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Need A Fix For Yellow Lucky Bamboo

Yellowing Lucky Bamboo

Yellowing Lucky Bamboo

Ask the Expert: Why my lucky bamboo turned yellow and how to fix
I have my lucky bamboo for a year or so, and i noticed a few months ago that some of its leaves were starting to wither. But now I am really worried, because the stem turned yellow from the bottom up (see picture attached). I would really like to save it, but I don’t know what to do, or where I did wrong so far. Please help.
Thank you Natasha


You are not alone. Yellowing lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is the problem of the week.  A few things can caused lucky bamboo to turn yellow — Too much light or too much fertilizer.  Exposure to fluoride can cause leaf discoloration that may start out looking yellow but eventually turns brown.  When lucky bamboo turns yellow from the bottom up, it is a strong indication of exposure to too much fertilizer.  In a case like this, your best course of action is to change the water and rinse the container. Refill with distilled water and do not add fertilizer.  **If you don’t have distilled water, you will need to use water that has been exposed to the air for 24hrs.  This will allow both the fluoride and chlorine in tapped water to disapate. Then you can use it to fill your lucky bamboo container**   By doing this your lucky bamboo will have a chance (although slim) to recover.  Another option is to cut off the yellow and start over.  Lucky bamboo roots fairly easy.  If you go to my previous blog post We Are Not Always Lucky With Lucky Bamboo, you will see a detailed outline on how to do this with pictures.

Good Luck and please keep me posted.


  1. have had my bamboo plant for about 8 months and it has been doing very well. Unfortunately, I neglected to water it for a few days and now it is turning yellow at the ends and several of the leaves are turning yellow as well. If I just keep watering it and replant it, will it turn back and start growing again, or do I have to trim all the yellow off in order to save it? Every stalk with leaves are yellow where it meets the main stalk, but the tops are all still green. Do you have any suggestions?

  2. Nicole,

    Is your lucky bamboo planted in soil? If your lucky bamboo is potted in soil, you need to get the soil moisture back to a moist state and then leave it alone. Do not continue to water it unless the soil has started to dry out. Over-watering in response to under-watering will cause even more damage. If the stems are not mushy, give the plants a few weeks to recover. However, if the yellowing becomes more severe or the stalks begin to feel mushy, you will need to cut the green tops off and start new plants. Good luck and keep me posted.

  3. My bamboo is in little pebbles, not soil. Once the surfce of the pebbles dries up, I rewater it just to dampen the stones. Should I just water it once a week?

  4. Your lucky bamboo will need a little more water than it is getting. Keep the container filled with water up to the pebbles. You may be able to get by once a week or you might need to water every day. The key is to keep a constant level of water.

  5. I need help… my boyfriend bought me a lucky bamboo plant when we first started dating two years ago. Its very dear and important to me. Usually i only have to water it once every two weeks and its fine. I went out of town for a week and three days and asked my roommate to water it… well…she didnt. i came back and the leaves on the top of the plant are dying. so i carefully removed the dying leaves cleaned the pot it sits in and put it in my window hoping it will recover. Now the leaves are turning yellow at the ends. Im hoping this is because of too much sun exposure and bringing it out of the sun will save it… I would really appreciate some addvice!!!
    BTW its in a pot w/ water with several stalks.
    Thanks so much
    Katie Jo

  6. The intense light and stressed state of the lucky bamboo are probably the problem. Move it away from the light and remove the yellow leaves. You can leave the leaves with slight yellowing, they may recover.

  7. Help – I recently moved the plant from the bedroom to the kitchen (near a window) and have noticed that its starting to turn yellow (see pic). I’ve only ever kept this in water with gravel – Its coming up to 4 years old so would really like to save it.

    Thanks :)

    Attached Image: 1535602_10151937112247408_1747396715_n.jpg

  8. The stalk is yellow but the leaves are green there are three stalks and they are planted in pebbles just one stalk is yellow I got it for my birthday and I want to save it. Can I take the dying stalk out cut the leaves off and plant it, will a new one grow and take its place. Please help I’m not sure what to do.

  9. Kaylee,

    You can take the leaf shoot off the yellow stalk and root it.

