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Why Is Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow?

Gary asks:

We have a 3 stalk Lucy Banboo plant and it was doing well but in the last two weeks we have ovserved that the biggest and tallest one has start to trun yellow. The leaves are all green and healthly looking. We live outside of Bethlehem PA. The temperature is about 60 degrees. The plant gets indirect day light but it is not in a window.We use only spring water and we water it twice a month.

Is this condition something that I should be worry about.

Jamie’s Reply: Although you use spring water, it may still be heavy in salts. Too much floride, chlorine, or salts can cause the leaves to yellow. Try using distilled water. I would not worry if only one or two leaves at the bottom are turning yellow. Flower Shop Network has an informative newsletter called Caring for Lucky Bamboo. Hope this helps.

Gary responds:

Thank you for getting back to me but the leaves are not the part that is turning yellow but 1 out of tree stalks are turning yellow.

I printed out the newsletter and will read through it. Should I be worried about the stalk turning yellow?

Jamie’s Reply: I am a little concerned. You may have some type of pathogen — insect or fungal. Check for scale or spider mites both are insects. Scale will be a cottony substance or a shell like attachment on the stem or at the base of the leaves. You will need a magnifying glass to see the spider mites — they will be actively crawling around. As for fungal, check for soft tissue any where on the stem especially at the water line. One other thing have you fertilized your lucky bamboo? I will research a little further to see if I can come up with any other possibilities.

Gary Responds:

Thank you for getting back to me.

I will get a magnifying glass and check for spider mites and fungal. No we have not fertilized the luck bamboo but we will. Can you please let us know what and how we should do this.

Jamie’s Reply : Use any standard house plant food at about one-tenth the recommended dilution rate each time you change the water. Make sure you are using a water soluble fertilizer.


  1. So glad it’s looking better, Dan! You can trim off the fully yellow leaves and stems; this may stimulate more new growth. It is unlikely the parts that have turned fully yellow will return to normal. Hope this helps.

  2. So glad I found this site! I have 3 stalks of lucky bamboo that I keep in separate vases, all on my windowsill. I live in a basement apt so the low-lighting and temp are perfect for these plants and they’ve all been doing very well in the few months I’ve had them. However, in what seemed like a very sudden onset, the smallest stalk looked to be infected with some type of mold? Some bumps are tiny and black, some are tan with curled edges and some are hard tan bumps. The leaves are completely yellowed as is the stalk and the water looks like there’s debris in it…I’m pretty sure it’s dying and can’t be saved but I’m wondering what happened? The other bamboos are doing just fine…is it the tap water I used? I’m actually concerned about my indoor air quality, which is one of the reasons I got these plants, so I’m hoping it’s not an indicator of something more serious going on…

    Attached Image: photo.jpg

  3. Here’s a closeup

    Attached Image: photo.png

  4. A pic of the roots–slimy at the base

    Attached Image: photo-1.jpg

  5. And one last one of the leaves. Thanks for any input!

    Attached Image: photo-2.jpg

  6. Lisa,

    It is a little difficult to tell from the photos. You could have either an insect problem (scale) or a fungal problem (Colletotrichum dracaenophilum). Either way the stalk is going to die. I would discard the infected stalk. Then watch the other stalks – if you see signs of infestation, you will need to determine whether it is the insect or the fungus.

    The best coarse of action with fungus is to discard the infected stalk and thoroughly clean the container.

    With scale, you can remove the insect and use an insecticide safe for Lucky bamboo to get rid of the infestation.

    To see if it is scale versus fungus, you will need a magnifying glass and tweezers. Gently detach the growth from the stalk and use the magnifying glass to identify body parts such as legs or a mouth. If these are present you have scale.

    I am attaching picture to show you which I think is fungal and which could be scale.

    Attached Image: lucky bamboo fungus colletotrichum dracaenophilum.png

  7. This shows what I believe could be scale.

    Attached Image: lucky bamboo scale Dactylopius coccus.png

  8. Thank you Jamie! How interesting, it looks like it could be both…I discarded the infected one last night and will keep my eye on the other ones. Thanks again for your response, this is a great site!!

