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Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow (9 Causes And How to Fix It)

Your Lucky Bamboo’s color turning yellow is a sign that it is experiencing one or more issues.

To fix this and get their green vibe back, you need to know what’s causing it and take countermeasures. This article contains all the information you need.

Overwatering is the primary reason for the yellowing of lucky bamboo. Additionally, Lucky Bamboo yellows due to a lack of light, nutrients, and humidity. Incorrect temperature, low quality, and poor water condition also endanger their health. Additionally, lucky bamboo can turn yellow due to physical injuries, insect infestation, and nutrient deficiency.

Can Yellow Lucky Bamboo Turn Green Again? 

You’re in luck if the Lucky Bamboo only has a nutrient deficiency. If they can make up for that loss, they may be able to reclaim their true colors.

Otherwise, the Lucky Bamboo’s yellow parts will never turn green again. But don’t give up; removing the yellow leaves will allow for new growth.

In the case of the stem, you can replant it to save the remaining portion. Even though trimming will help, you must still determine the root cause of the problem.

Failure to do so will result in the yellowing of the other parts continuing indefinitely. And this can wreak havoc on the entire plant, even leading to death.

What Does It Mean When Lucky Bamboo Turns Yellow? 

Indoor potted lucky bamboo turning yellow.

Yellowing, like most plants, indicates that something is wrong with the Lucky Bamboo. It’s their way of showing you that they’re dealing with issues.

Compromised requirements, environmental issues, chemical damage, insect infestation, and disease are examples. They will recover if you address the issues properly.

Causes of Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow

Direct Sunlight Can Cause Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow

Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow Due to Sunburn

Leaf wilting and yellowing is signs that the light is too strong. The plant needs to be shaded or relocated to a more dimly lit area. Bamboo can’t handle direct sunlight very well.

Solution

Nutrient Deficiency 

Nutrient deficiency is evident in their leaves that are turning yellow, wilting, and drooping. You may slow and stunt growth.

If this is the case, Lucky Bamboo is lacking either macronutrients or micronutrients. Macronutrients are what the plants need in a large amounts.

While micronutrients are the substances needed in smaller portions. The combination of these two is essential to assure vigor and healthy growth for the plant. 

Macronutrients like Nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium deficiency are the usual causes of the yellowing incidents in lucky bamboo. 

Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow Because of Nutrient Deficiency
Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow Because of Nutrient Deficiency

How to Fix Nutrient Deficiency

If you are growing a Lucky Bamboo in water, add some liquid fertilizer. Water alone cannot supply all the essential nutrients for a long time.

A complex mineral fertilizer can supplement plant nutrients, but maintaining a proper balance on your own is difficult.

I’ll explain how minerals affect bamboo’s growth in the following table.

Name of NutrientsFunctionsDeficiencyExcess Application Time
NitrogenHelps with chlorophyll productionThe stems weaken and leaves turn yellowBecomes vulnerable to pests and diseasesIn spring and during the growth period
PotassiumStrengthen immunityPlant defenses weaken, leaves turn yellowPlant growth slows downDuring new bud formation
CalciumPromotes cell metabolismThis leads to the death of young shootsThis leads to the death of young shootsOnce a month
MagnesiumStrengthen immunityPlant defenses weaken and leaves turn yellowRoots weakenA feed with Epsom Salt
IronHelps with photosynthesis and metabolic activityThis leads to discoloration of the leafLeaves fall Once every two weeks with Chelated Liquid Iron
MolybdenumHelps to process potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogenPoor growthInterferes with the absorption of copper, the leaf curlsOnce every 2 months
ManganeseKnocks out toxic materialsBecomes vulnerable to diseasesThis leads to the yellowing of bambooOnce every 2 weeks
FluorineA defender against pathogensPlant stop growingThe Lower leaves turn brownOnce a month

Too Much Fertilizer 

Overfertilization results in the formation of excess salt and minerals. Such conditions will harm helpful microorganisms in the soil.

It will also alter the pH level of the soil, making the nutrients less available to the plants.

Additionally, too much fertilizer especially nitrogen encourages the sudden growth of plants with undeveloped roots.

Poor root structure will fail to support the entire plant. Because it can’t supply an adequate amount of water and substances to the entire plant. 

All of these will weaken and stress the plant. These results in their stunted growth and defoliation. Wilting, yellowing, and even browning of the leaves, as well as stems, will also occur. 