  10. I just noticed that the bottoms of my bamboo stalks (the parts that are always covered in rocks) look really light green or almost yellow… Can you tell me how to post a picture so I can get your opinion on them?

    I’ve never had any problems with this plant, it grows like a weed. The stalks are all hard as well, not mushy.

    Thank you!

  11. Leah,

    You can send me pictures at jadams@flowershopnetwork.com.

  12. Hi – I have had the lucky bamboo plant for 4 years now. We moved from CT to NC recently and the only change is probably the water. Other than that, the plant has always been in moderate light. But for the past couple of months, the bottom leaves have started to turn yellow and it seems to be spreading upwards. Upper part of the plant is still healthy green and more and more new leaves seem to be born. Stalk looks green and tough and roots are perfect root brown. It stands in pebbles and water. Can you please help me save the plant?

  13. Chaitanya,

    Are the upper leaves shading the lower leaves? If this is the case, the lower leaves are not receiving enough light. Simply trim off the lower leaves and the plant should be fine.

  14. Fatimah Al-Hajjat says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I’ve had my lucky bamboo for around a year now. I decided to pot it because I saw a video on caring for lucky bamboos and they said to pot it. However, after potting the leaves started to turn yellow. Should I have not potted it? Also, are growth lights harmful? My growth light seemed to help grow my lucky bamboo but should I give it a break from the light?

    thank you for your help.! :)

  15. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Fatimah,
    Normally we don’t suggest moving your lucky bamboo from water to soil and vice versa. It is generally best to leave it in the growing conditions it is accustomed to. Since you have already potted it, it has probably gone into shock. This is normal for plants when you repot them, and they normally begin to perk back up in a week or so after they adjust to the new environment. Lucky bamboo does best under bright, indirect light, so you should be okay with your growth light, as long as you aren’t allowing your bamboo to receive too much light. This article has more information that I think you will find useful! https://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/lucky-bamboo-care-answered/
    Hope this helps!

  16. I just purchased a 3 tier lucky bamboo from Home Depot 2weeks ago. I watered it when I got home as I don’t know if they had watered it in the few days prior. Within a couple days, I noticed one stalk going yellow. Now there are 4 yellow stalks. I haven’t repotted it or anything. It’s with the same fertilizer and pebbles it came with. How can I stop this from happening?! It gets indirect sunlife. I’ve checked the dirt and it’s still damp. Please help me save my plant. :)

  17. Jamie Woods says:

    Are your stalks turning yellow from the bottom or the top? Also, when you watered your lucky bamboo, did you used distilled water? Chlorine and other chemicals in regular tap water can easily damage your lucky bamboo. You should water with distilled water, or tap water that has been left out in the open for 24 hours. However, if your soil is still damp, then you should wait to water. Make sure your lucky bamboo has good drainage as well. You will also need to remove the yellow parts of the plants. This article will walk you through cutting off the damaged parts of your lucky bamboo https://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/we-are-not-always-lucky-with-lucky-bamboo/
    Feel free to send some pictures! Hope this helps.

  18. Hello my lovely bombproof turning yellow and I don’t knle how to save it . I notice getting yello and now moving down . Should I cut it ?

  19. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Negin,
    Yes, if your bamboo is turning yellow, you should cut the yellowing parts off. You will also need to find out what is causing it to yellow. This can be caused by too much light and also too much fertilizer. Since it is turning yellow from the top down, it is probably getting too much light.

  20. Hi There! I am in need of help!
    I started a new position and the first thing I commented on was my co-workers Lucky Bamboo. It is just one stalk. I noticed on Monday the stem is getting Yellow. And literally over a few days the whole little bamboo turned yellow! Almost to the leaves. I did start letting a little more light into the office, so I am wondering if that has something to do with it? Also, I feel like I may have watered it too much, as she only waters it when she remembers. I have been watering it with filtered water or bottled water. I feel HORRIBLE! I almost think I am going to replace it before she notices! HAHA! What can I do to save this little plant? I have pictures if you would like to see them. THANK YOU!!!

  21. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Is the bamboo in soil or water? And is the stem turning yellow from the top or bottom of the bamboo?

