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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.

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  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.

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