How to Save Your Lucky Bamboo That is Turning Yellow

Last Updated on November 18, 2022 by Stephanie

The reason that lucky bamboo becomes yellow is typically due to excessive direct sunlight. Lucky bamboo is used to grow under the canopy of its natural habitat in bright indirect light, rather than the full sun. The suns heat can turn the bamboos leaves and stalks turn yellow.

The most common reason for luckiest bamboo turning yellow:

  1. Direct sunlight can burn leaves and stalks , turning them yellow (Lucky bamboo prefers indirect, bright light).
  2. A lot of liquid in the pot (lucky bamboo only needs the roots to be submerged, but the stalks become mushy and yellow when they are inundated with excessive water).
  3. Extreme temperature fluctuations cause both stalks and leaves to change color (Lucky bamboo is extremely susceptible to sudden temperatures changes due to the heating system in the indoors or from cold windows sills).
  4. The water is not changed around the roots frequently sufficient (lucky bamboo can thrive with just water, but the water needs to be changed every two weeks to avoid the bamboo from turning yellow).
  5. Fertilizer that is applied too frequently and in too large a quantity makes the leaves and stalks to yellow. (Lucky bamboo is extremely sensitive to fertilizers and needs significantly less than most household plants).
  6. Fluorine and chloride in tap water may cause fortunate bamboo leaves tips change color from brown and yellow (lucky bamboo is a chemical sensitivity and should be hydrated with bottles of water).

Bamboo that is generally lucky ( Dracaena sanderiana) is yellow due to sunburn or because the conditions that they live in is different from the environment to which they have adapted. Continue reading to find out the reason your bamboos stems and leaves are turning yellow , and what you can do to keep it…

Bamboo Leaves Turning Yellow

The most frequent reason that the leaves of lucky bamboo turn yellow is due to excessive sunlight. Lucky bamboo is naturally cultivated in a canopy of trees and is protected from direct sunlight. It prefers to thrive in indirect, bright sunlight or in partial sunlight. If the bamboo leaves of lucky are exposed to too much direct sunlight, they become yellow and have an appearance of scorched.

Lucky bamboo is found in tropical rainforests of Central Africa where it forms a canopy and is usually shielded by direct sun. The stalks and leaves of lucky bamboo are, therefore, extremely sensitive to suns intense light, which causes the scorched yellow color.

Lucky bamboo needs direct, bright light to ensure optimal growth as well as to avoid the leaves from turning yellow.

While too much sun is the most common reason for the leaves turning brown, several other causes that could be responsible for the leaves turning yellow , for example:

  • Rapid temperature fluctuations (lucky bamboo is a fan of an optimum temperature range of 60degF-75degF (16degC up to 24degC)
  • A lot of fertilizer (which results in the formation of salts, which prevents the roots from absorbing water effectively).
  • Insufficient nutrients (this is especially the case in the case of bamboo that is planted in standing water, without other fertiliser).
  • A lot of water (Lucky bamboo needs the root system to submerge into water, which is usually the lower one inch or less in the bottom. If the stalks are submerged for many inches, this can cause the leaves and stalks to become yellow and begin to rot).
  • Insufficient water. If the bamboos roots arent submerged, the bamboo will not draw in enough water (which would which results in the leaves turning yellow).
  • The water is not changed often enough (the stagnant water that has remained the same for weeks could create conditions for fungal infections and cause the leaves to turn yellow).
  • The lucky bamboo can be watered by using the tapwater (lucky bamboo is especially sensitive to fluoride and chlorine in the water, which could cause the yellowing of leaves).

It is important to note that lucky bamboo isnt always a long-lasting plant, and it may only sustain an ideal condition for two years or so prior to the stalks and leaves turn brown or yellow, but they are more likely to live longer if placed in pots instead of being grown in water.

lucky bamboo black pebbles and orchids

Can Yellow Bamboo Leaves Turn Green Again?

Bamboo leaves that are yellow dont change color when theyve been burned by the sun or have become yellow due to excessive watering. The leaves that are yellow can be removed or cut back to encourage the growth of new green leaves after you have identified the reason for the leaves turning yellow in the initial place.

If the bamboo stalks are turning brown and mushy, they must be removed from the pot to avoid spreading fungal or bacteria to bamboo stalks that are otherwise healthy.