  22. Hello! I have had a lucky bamboo plant for two years. It has two stems together that form a heart at the top. The shoots off the top of the heart and the stem have been very healthy until recently. I have had it in direct sunlight for about six months now and it has been fine. Over the past several days, the leaves are starting to lean towards the window drastically, instead of straight up, and they are turning yellow. It’s planted in small pebbles and I keep it watered with filtered water, up to the pebble line. What is causing the yellow and how can I stop it? Do I need to cut off all of the leaves and start over?

  23. Jamie Woods says:

    Lucky bamboo usually like indirect light, so I would try moving it away from the window. To help with the leaning, rotate your plant.

  24. Hello,
    I’ve had my lucky bamboo for six years. It’s potted in just water. I recently went on a two week trip and my husband forgot to water it. Overall, most of the leaves look okay though some have yellowed, but the stalks look shriveled (they’re still green). Is there any chance of saving it?

  25. Jamie Woods says:

    Give it some water and keep an eye on it. If the yellowing gets worse, you will have to cut the yellow parts off.

  26. SUSAN BROCK says:

    I’ve had a lucky bamboo plant for a year now. It started off small but has grown several inches. It’s still in the original pot that seems to have some soil under rocks. I was always careful to keep it out of direct sunlight and the instructions said not to overwater it, just enough to keep it moist but not soggy. Then suddenly one of the stalk turned yellow to brownish. I removed it out of fear that it would affect the other stalks. Then my sister’s cat knocked the plant off the table and it fell out of the pot. She put them back as best she could, luckily none of them came apart. I moved it to my bedroom out of reach of the cat playing with it. But now the leaves are turning yellow and I’m scared it’s going to die from the shock of being knocked out. I also think they need a bigger pot to encourage growing. I also wonder if the water from my sister’s tap water might be not the good water for it. I don’t have any distilled water. Would boiling the tap water get the bad stuff out of the water after cooling it, use that for watering my bamboo?

    I had seen another bamboo plant at a Chinese restaurant that just took my breath away. I examined how it was planted and his is in a huge bowl with just plain water, no soil or rocks. I mean that plant has to be at least 4 feet tall. I’m trying to figure how to insert a picture to show you the stunning beauty of it. The room is a bright room but not in direct sunlight. I see instructions for my plant to not overwater them but his sits in nothing but water and the roots are flowing on the bottom. He wasn’t there for me to ask him on how he got his plant like that. they’re wrapped together with the “ribbons” you use to hold them together and they seem to be stacked short on the outside to longer and longer stalks toward the center. The leaves on this beauty are healthy and a wonderful shade of green.

    Are there different kinds of bamboo that do well with just water and no soil ? I’ll be heartbroken if I can’t save my bamboo

  27. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Susan,
    Lucky Bamboo can be grown in soil or water. It is usually best to leave the plant in the medium it came in. So if your bamboo came in soil, leave it in soil. If it came in water, leave it in water. Lucky Bamboo can grow in only water, but when it is in soil, you want to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. It is probably experiencing shock from being knocked over and moved. Another issue with your bamboo is the use of tap water. The chemicals found in the tap water are harmful to lucky bamboo. You can try boiling the water and letting it cool or you can just it sit out in an open container for 24 hours before using it. Distilled water is best though because your water, whether you boil it or let it sit out, will still contain fluoride and this is harmful to lucky bamboo. The plant you saw at the restaurant is likely fairly old. Lucky bamboo is a slow-growing plant, so it can take a while to reach the height you are seeing or they may have purchased it that size.

  28. PETER RANDRUP says:

    My Lucky Bamboo is in a small vase with only about 1 inch of very loose dirt on the bottom. Essentially it’s sort of like silt and brackish water. It’s 8-10 years old. I only top the water off when the level drops quite low. Not even weekly. My plant only got a few yellow leaves when I transplanted into a big vase. I put it back into the small vase and now it’s very droopy. Hopefully it will perk up when it adjusts .