  9. Jennnifer says:

    I just purchased bamboo stalks for favors for my wedding. The tops of most of them are black. I attached a picture. I emailed the distributor and they said the black tops can be from the stress of shipping the plants but I can’t find any source that says the same thing. Please let me know what this is, thank you!

    Attached Image: bamboo.jpg

  10. Jennifer,

    I beg to differ with the distributor. This is not a result of shipping stress, but rather a natural reaction to the cutting of the stalk. Every time the stalk is cut a wound is created and susceptible to disease or other pathogens. Most plants will scab over these cut areas and be fine.

    Normally when I make a cut on a plant stalk, I cut it off at a 45 degree angle. With this type of cut the plant seems to heal better and doesn’t usually cause a die-back situation. Straight line cuts seems to be more susceptible to issues. What you need to determine in this case is whether the cut area is healing or rotting. If the black area is firm and not progressing any further, you are good to go. However, if the black area is soft and mushy, you have a rooting issue that can kill the stalk. Most of the time you will need to re-cut the stalk to get rid of the rooting or decaying area. Good luck and please let me know if I can help with anything else.

  11. Hi, I’ve had my 3 stalk bamboo for 5 years and all of a sudden I noticed one of the stems is dying (turning yellow). I’ve also notices weird bumps around the base of the leafs. I was reading your earlier replies and it looks like scale as mentioned above, however, it looks more like it’s trying to spout hundreds of new stems. I hope its not a bug infection, I keep it in my room :(

    Attached Image: IMG_9264.jpg

  12. Elle,

    I am sorry to say it looks as if you have a good case of scale. You can pick the insects off or use an insecticide on them.

  13. I’ve have three bamboo arrangements one is four that I’ve had for a few years and the other two double arrangements are just recent from valentines day and my older with four stalks has orange and red spots on certain shoots from my stalk I water it with bottled water that usually sits out for two nights before I water them they have pebbles for soil and never fertilize them… They sit in 1-2 inches of water everyday. I’m not even sure what it has or if it’s just trying to grow some new roots since I transplanted them. As you can see one of them even started a new shoot since I moved them into the new container.
    I love my bamboo trees and want them to stay alive. A lot a good feeling comes from them.

    Attached Image: image.jpg

  14. I have a pic of the arrangement I had set up for them

    Attached Image: image.jpg

  15. Hi! I have a 4-stalk bamboo plant that I have had for 2 years, and was doing very well. Recently, and very quickly one stalk turned yellow (started at leaves) and then the base. Removed it last week and others stalks seem fine so far. Should I remove the healthy stalk from the vessel and clean the rocks etc anyway? Also, I had transplanted the plant into a handmade ceramic vessel from the generic one I bought it on, could that be causing a problem? The ceramic vessel is glazed/sealed.
    Thank you

  16. Maura,

    Moving the plant to a new container has the potential to cause temporary problems. Plants can be finicky and changing their environment can cause them some problems. If the other stalks are find, I’d let things be for while and keep a close eye. If you see another stalk begin to yellow, take them out and do a thorough cleaning. Otherwise, cleaning the rocks and container could cause even more distress. Thanks!


  17. hello ,
    i think I have a fungal issue on my lucky bamboo , please assist me on how to treat fungus ?
    attached are the pictures .

    Attached Image: 20140917_195024.jpg

  18. Yafa,

    Unfortunately there is no cure or treatment for this type of fungus. The only course of action is to remove the infected stalk and dispose of it. If you have other stalks that are no effected, you will need to clean the container and change the water.

  19. Hi..all leaves of my bamboo plant have become yellow at the tips. Some stems are yellow. I dont want to loose my plant..i have put that in water nd change water after every week. Please please help me out..i love my bamboo :-(

  20. Priyanka,

    If you are using distilled water already, you may need to look at your lighting conditions. Lucky bamboo prefer bright, indirect light. If it is getting direct sunlight, it can yellow. Conversely, if it isn’t getting enough light, it can also turn yellow. Make sure it’s not directly in the sun, but still getting bright light.