How to Conserve Bamboo by removing the yellow leaves

  • The bamboo should be moved to an area with direct light that is bright and not in the full sun. The indirect, bright light gives the ideal balance of light to allow for an adequate growth rate, but not too excessive light that there is danger of burning delicate leaves.
  • Take off any leaves that are severely scorched yellow. The leaves that are scorched yellow will not get a green look. But you can gently remove these leaves or trim them to the stalk using the help of a pair of pruning tools. This will stimulate the growth of healthier green leaf growth.
  • Maintain a steady temperature 60-75degF (16degC up to 24degC) and, ideally, no lower than 50degF (10degC) in winter. Bamboos with a lucky nature are most preferred range of temperature. While it is able to withstand temperatures that is outside of this range its usually the sudden fluctuations in temperature that causes the stress that makes its leaves to yellow. Find your bamboos lucky bamboo from indoor sources of warmth in winter as it is one of the main reason for sudden temperature fluctuations.
  • Apply 1 drop of balanced fertilizer for houseplants every two weeks in the summer and spring seasons. Lucky bamboo doesnt have an excessive need for nutrients, but the need for fertilizer is greater when the bamboo is situated placed in water instead of in soil. Most of the time, they dont require additional fertilizers if they are planted in soil. The low amount of fertilizer is sufficient to promote growth, but does not cause an accumulation of salts that hinder the absorption of water by the roots, which results in the leafs appearance to change color to yellow.
  • If your bamboo leaves have begun to turn yellow it is usually an indication of low nutrition. Bamboo that is lucky can withstand the water for long periods of time however a small amount of general fertilizer for your houseplants provide the proper amount of nutrients to grow and maintain healthy green leaves.
  • The lucky bamboo stalks should be placed in about 1 inch in the water (as long as the bamboo stalks are submerged) Avoid placing the bamboos that are lucky in a vase that is filled with water. The bamboos roots are tolerant of being submerged in water, however the stalk, which is typically above the ground - cannot like being submerged in water that is deep, that turns the stalks and leaves yellow, usually with an appearance of rotting. If you notice that any stalks appear be decaying, take them out of the water to avoid spreading fungal diseases to healthy stalks.
  • Replace the water if leaves have begun to turn yellow. It is recommended that you change the bamboos lucky water every week to avoid the spread of fungal pathogens, bacteria , and algae that could cause or contribute to the leaves to change color to yellow.
  • Always drink lucky bamboo water using either distillation water, mineral water in bottles as well as tap water that has sat over 24 hours (to let the fluoride and chlorine to evaporate). Lucky bamboo is extremely sensitive to the chemicals present in tap water, which could cause yellow leaves. Fluoride and chloride are able to disappear if tap water is left out for a long time in a bowl to allow you to use lucky bamboo to water it safely.

Bamboo Leaf Tips Turning Yellow

The reason that the tips of bamboo leaves becoming yellow is due to excessive fertilizer. Lucky bamboo requires less than half the amount of fertilizer used by most houseplants. If fertilizer is applied frequently or in a high amount the bamboo leaves tips will turn yellow.

Lucky Bamboo is one of the tough plant that has adjusted to grow in poor fertility in their native habitat.

A general fertilizer for houseplants is suggested for those who have luck growing bamboo in water. However, it is best to apply it every month during the season of growth, and only with two or three drops of fertilizer added to the water.

If youve applied fertilizer to your lawn too frequently and the tips of your leaves are yellow, you should change the water right away and scale down the fertilizer application to once per month only in the Summer and Spring months. Your bamboo will show signs of recovery within the next few weeks.

The fluctuation in temperature, the underwatering process and tap water usage can be a contributing factor to the color of bamboos lucky tips.

In the Winter seasons, temperatures can change dramatically due to heating in the indoors and cold nights, especially when the bamboo leaves are directly in contact with the cold glass of the window sill.

If the temperature is fluctuating significantly outside of the normal range of 60degF-75degF (16degC up to 24degC) then the tips of the leaves begin to change color.

Tap water usually transforms the tips of the leaves of bamboo lucky brown because of its sensitivity to chlorine and fluoride (which is found in tap water in many countries). The tips of the leaves can change to a yellow hue before changing brown.

To protect the bamboo that has yellow leaf tips Replace the water with the distilled or bottled water, and reduce the amount of fertilizers, applying a drop each month while the bamboo grows.

Change the water as frequently as you can every month to make sure that fertilizer doesnt accumulate and cause issues.

Be sure to keep the bamboo clear of any heat sources, and keep it out of the way of forced air, and keep it away from any window sills so that the temperature remains constant.

Lucky Bamboo Stalks Yellow

The main reason that causes the bamboos stalks to turn yellow that theyre in excess water. Lucky bamboo needs about 1 inch of water to ensure your roots remain submerged. If a few inches of the bamboo stalk are submerged, the bamboo begins to decay and turns yellow.

It is usually the case when bamboo stalks are placed in the vase and filled with water. Bamboo roots must be submerged, but the stalk (that is usually above the ground in its natural habitat) is not able to stand in water.