  29. Katrina R Elsen says:

    What happens when one half of the stalk is turning yellow but the other is green? My stalks are not yellowing from the top or the bottom, they are yellowing the long way (if that makes sense). The stalks are starting to get a bit less firm. I believe it is from the water. I am in China and there are a ton of metals and other bad things in the tap water. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  30. Jamie Woods says:

    If your stalk is yellowing and is also getting soft, then it may be best to go ahead and remove, unless there is a section that hasn’t been affected by yellowing. Then you can probably cut the green part above or below the yellowing section off to create a new stalk. For your water issue, try to buy distilled drinking water if you can. You can also try to boil the tap water, but depending on what is in the water, this may not remove all the metals and chemicals.

  31. Dhrithi Maria says:

    I’ve been having a lucky bamboo for all St a year. From the beginning it used to be healthy and green. But from the past one month, it’s stalks are turning yellow and their leaves are withering. And the stalks are finally dying. I’m not knowing what to do. I’m really upset. I’ve been taking all the possible measures, regularly changing the water, cleaning the container. What am I supposed to do? Please help me.

  32. Jamie Woods says:

    Too much sun or too much fertilizer are usually the cause of yellowing bamboo. Also, in you are not using distilled water, the chemicals in tap water can also cause the bamboo to yellow. Yellow stalks cannot repair themselves, so you will either need to remove them or propagate new stalks if there are still green sections left.

  33. Samuel Clay says:

    I had bamboo plants for a year I bought them of line they have done great in just water and have grown a lot. I watched this video on how I should transplant them in soil if I want them to grow for years and years and read they don’t naturally grow in water so I decided to go to home depot and get moisture control miracle grow soil and transplant them in soil with pebbles on top every since then they are turning yellow one by one should I put them all back in water so they don’t all die? I love my plants and will be heart broken if they die.

  34. Jamie Woods says:

    Hey Samuel,
    There are a couple of things I feel are going on with your bamboo. First of which is your bamboo is experiencing shock from being moved from water to soil. Secondly, and probably the biggest issue, is the soil you used. That soil contains a fertilizer, which is causing your bamboo to be over-fertilized. This will kill the healthy cells, and cause your bamboo to turn yellow. I would move your bamboo back to the water or change soils to a plain soil. Bamboo can grow for years in water and become very large. It is a matter of changing to bigger containers as the bamboo grows. Good luck.

  35. please help :(
    My bamboo wasn’t sealed with wax on the top so it started turning yellow, top to bottom. I sealed it with candle wax. Will it turn green again or should I just cut off the yellow part?

  36. Jamie Woods says:

    You should cut off the yellow part.

  37. I have 3 stalks of bamboo in a small pot with pebbles that I got almost 6months ago. I noticed 2 of the stalks are yellow (as well as the leaves on them) but growing new green leaves on them… Any suggestions on what I can do?

  38. Hello,

    My lucky bamboos’ stalks are turning yellow, and would like to ask for advice on how to save them. They had been healthy until recently. I have had them for almost three years and are important to me.

    Four weeks ago, I left for vacations and was away for 3 weeks. I left the water level above usual so that the water was sufficient. However, I live in Pittsburgh and the temperatures were very low when I was away. The apartment’s HVAC was off while I was away. When I returned last week, the plants had some yellowing in leaves, but the stalks seemed OK. In a matter of a week though, one of the stalks has turned yellow almost completely. A second one is following the same route and is almost all yellow now. The very bottom of the stalks are still green as of today. I don’t notice that the roots changed color. Nevertheless, I detect some odor from the plant.

    Usually, I completely change the water every 1 or 2 weeks. I use filtered water.

    Can they still be saved? What can I do? The yellowing is advancing fast. I would prefer not to cut them if at all possible. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Here are the photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qny4a8qvusudxb8/AAAFHz8iH2TcRyabcCKV_o86a?dl=0



  39. Jamie Woods says:

    It’s possible that your bamboo became too cold while you were away. If there’s an odor, empty your container and wash it with hot, soapy water before refilling it with filtered or distilled water. As far as the yellow bamboo, this cannot be saved. If there is still a healthy green section, you can cut the yellow part off. Otherwise, you will lose those stalks completely.

  40. Jamie Woods says:

    Yellowing indicates that cells in your bamboo have been damaged. You can cut off the green healthy sections, but the yellow most likely will not improve.