How to Fix

  • If you notice white crust on the topsoil and corner of the pot then you change the potting soil with a new one.
  • You can reduce the overfertilizing effect by washing off the soil with a lot of distilled water. Pour water on the soil and let it drain out through the bottom, in this way the water will wash away the excess fertilizer and salts.
  • Moderately feed your Lucky Bamboo with fertilizer, every month or so. I recommend using a balanced fertilizer, half of the recommended dose on the package. Little is better than too much.

Incorrect Temperature 

Temperature is another important factor to consider for the optimal growth of Lucky Bamboo. It is for the reason that it affects certain physiological processes. 

Lucky Bamboo prefers a temperature ranging from 65°F to 95°F (18°C to 35°C). And this makes them ideal for environments like homes and workplaces. 

The too high temperature will make the respiration fast. If there are insufficient plant sugar and starch, high temperatures may break down these components as well.

This will continue up until there’s nothing left for the plant. 

Meanwhile, the too low temperature can cause chill damage to the plant. The water inside the leaves cells will freeze, expand, and destroy them internally. 

All of these can result in wilting, yellowing, and even falling off the Lucky Bamboo leaves. 

How to Fix Temperature Issues

  1. Be watchful if your lucky bamboo is somewhere where temperature can drastically change. This includes those spots near windows and doors. While these areas are great for summer, they become drafty in winter. 
  2. Use a device to monitor the temperature and humidity. Nowadays a single device can let you know the temperature and humidity.

Low Humidity Can Cause Yellowing of Lucky Bamboo

Low Humidity Causing Leaf Discoloration
Low Humidity Causing Leaf Discoloration

Another possible reason behind the yellowing of the Lucky Bamboo is low humidity. Humidity is the amount of water vapor present in the air.

When the environment gets drier, rapid transpiration (a way of losing water through leaf pores called stomata) happens.

In this condition, water from leaves tends to escape faster. Failure to immediately replace this water loss will result in the yellowing of your lucky bamboo.

This plant requires a high relative humidity of 50% which is not hard to maintain. Normal household humidity is 40-60%.

How to Fix Low Humidity Problem

Here are the ways to help your lucky bamboo with low humidity:

  • Get a humidifier. Humidifiers are the easiest way to increase the humidity of your room.
  • Another DIY way is to make a gravel tray or pebble tray. Just put some pebbles on a tray and pour water on the tray. Now Keep the plant atop a pebble tray. This works through evaporation from below up.
  • If you have plenty of plants, place them together. This will create a microenvironment with increased humidity. 
  • Mist the plant. Spraying water on the plant will help increase the humidity. But you have to do this frequently since it lasts only for a short time. Be warned that this method can attract fungal growth.

Insect Infestation 

Thrips Are The Most Dangerous Pest

They are very small insects. Small in size, they can only grow to be about 0.4-1.6 mm in length. They are capable of flying. Each wing is a narrow pair. They multiply like crazy. Females are larger and have a wider body.

They settle on a plant on a trunk, leaves, and twigs. They resemble a swarm of small crawling and flying insects that have overrun the area. Adults and larvae suck out the cell sap required by the plant.

They get it from plant tissue. Eventually, the damaged tissue dies and develops small holes in it. In time, the leaves begin to fall off.

Bamboo loses its decorative effect. If not treated in a timely manner, the pests chew out the buds, damaging almost all tissues.

This affects the food production process of the plant as it can not perform photosynthesis due to damaged cells on the leaves. Such conditions will lead to yellowing, curling, and even falling off the bamboo leaves.

Aphids

The pest is resistant to a wide range of chemicals. As a result, dealing with aphids is a major challenge. Aphids build their homes on the undersides of leaves and stems.

In addition, it feeds on the sap of tender shoots and foliage. They produce a sticky liquid in which microbes and bacteria thrive.

If you don’t do something soon, the bamboo will start to die and fungal diseases will start growing on it, which will cause the yellowing of the plant.

How to Combat Insect Infestation

Solve the insect issues with these helpful procedures. 

