There are approximately 1000 different bamboo species worldwide, with some towering 100 feet in the air and others growing only a few feet tall.
Then there’s lucky bamboo, also known as Chinese bamboo, which is also known as Dracaena or Dracaena Sanderiana and can be found in most home and garden stores. Lucky Bamboo isn’t real bamboo-like other, although it is still seen as such and grows in much the same way.
Although the leaves and stems resemble true bamboo plants, lucky bamboo is a superb indoor plant that loves water and thrives in high humidity. It is easy to care for, although you can find the leaves are becoming yellow on certain occasions. The question here is, should you be worried, or is it natural for lucky bamboos to change color?
In our guide, you can learn all you need to know about why is my bamboo turning yellow. By the end, you’ll be able to fix any insect infestation and make sure your lucky bamboo has the right growing conditions. Before you know it, you’ll see an end to leaf discoloration and have healthy growth. (Learn Why Are My Pumpkin Leaves Turning Yellow)
Can Yellow Bamboo Turn Green Again?
Because it represents success and prosperity and is reasonably easy to care for, lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is a terrific gift and houseplant.
While this houseplant is simple to care for, the most prevalent symptom of trouble is when lucky bamboo turns yellow.
Why is my lucky bamboo turning yellow?
For a variety of causes, your bamboo houseplant may be turning yellow. For example, if leaves begin to yellow, it may be nothing, yet when other parts of your bamboo turning yellow, it could be severe.
- There is either too much sunlight or too little light. Lucky bamboo prefers bright indirect light in a sunny window while avoiding direct sunlight.
- Fluoride or chlorine poisoning from tap water. Instead, use distilled water or harvested rainwater to prevent yellowing leaves.
- There is either too much or too little water. Maintain damp but not wet soil. Before watering, check for excellent drainage and let the top inch of soil dry.
- If the plant is cultivated entirely in water, ensure the roots are completely submerged.
- There is too much fertilizer. Bamboo needs little fertilizer, and only 2 to 3 times a year. Even if there is nutrient deficiency, too much, and you can see the bamboo stalks turning yellow.
- Leaves can turn yellow because of injury from broken stems, plucked leaves, or vigorous pruning.
- Extreme heat or cold can cause yellow lucky bamboo.
Can You Save Yellowing Bamboo?
Some say this bamboo only grows in soil, but others say it may grow in just water.
Lucky bamboo can grow in water alone, but it can also thrive in organic compost soil if needed. It grows in USDA zones 9–12, and apart from the name, lucky bamboo is not a bamboo species. (Read Peach Tree Leaves Turning Yellow – What To Do)
Here’s how to give the proper plant care for these sensitive plants.
Lucky bamboo thrives in indirect sunlight. So, place your plant near but not immediately in front of a sunny window or in a bright window behind a sheer curtain that filters the light.
Keep lucky bamboo away from windows in a position with lots of indirect light. Too much sun from direct sunlight can burn bamboo leaves; however, bamboo can gradually adapt to low light or gloomy areas.
If your lucky bamboo’s dark green leaves turn pale green or yellow, it needs enough light, so you may need artificial light to support healthy growth.
Don’t overcompensate by burning the plant with too much sunlight if this is the case. You can fix it by moving it to a brighter spot with indirect sunlight.
Remember that results will come with new growth. Damaged leaves can be cut away, and to avoid infecting the plant while pruning, use sterilized sharp trimming shears.
Using rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on a clean paper towel or cloth will sanitize your trimming shears quickly and effectively.
Although lucky bamboo can be cultivated in either water or soil, the choice of growing media affects how much and how often you water your lucky bamboo plant.
If you grow lucky bamboo in water, keep the water level just above the roots.
Exposed roots dry up, and if the water level is too high and covers too much of the green stalk, it may cause lucky bamboo stalks to go squishy.
Also, change the water regularly as lucky bamboo suffers in stagnant water.
You can also clean the container with mild dishwashing soap to remove any algae accumulation due to nutrient deficiency.
Let the top inch dry off if grown in the soil before watering again. Then, stick your finger into the soil to see if it’s wet or dry. Too wet, and you can see yellow stems appearing, as too much water can cause root rot like other plants suffer.
Soil should drain well, and pots should have a good drainage hole. Add equal parts perlite to your potting soil to improve drainage for healthy plants without signs of yellow leaf.
Lucky bamboo is sensitive to chlorinated water and fluoride found in tap water, which causes leaf tips to turn brown. Watering your plant with distilled water or fresh water harvested from rainwater can fix this.
Humidity can also be an issue, to use a pebble tray to catch the water from the pot and maintain humidity around your plant. Keeping up the humidity also helps prevent red spider mites. These are common on bamboo but hate getting wet, so water to improve humidity is one way to stop an infestation.
Lucky bamboo does well in temperatures between 65–95 °F (35 °C), mainly the same temperature in most homes and offices.
But the incorrect temperature can cause unwanted leaves and stem yellowing.
Bamboo is lucky in that it does not require much fertilizer. As a result, you can fertilize it twice a year, or even not at all.
Because many nutrients are removed from bottled water, you may need to fertilize it a couple of times a year.
Because lucky bamboo is prone to overfertilization, you only need a small amount of fertilizer.
If you fertilize your bamboo and notice the stems turning yellow or the leaf tips turning brown, you’ve used too much fertilizer.
Iron is one of the most needed nutrients you can find is deficient as this helps with chlorophyll production, which prevents stunted growth.
If the stalk has a yellow part or is squishy or black, your plant is dying, and there is possible fungal growth lower down. The yellow parts can’t be saved, yet it doesn’t mean the entire plant is lost.
You can also use filtered water to help stop leaves turning yellow, yet you may still have to add liquid fertilizer occasionally.
How To Save My Dying Lucky Bamboo Plant?
If your lucky bamboo leaves have turned yellow and you saw your stalk turn yellow, it is not healthy, and parts of your plant are dying.
The answer to saving your plant is through propagation!
- Yellow top of lucky bamboo stalk around 1/2 inch above a healthy node.
- An offshoot can be clipped and converted into a new lucky bamboo plant.
- Cut off the fading stalk and remove the yellow leaves. Then put the stem in water.
- After around a month, you see new roots from your plant quickly appear. Then plant it in a new pot of soil or water with some roots. Then it will grow into new lucky bamboo plants.
Further tips for saving your bamboo are:
If the lucky bamboo plant’s leaves have turned yellow, it’s probably fading or dead. So, take out your pruning scissors and trim the yellow leaves to foster the growth of new, green leaves.
But it’s not just the yellow leaves that need to be pruned; any thin, overlong, or crooked shoots should be trimmed back to a length of one to two inches from the stalk.
Although bamboo does not require much water, it is a plant, and all plants require some water to survive. However, it’s simple to over-water your plant if you get carried away with the watering and end up with yellowing leaves.
If you’re not sure how much water your plant needs, or if it requires any at all, you can perform a soil test by lightly placing your finger on the soil’s surface and testing if it’s wet or dry. (Read Lemon Tree Leaves Turning Yellow – What To Do)
If the soil feels dry, water the plant; if it is moist, wait until it feels a little dry before watering.
Fertilize your lucky bamboo plant regularly, just as you would water it. You must fertilize your lucky bamboo plant once or twice a year, regardless of whether it is grown in water or soil.
Don’t fertilize your lucky bamboo plant for at least a couple of weeks after you bring it home.
Liquid fertilizer is an excellent choice for a lucky bamboo plant, and it doesn’t take much. For fertilizing your lucky bamboo plant, the best time to do so is in the spring, with a second application in the summer only if you believe the plant requires it.