  41. I have a lucky bamboo plant with multiple stalks and one of the three stalks is completely yellow. Can I remove the dead stalk and save the other two? If so, how can I do it? It’s in soil and it’s pretty healthy other than the one stalk.

  42. Hello,

    Thank you for your answer. I would like to ask some questions given the current state of the plant. The yellowing extended to the very bottom of two of the stalks (only the sections where the roots are remain green). The top of the third stalk is drying out. I attempted to separate the stalks, but the roots are very entangled between the three. Here is a link with photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tutl76x868k0age/AACF4MRKe8JseJXg0sDziQRWa?dl=0

    My first question is whether I should leave the three stalks together. Separating them might require cutting the roots, but I am not sure where to cut them to not damage the plant. On the other hand, leaving the stalks would result in one full size stalk and two stumps that would end up fully submerged in water.

    My second question is whether the length of the green part of the two stalks is enough to regrow them. There are only two nodes in those green sections but the roots grow out along that length.

    My third question is where to cut the dried out part of the green stalk. As it can be seen from one of the photos, there is some yellowing past the node which has the lower shoot. Should I cut just above that node so the shoot remains with the stalk even though there would be some yellowing at the top, or should I cut at a point where there is zero yellowing even though there would be no shoots in the stalk?

    Finally, can the shoots still be regrown? Do I need to care them differently than the original plant while they grow roots? I have cut off one so far, peeled off the leaves except for the top ones, and put it in water.



  43. Jamie Woods says:

    You can and should remove the yellowed stalk. I would try to work it out of the soil gently and just pull it out. If needed, remove a little of the soil around it.

  44. can one section of sunburned (yellow) stalk turn green again? roots, leaves and all other sections of stalk healthy and fine. sunburned in just one-inch section of mid-stalk. thank you!

  45. Jamie Woods says:

    You might give it a little bit of time to see what it does. If the sections above and below are healthy, it might come back.

  46. Violet Williams says:

    Hello, I have a lucky bamboo plant that I repotted at least 4 maybe even 6 years ago now. It’s been growing Strong, so much so that it sprouted a Full Second stalk. It sits in a front hallway where it’s pretty dark (mostly in shade and reflected sunlight all day) and I’ve been watering it just as you’ve said to here (letting the water set out for many hours at least). The problem is that the new growth on top, the new like branching out leaves and stalks suddenly started to turn thin and PALE almost white and see-through. Then they stated to turn yellow, and now I have at least one newly grown leaf (on the top of the stalk) that has died. What happened? I’m wondering if I need to repot it again, it’s gotten so incredibly Big, and it was looking like it needed repotting. The only other thing I can think is that it had a GREAT and terrible LEAN going on where it was getting nearly vertical again ( when it was young i fixed it with bamboo sticks ;- D, it was almost horizontal it was edging towards the front door/ light so BADLY) and I went and turned the pot around so the plant is currently leaning towards the more dark house/ hallway and not the front door.
    Anyway, I really hope I have given enough info. And if you have any advice, ideas, etc. any kind of help would be greatly appreciated and would definitely save my very LOVED plant. =-) (I really don’t want to repot it outside where it’s 120 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit to at least 10 degrees above zero some years, ( I live in DRY South) but it’s looking like I might have to. =-(! )

  47. Jamie Woods says:

    It sounds like your plant is showing signs of light deficiency, which causes leaves and stems to turn light green to yellow. I would try giving it a little more light and seeing if this helps.

  48. Oh wow! really? Okay, thanks for the help, I had no idea that these things could be light deficient with how much they seem to enjoy the shade.
    I’ll try it and let you know if ti works out, thank you so much. =-)
    By the way, would it be safe to put this kind of bamboo outside in extreme heat? That’s the highest/worst temperatures we get here.

  49. Jamie Woods says:

    I would not put it outside. They’re super sensitive to their environment and don’t like change. I would just place it somewhere with a little more indirect light. It probably won’t take much for it to perk up because they do like their shade :) Good luck!

  50. Thanks for the warning, it’s an extremely good thing I haven’t transplanted it yet. And thanks for the Good Luck, I need it ;-D

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