  21. Help! I have a bamboo problem which I don’t see described exactly. One of my bamboo plants has stalks turning yellow and looking dry, even though the leaves and shoots are green. Some of the roots were slimy, and the bottom of the stalk black. But I don’t see signs of bugs or fungus. But there is a strange black “sore” on the stalk bottoms. I have it in a painted pot, with rocks, and use filtered water.

    note: I did have this one on a windowsill, and with the winter sun angle, I think it was getting too much exposure. I moved it 2 weeks ago, but I haven’t seen a marked improvement since.

    Attached Image: IMG_0640.jpg

  22. Dana,

    Your plant seems to have a fungal issue. I normally get rid of the stalks that have fungal issues. You could try to take a tip cutting and root a new stalk.

  23. I have a small bamboo plant with three stalks. The middle one is not just straight like the others but it curves at the top. Accidentally while moving the plant, a piece of the top of the curved one broke off, the part where the leaves were blooming and nothing as grown back and ever since the stalk has turned yellow and dry at the end. Is it dying because that piece broke off or could it be the water? The other two stalks look healthy still.


  24. Maria,

    Take a knife and cut off the yellow part, then mist the cut area for a few days until it callous over. In a week or two you should see new growth.

  25. Jennifer says:

    I received this lucky bamboo as a Valentine’s Day gift my boyfriend ordered from ProFlowers.
    I originally had them in rocks with Poland Springs water. Then they started to wrinkle and turn yellow. I research that wrinkling is caused by lack of water. So I moved them to a vase with water for the next 3-4 days. Any other suggestions or tips to keep these alive? I so see sprouts on one of them so there is hope :)

    Attached Image: image2.jpg

  26. Jennifer,

    The stalks that are already yellow will most likely continue to deteriorate. If the bottom of the stalks still have green, you can top them and the plant will form new growth. I also recommend on the green stalk cutting off the swiveled section and those stalks should be just fine.

  27. I purchased a lucky bamboo plant about three months ago and it was doing fine for a while but looking at it now it’s starting to turn yellow and wrinkled! I placed it into a bigger vase, cleaned the pebbles and gave it fresh spring water as well as cut the yellow leafs. But it’s still looking pretty much the same as it did before! Any suggestions?

    Attached Image: image.jpg

  28. Julie,

    You may have a fungal issue. You will need to remove any part of the plant that is turning yellow and wrinkling. You can use the green parts to start new plants.

  29. Hi wonder if u could help me I’ve had my bamboo for a few yrs now and over the last few wks its started to turn yellow on part of the stem I have a couple of green leaves the rest of the bamboo is green just part in the middle is yellow.

  30. I’ve had my lucky bamboo for years now and it started growing to tall so I recently for the first time took them all out, made some cuttings and cleaned the container then placed them back in. Not long after, (maybe a few weeks) the middle stalk’s leaves started turning yellow followed by the tip of the stalk. The other two appear to be fine and I don’t know what’s wrong with the middle one as I can’t see any source of rotting or fungi issues ect. Should I just chop off the yellowing part and put it in a seperate container just in case? Thanks.

  31. Katie,
    Any time a stalk of bamboo is cut, you need to seal the wound with wax to prevent bacterial infection. If you didn’t do that, cut the yellow and melt some candle wax onto the wound until it is completely covered. When placed back in water or soil, the stalk will grow new shoots in a month or so. However, if you did do that, it could be a container issue or a water issue.

  32. Clare,
    There are many reasons why it could be yellowing. If the plant is exposed to too much sun even, if it is kept in cold temperatures, or if it is infected. Try checking the first two reasons and see if that changes anything.

  33. I just bought my lucky bamboo a couple days ago from Home Depot. It’s still small and the leaves look healthy, but when I replanted in water and rocks (it came in a tiny pot of dirt) I noticed that the stalks down at the bottom are turning yellow where it was in the soil. I’m not sure if it’s from the conditions it was in sitting inside Home Depot or if there is something wrong with it. The roots are healthy and so are the leaves but its the stalks that concern me. Is there something wrong with it or should I just wait for it to catch itself and recover? (I replanted it with distilled water too)

  34. Char,
    Since it was in soil, the plant is now reacting to the change. You can give it time to acclimate, but it is better to plant it in soil than in water.

  35. Nick olsson says:

    Hi, I have had my bamboo for a about 5 months and the top of the tallest stem has started to turn yellow and I don’t know what to do. There is no infection or anything, no slime or fungus, I also get tap water and let it sit for 24 hours for the chlorine to dissolve I guess. Could I just cut it off right under where the yellow ends?