  • For light infestation, remove the insects by gently wiping them with a rubbing alcohol solution. You can also use alcohol or a mixture of mild soap and lukewarm water. 
  • Treat the plant with mild insecticidal soap. Dilute the soap in a gallon of water or depending on the product label. Apply it through the foliage using a soft cloth or cotton. 
  • Trim the affected parts. This will prevent the further spread of infestation in the remaining areas. Just make sure to disinfect the tool.
  • If the Lucky Bamboo is growing in the water, consider cleaning the vase and pebbles too. Afterward, refill it with distilled water. 
  • Isolate the infested Lucky Bamboo. This will stop pests from spreading to other plants.  

Disease Infected Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow

Lucky Bamboo Root Rot

Leaf rot and slow growth mean that the plant’s root system is dying in other words it has root rot. It’s time to stop watering and repot the bamboo in a new container with more enriched soil.

It is a sign that fungus and bacteria are multiplying when spots appear on the leaves of the plant. The plant must be rinsed under a stream of water and treated with fungicides. Copper-based fungicides are extremely effective against fungi.

For the treatment of fungal diseases. Here are the fungicides I recommend:

Name of The FungicideAmountAmount of Water
Bonide 811 Copper 4E Fungicide1-4 tablespoons (.05-2.0 fl oz)1 gallon of water
Garden Safe Brand Fungicide32 tablespoons (1 fl oz) 1 gallon of water
Southern Ag – Liquid Copper Fungicide3-4 tablespoons1 gallon of water

Lucky Bamboo With Injured Stem Turning Yellow

Like humans, plants feel unwell and sick too if they get an injury. The stem helps to flow nutrients toward the leaves. Bending or breaking of the stem will cause an interruption of supply to the proceeding parts. 

The effect will show in the yellowing, dropping, and weakening of the affected parts. Some instances include intensive plucking of leaves, extreme pruning, and breaking their stems. 

How to Do About Injured Stem

  • Cut the upper part from the broken stem. Unfortunately, grafting won’t work for Lucky Bamboo so there’s no way to reconnect them. But don’t worry, it will give room for new sprouts.
  • Using a shear, trim the stalk just above the node. This will encourage the growth of new offshoots. 
  • Protect the cut stem by sealing it with melted soy wax. This method helps the wound ditch infections. Also, choose an unscented, uncolored, and non-petroleum-based wax.
  • Place the stalk back in its original place again. With sufficient water and a good environment, it will grow lush again.
  • Place the Lucky Bamboo in secure places. This is to prevent them from falling off. If they’re in higher places, kids or pets will not reach and damage them.
  • Make sure that the laces or ribbons around them are not too tight. Too firm wrappings can also cause stem injury. 

Lucky Bamboo Turns Yellow Due to Poor Water Quality

Like most plants, Lucky Bamboo is also finicky when it comes to water quality. They are susceptible to damages caused by unfiltered chemicals in the water. Such chemicals include fluoride and chlorine. 

You will not notice the effects overnight. It is because these chemicals gradually accumulate over time. These toxic substances will inhibit essential plant processes like photosynthesis, respiration, and metabolism. Sooner, the plant will start to wilt, turn yellow, and even brown. 

How to Ensure Water Quality

  • Do not give your plants a tap or city water. It often contains disinfectants like chlorine.
  • If tap water is all you have, then let it sit for 1-2 days. The chlorine will evaporate eventually. 
  • You can Collect rainwater or buy purified water. 
  • Install a water filtration system. It is a useful investment for your plants that will last. 
  • You can also try the DIY approach to distilling water. It will just take time and require effort. 

Stagnant Water

If Lucky Bamboo is growing hydroponically, you should frequently check the water condition. If you leave the plant still for many months, unclean water invites creepy organisms to grow. This includes bacteria, fungus, and mold. They can weaken, reduce defenses, and even give the plant diseases.

Additionally, stagnant water exposed to light is subject to algae. Algae is a problem as it can invade the vase. It will also steal nutrients that are only intended for the Lucky Bamboo. 

All conditions can lead to the distortion and discoloration of the foliage. Yellowing or browning of the leaves can also happen. 

How to Avoid Stagnant Water

  • Change the water at least every two or three weeks. Fresh and clean water will discourage the growth of adverse organisms. 
  • Clean the vase and pebbles as well. Wash them using a mild soap and thoroughly rinse them. 
  • Pick darker ceramic vases. This kind will discourage algae production as it blocks lights. Or just avoid placing the clear container somewhere with excessive light exposure. 
  • If there’s already an algae build-up in the vase, the following ways will help you: 
  1. Gently remove the Lucky bamboo from its initial vase. Rinse its roots in clean water before you transfer them to another container. 
  2. Separate the stones from the polluted water using a colander. Consequently, sprinkle the stones and the vase with salt for some minutes. 
  3. Afterward, brush off the algae until they’re gone. Rinse the pebbles and vase well. 
  4. Bring back the plant to the cleaned base. Carefully position the pebbles and fill filtered water.