A lot of water can create conditions for fungal and rotting diseases, which can cause the stalk to turn brown and leaves often becoming yellow and mushy.

But underwatering can cause lucky bamboo to start becoming yellow. It is essential that the bamboos roots are not submerged under water (if youre growing lucky bamboo only in water) and it is essential for lucky bamboo to be watered each week, if its planted in soil.

When the stalks are higher than the water line , this is usually the reason why the stalks become yellow.

Lucky bamboo stalks are susceptible to excessive sun like the leaves are. This can cause a yellowing appearance.

Other elements that cause the stalks to turn yellow include:

  • Temperatures that change abruptly.
  • Too too much fertilizer.
  • The bamboos water is not changed frequently enough.
  • The chemicals in the tap water (bamboo is highly sensitive to fluoride and chlorine).

What can you do can I Save Lucky Bamboo with Yellow Stalks

  • Make sure to grow lucky bamboo within 1 inch water, and do not overfill the vase. So long as the roots are barely covered, your bamboo has enough water, but dont increase the amount of water above this point in order to prevent the conditions that can cause the development of rot (which makes the stalk yellow and soft).
  • If you notice any yellow stalks feel mushy, take them out of the water since these stalks are decaying and unlikely to be able to heal. The removal of the stalks stops spreading of the fungus as well as bacteria. If all of your bamboos lucky stalks are yellow and mushy, the only way to keep the bamboo alive is to allow the stalk to reproduce from any remaining healthy growth from which you can develop a healthy new plant. The process of propagating lucky bamboo is simple. Check out this YouTube video to learn the best way to grow lucky bamboo
  • Make sure the bamboo is located in indirect, bright light rather than full sun. The stalk and leaves can be sensitive to direct sunlight, therefore it is essential to locate an area with a bright light which is not surrounded by the full sun. If the stalk and leaves appear slightly yellowish the bamboo will be able to survive when it is relocated to a more favorable light environment. While the leaves that are scorched can be cut down or lightly removed to encourage an increase in growth, the bamboo stalk usually doesnt restore the appearance of green. The most effective option is to propagate the stalk using healthy cuttings to create new bamboo stalks.
  • Reduce the amount of fertilizers. Lucky bamboo is extremely sensitive to fertilizers, so you should make sure to only apply a drop of two or all-purpose household plant liquid fertilizer once per month during the growing season to ensure the proper level of nutrition. If youve been applying fertilizer frequently or in excessive amounts, switch the water or the pot soil, and dont apply any fertilizer at all until the next Spring. Bamboo that is lucky can grow back when you reduce the fertilizer application speedily when the stalks begin to yellow, but should they not appear to be recovering, the most effective option is to grow this lucky bamboo by cutting off any healthy growth, if feasible.
  • Maintain the temperature steady at 60degF-75degF (16degC up to 24degC). Be sure to keep lucky bamboo out of drafts, and in particular not placed on a window sill since the glass could become very cold in winter, even though indoor temperatures are generally warm. Be careful not to place lucky bamboo too close to heating sources in the indoor or air flow from forced air conditioning or heating.
  • Water that is bottled or distilled water, or tap water that has been kept out for 24 hours prior watering. This ensures that the water doesnt have an excessive amount of chlorine or fluoride which could cause yellowing of the stalks. Replace the water every two weeks.

(Read my article on the best way to revive the dying bamboo).

Key Takeaways:

  • The reason why the leaves turn yellow and stalks on the lucky bamboo is typically because of excessive direct sunlight. Lucky bamboo have designed to thrive in indirect, bright light, not full sun. If the bamboo that is lucky is exposed to too much sun the stalks and leaves may become scorched and yellow.
  • The reason that bamboo stems of lucky bamboo change color is usually due to the fact that theyre submerged in too much water. Lucky bamboo should only be planted in 1-3 inches of water, which means it is only submerged. If a bamboo plant is submerged for a large amount of water, it will turn yellow and mushy because of the fungus.
  • The stalks and leaves of bamboo that are lucky usually do not change color after having turned yellow. The yellow leaves can be cut off to encourage the growth of green leaves while yellow stalks must be taken out of the plant if theyre yellow and mushy.
  • Lucky bamboo leaves tips turn yellow, usually due to fertilizer that is applied too frequently or in excessive amounts. Lucky bamboo is a lower need for nutrients and is extremely sensitive to excessive fertilizers, which causes the tips of its leaves turning yellow. The fluctuating temperature and the underwatering process can cause the tips of the leaves becoming yellow.
  • To save bamboo that has yellow leaves, place it in bright, indirect light, with temperatures ranging from 60-75 degrees F. Change the water, then gently remove the yellow leaves in order to encourage the development in healthy, green leaves. Eventually, the bamboo will recover.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)