  36. Nick,

    Definitely cut the yellow off. Then make sure that the container is not too close to a light source which can burn the leaves. Letting the water sit for 24hours is a great practice. How often are you changing the water? Changing it too often can also be the problem. I normally only change my water when it starts to look cloudy. So check out the lighting, cut the yellow off and wait and see if the yellow occurs again. If it does, we can look for others causes.

  37. Vaishali bhosale says:

    My lucky bamboo plant having black spots on stem and its dying. Please tell me how to save other stalks from this disease.

  38. Vaishali bhosale says:

    My bamboo plant having black spots on one of the stock and its become full yellow and wrinkled. Please tell me how can I save other stalks from such disease.

  39. Vaishali,

    The black are most likely caused by a fungus. Remove the infected stalks and clean the container with luke warm water and soap. rinse the container thoroughly and then fill the container with distilled water and return the healthy stalk to the container.

  40. Hi! I just brought a lucky bamboo plant into my office on Friday after receiving it as a party favor on Thursday evening. I used filtered water on Friday night before I left to go home. Coming back into the office this morning, I noticed the bottom stalk of one plant is yellowing, and then the other is yellowing on top. Any tips on how I can fix this? The water appears to be gone – should I add more? Thanks! I have some photos but not sure how to attach them to this comment…

  41. Dee,

    It is very important to keep the water level above the roots. So add enough water to keep the water level above the roots. Also email me the pictures so I can see what might be happening. jadams@flowershopnetwork.com

  42. Hello i bought a lucky Bamboo in December last year and it was growing really good until i was taking care of my other plants and put some rooting powder on the stalk where it was cut…in hopes that it might send out another shoot. However it started yellowing the stalk from the cut side. (how do i share my picture?)
    Please advise if you think i should cut it and try to save the one shoot closer to the green part left of is there a way i could bring it back to green without cutting them? and is it better to grow the bamboo in soil or water?

  43. Shelly,

    You can email the pictures to jadams@flowershopnetwork.com. I need to see the picture to determine how much stress the plant is in before I can determine what you should do. To answer your question about what to grow it in neither is better than the other. However, you want to keep it in the environment in which it was started. For example if grown in water always grow it in water. New plants can be started in either soil or water. Hope this information helps.

  44. I have had my bamboo plants for 4 years. I received as a gift when it was a baby and grew so fast. So I moved the bamboo plants to a bigger vase and saw that it started turning yellow and spread throughout other stalks. Please help me.

  45. Hello, I sent the pictures as requested. I also wanted to find out if you cut the stalk do you put anything on it after or just leave as is to the open environment?

  46. Kat,

    Did the stalk end up being in more water than before? That could be the problem. Did you move the plant? A change in location could have caused the plant to become stressed. Either way, new to determine if it is a slight stress problem or something else is going on. If the color is yellow but the stem is still firm I wouldn’t worried to much. However, if the stem is becoming soft or shriveled then you might need to start new plants. Hope this information helps.

  47. Shelly,

    I didn’t receive your images. I emailed you, if you can attach the image to the reply of that email and sent it back to me I will try to help.

  48. Ajosh Cherian says:


    I am having a problem in the last week where I have noticed that the largest stem having gone yellow…. and now the leaves of that… Today I noticed even the other stalks are turning pale. Can someone help me quick?

  49. Ajosh,

    Yellowing in lucky bamboo happens when stem cells to burst, causing irreparable damage. This can be caused by: over fertilization or chlorine and other chemicals in the water or too much light.
    If your bamboo shoot is still slightly green for now, try changing the water to distilled and making sure it is getting proper lighting. If the plant’s health does not improve in about a week, you will need to remove the shoot. (If it gets worse, go ahead and cut it.)
    Removing the shoot: When you cut your bamboo (if necessary) you will cut the lucky bamboo about an inch from the next healthy node. (A node is the brown ring around the stalk) In this case, it would be the node close to the bottom. Your plant may be a little short, but it will make it! Refer to: http://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/we-are-not-always-lucky-with-lucky-bamboo/ for better examples of cutting off yellow stalks.

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