the temperature in your home or office begins to move towards the extremes of this range, it can upset your bamboo causing it to show signs of stress, like yellowing leaves.

Considering their temperature range favors warmer temperatures, the most likely cause of yellow leaves would be cooler temperatures. Cold to freezing temperatures damages the bamboo’s leaf cells, causing them to freeze and expand.

On the other end of the spectrum, hot temperatures will increase the bamboo’s rate of transpiration. However, hot, humid air also holds more moisture, preventing your bamboo from being able to evaporate water from its leaves, essentially stifling your plant.

Suggest Solution for Temperature Fluctuations

Moving your bamboo from the wrong spot to a position that enjoys small temperature fluctuations is your best option.

Try to avoid places that are prone to drafts or in the direction of air flow from heaters and air conditioners. Constant cool air or dry air will create too drastic a change for your bamboo and result in yellow leaves.

If you are unsure of how to gauge whether you have the right temperature for your lucky bamboo, grab a thermometer online or at your local nursery. They are generally cost-effective and very helpful for houseplant enthusiasts.

Too Low Humidity for your Bamboo

Low humidity can cause your bamboo to develop yellow leaves and stems.

During the winter weather when there is lower humidity, it means there is less water vapor present in the air. This effects your bamboo by increasing the rate of transpiration, which is the releasing of water from the cells in the bamboo’s green leaves.

Once the water has been exhausted, your bamboo will begin to wilt and turn yellow.

Suggested Solution for Low Humidity

Low humidity sounds bad, but increasing humidity for your indoor plants is actually quite simple.

We’ve written about many DIY ways to increase humidity around the house, but our favorite method is to place your bamboo on a humidity tray. It’s quick and easy to implement, and it won’t disrupt the zen look you have going like a bulky, noisy humidifier will.

Getting a precise reading for humidity is a bit tricky. You don’t have an internal humidity setting like you do with internal heating and cooling systems.

If you want to maintain a specific level of humidity, we recommend grabbing yourself a hygrometer.


In fact, they often come built into thermometers specifically made for gardening. So save yourself from having too many gadgets around the house and buy a 2 in 1 combo.

Disease Affecting Your Bamboo

If you notice your bamboo’s leaves turning yellow, it may be possible that your bamboo is suffering from a bacterial growth or fungus disease. This usually means the root system is sick and has been affected to the point where it translates to the leaves. If you suspect this is your bamboo plant, you will need to act quickly.

Those that have lucky bamboo sitting in the water will find it easier to diagnose, since the roots will begin to look rotten, brown and mushy.

Those that have bamboo potted in the soil, will have a bit more work to do. You will have to extract your bamboo carefully from the pot and inspect the roots to see if there is evidence of root rot and disease.

Yellow Bamboo suffering from disease

Suggest Solutions for Diseased Bamboo

As we said earlier, quick action will improve your chances of saving your bamboo plant.

Immediately remove your bamboo from their infected containers. Trim any dead or rotten bamboo roots away from the healthy roots with sterilized scissors.

Treat your bamboo with a fungicide or anti-bacterial solution to get rid of any remaining sign of disease on the plant.

Repot or move your bamboo into a new sterilized container. Immediately fill with fresh potting mix or filtered water (for those that have ornamental lucky bamboo living in water only containers).


Remember to sterilize all the equipment and containers that have been exposed to the disease. You do not want to spread any infections to other healthy plants.

Check out this short video by Living in Aura on tips for how they save dying bamboo plants 

FAQ: Common Bamboo Turning Yellow Questions

Why Is My Bamboo Turning Yellow From The Top Down?

There could be a few reasons why your bamboo is turning yellow from the top down. The likely causes of your yellowing stalk is an imbalance in fertilizer in your bamboo’s soil or water, or there is something wrong with the environmental conditions like lighting, temperature and humidity. Another potential cause could be pests or disease.

How Do I Revive My Bamboo Leaves Turning Yellow?

The quickest way to reviving your bamboo after its leaves have turned yellow is to troubleshoot the potential cause. We have covered the most common problems to cause yellow leaves in bamboo, such as water quality issues, disease, fertilization issues or temperature and humidity disturbances. We recommend working your way through the potential causes to quickly find our suggested solutions to the problem.

Can Yellow Bamboo Turn Green Again?

Unfortunately yellow parts of a bamboo stalk will remain yellow.

If you act quickly enough, you can still keep the yellow stalk alive, but it will not regain its vibrant green again.

If you do not like the sight of the yellow stalk, we recommend removing it from the container, or trying propagating new green stalks from parts of the stalk that still show a green color.

Should I cut yellow leaves off the Lucky Bamboo?

Yes – you should cut the yellow leaves off the main green stems.

As with other plants, once a leaf has turned yellow on a bamboo plant, it will not regain its green color. The reason is that the plant has decided to sacrifice the leave for the sake of the main plants’ survival.

It is important to understand why your plant decided to sacrifice that leaf, so begin troubleshooting what could be potential causes of the yellow leaf straight away.

Final Thoughts on why is my bamboo turning yellow?

A yellowing bamboo doesn’t have to be a stressful experience.

By approaching the problem from a calm and logical mind, we are confident you will be able to troubleshoot your way back to a vibrant and happy lucky bamboo in no time.

Simply work your way through our guide, and once you have identified the primary cause of your yellow bamboo, implement the suggested solutions straight away.

If you have managed to revive your beautiful bamboo plant from an episode of yellowing, please let us know how you saved your plant. We always love hearing stories with happy endings.