How To Prevent Bamboo Turning Yellow?

Now, there is still a chance to revive yellow Lucky Bamboo leaves. Here are the 6 effective ways to prevent and bring back your lucky bamboo to its thriving shape.

1. Choose The Right Container 

While Lucky Bamboo often comes with a container, you have to make sure if it suits them. The best container for Lucky Bamboo has a size twice larger than its root ball.

Too small or large storage will cause root bounding or waterlogging, respectively. If these happen, damaged roots won’t properly deliver nutrients to the plant. 

  • Pick a vase that is tall enough for them. This is to stabilize them at their peak height. 
  • A glass vase is good to pair with decorative stones. But avoid placing it in spots with low light exposure. Such conditions will induce algae production.
  • Include dark-colored containers in your options. You can switch to these if you are quite busy. These are ideal if you cannot always monitor your plants under varying light conditions.
  • If the Lucky Bamboo is soil-based, check if there are holes in the base of the pot. You can also add some by drilling it. This is for good drainage.

2. Proper Watering Practice 

Water your Lucky Bamboo moderately. Allow the top surface of the soil, around two to three inches, to dry before watering again. You can check it by lightly poking your finger deep down or using a moisture meter.

Too dry soil will prevent the supply of essential substances from roots up. It is because there is insufficient water as the means.

On the other hand, overwatering will drown the plant. It can lead to root rot. And rotten roots can no longer uptake nutrients functionally. 

In another article on lucky bamboo root rot, I explain how to save the plant.

3. Ensure Nutrient Supply

To meet sufficient nutrient supply, feed the Lucky Bamboo with fertilizer. Do this at most once a month, depending on the plant’s needs. 

Always go for natural and organic fertilizer. Some examples are fish emulsion, cured manure, and organic compost. It both improves soil quality and the ability to hold water and nutrients. Try to avoid chemical fertilizers, they are highly concentrated that can harm both the plant and soil microorganisms.

4. Ensure Enough Light

Keep the Lucky Bamboo in spots with light that is not directly coming from the sun.

Never leave them under the full sun. Intensive rays will destroy them. Their foliage will discolor as if the sun burnt them.

Meanwhile, do not hide them in dark places. The inadequate amount of light will degrade the food production process of your lucky bamboo. Artificial lights are good alternative sources if there is not enough natural light.

5. Use Proper Potting Mix

Lucky Bamboo requires soil that can hold moisture and nutrients and drains well at the same time. 

Buy or make your standard potting mix. Generally, vermiculite, composts, and builder sand or peat moss make it. Take equal parts of each component and mix them thoroughly. 

Do not use clay soil. Being heavy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s quality soil. 

6. Avoid Stressful Condition

Like humans, plants fret from stressful conditions too. Extreme external conditions like rapidly changing weather and temperature lead to stress on plant physiology.

Strong drafts can snap the lucky bamboo stalk and tear the leaves. Hot days dehydrate the plant quickly. Humid and windy conditions encourage pest infestation. 

You need to be careful not to expose your Lucky Bamboo in these conditions. These can also further lead to nutrient deficiency, poor health, and stunted growth. 

FAQs

Can yellow Lucky Bamboo turn green again? 

If the culprit behind the yellowing issue of the Lucky Bamboo is nutrient deficiency, yes. It can return to its true color once it regains enough essential substances. Otherwise, you cannot bring back their green appearance.

Should I cut yellow leaves off the Lucky Bamboo? 

Unless the reason for the yellowing is nutrient deficiency, cut the affected portions. Trimming off the yellow parts will also stop the unnecessary nutrient supply in them. This method also encourages new growth. 

Can you overwater Lucky Bamboo?

You should not overwater Lucky Bamboo. Excessive amounts of water can rot the roots. Rotten roots will weaken, damage, and even kill the entire plant. 

Final Words

You have now learned the factors to look out for when the Lucky Bamboo turns yellow. You are also well equipped with knowledge on how to approach and fix them. 

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Sunday 18th of September 2022

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