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11 Reasons Lucky Bamboo Turns Yellow & How to Fix Them

Lucky bamboo plants may turn yellow for various reasons, including disease, nutrient deficiency, pests, environmental stress, and age. One disease that can cause yellowing in lucky bamboo plants is anthracnose, caused by the Colletotrichum dracaenophilum fungus.

Symptoms of this disease include sunken yellow leaves that eventually develop irregular brown necrotic lesions, leading to the dieback of the stems and leaves. Another fungus, Fusarium, can also cause yellowing and wilting of the leaves, stem, and root rot.

In addition, bacterial blight may affect the stem and cause leaf chlorosis, and lucky bamboo plants may also turn yellow if they absorb benzene from contaminated air and water.

To prevent yellowing and other issues, it is crucial to properly care for lucky bamboo plants and address any problems as soon as they are noticed.

1- Anthracnose Disease

Anthracnose is a fungal disease caused by the fungus Colletotrichum dracaenophilum that affects lucky bamboo and other dracaena plants. One of the symptoms of this disease is the development of yellowing stems on the plant.

Sunken yellow spots often accompany the yellowing on the leaves, eventually becoming irregular brown necrotic lesions.

As the disease progresses, the infected stems and leaves may become necrotic and die off, leading to dieback of the plant.

This can weaken the plant and make it more susceptible to further infections. In severe cases, the entire plant may die.

Therefore, it is important to promptly address the issue of anthracnose to prevent the spread of the disease and protect the health of the lucky bamboo plant.

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

2- Lucky bamboo Dieback Cause Yellowing of Stems and Leaves

There are several possible causes of stem and leaf dieback in lucky bamboo plants. These can include:

Overwatering: Too much water can lead to root rot planted in the soil, killing the plant’s roots and causing the stem and leaves to die.

Underwatering: Without sufficient water, the plant may be unable to transport nutrients and water to its stems and leaves, leading to death.

Nutrient deficiency: A lack of essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium can cause the plant to become stressed and may lead to dieback.

Pests or diseases: Infestations of pests such as aphids or mites, or fungal or bacterial infections, can weaken the plant and cause dieback.

Environmental stress: Exposure to extreme temperatures, low light levels, or other environmental stressors can cause the plant to become stressed and may result in dieback.

Age: Over time, lucky bamboo plants may naturally experience dieback as they age.

3- Stem Rot and Wilt

Stem rot and wilt are diseases that can affect lucky bamboo plants and cause yellowing of the leaves. The condition is caused by the fungus Fusarium solani, which infects the plant through wounds or natural openings in the stem.

Once inside the plant, the fungus begins to grow and spread, causing the plant’s stem to rot and weaken. This can lead to the yellowing and wilting of the leaves, as the plant can no longer transport water and nutrients to them effectively.

In addition, other symptoms, such as splitting the stem, browning or blackening of the stem, and a musty smell, may accompany the yellowing.

Therefore, it is important to promptly address stem rot and wilt to prevent the spread of the disease and protect the health of the lucky bamboo plant.

4- Bacterial Blight and Leaf Chlorosis

Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow Due to a: Bacterial Blight and b: Leaf Chlorosis (Source)

Bacterial leaf blight, caused by the bacterium Burkholderia cepacia, can affect lucky bamboo plants and cause severe symptoms such as leaf chlorosis (yellowing) and crumpling of the stems and leaves.

The affected leaves may also become necrotic and die off, leading to the dieback of the plant. To treat this disease, apply a combination of copper and mancozeb-containing fungicides.

The frequency of application depends on the specific product used and the severity of the infection.

Ensure to carefully follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and use protective equipment when handling the fungicides.

If the infection is caught early and treated promptly, lucky bamboo plants can recover from bacterial leaf blight. However, severe infections may be challenging to treat and may result in the death of the plant.

Therefore, regularly check for signs of bacterial leaf blight and take appropriate action to prevent or control the disease to protect your plant’s health.

5- Bacterial Leaf Spot Disease

Have you ever noticed yellowing and weird spots on your lucky bamboo leaves? Don’t panic; it might just be a bacterial leaf spot! But unfortunately, this pesky disease can also cause stem cankers and lesions on the leaves, ranging in size from a few millimeters to a few inches. Yikes!

But how does this disease spread, you ask? It can be transmitted through contaminated water, soil, or infected pruning tools or other plants. Talk about a party crasher!

The bacteria behind this leafy disaster love warm and humid conditions, so keeping an eye on the temperature (between 65ºF and 90ºF is optimal).

And above 60% humidity levels is ideal for lucky bamboo to thrive. In addition, proper care, such as using clean water and promoting good air circulation, can help prevent a bacterial leaf spot outbreak. So don’t let this disease ruin your lucky bamboo’s luck!

6- Absorbing benzene from contaminated air and water Cause the Yellowing of Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo plants (Dracaena sanderiana) can become yellow when exposed to benzene, a chemical found in gasoline. Benzene is harmful to plants and can cause the leaves to turn yellow and the plant to become stunted or die.

To protect your lucky bamboo plant from exposure to benzene, it is essential to use clean air and water and to remove the plant from any contaminated environment.

If your lucky bamboo plant has been exposed to benzene, you can try decontaminating it by rinsing it with clean water and providing it with fresh soil and water.

7- 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 dimly lit area. Bamboo can’t handle direct sunlight very well.

Solution

8- Nutrient Deficiency 

Nutrient deficiency is evident in their leaves, which turn yellow, wilting, and drooping. You may slow and stunt growth.

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

While micronutrients are substances needed in smaller portions. Combining 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 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

Add some liquid fertilizer if you are growing a Lucky Bamboo in water. 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 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, and 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
MolybdenumIt helps 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

9- 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.

Rapid transpiration (a way of losing water through leaf pores called stomata) happens when the environment gets drier.

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. The average 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 must do this frequently since it lasts only for a short time. Be warned that this method can attract fungal growth.

10- Insect Infestation 

Thrips Are The Most Dangerous Pest

They are tiny 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 wider bodies.

They settle on a plant with 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 promptly, the pests chew out the buds, damaging almost all tissues.

This affects the plant’s food production process 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 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. Depending on the product label, dilute the soap in a gallon of water. 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 grows in the water, consider cleaning the vase and pebbles. Afterward, refill it with distilled water. 
  • Isolate the infested Lucky Bamboo. This will stop pests from spreading to other plants.  

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

11- Lucky Bamboo With Injured Stem Turning Yellow

Like humans, plants feel unwell and sick if they get injured. 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 affected parts’ yellowing, dropping, and weakening. 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. Kids or pets will not reach and damage them if they’re in higher places.
  • Make sure that the laces or ribbons around them are not too tight. Too tight wrappings can also cause stem injury. 

Can Yellow Lucky Bamboo Turn Green Again? 

Indoor potted lucky bamboo turning yellow.

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.

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