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Why Would Lucky Bamboo Suddenly Turning Yellow

Ask The Expert: Hello,
Please help me. I read your article on lucky house bamboo. I purchase 3 plants (stalks) in May 08 and until recently they were just fine. They did not grow much however I do have some plants growing out of them. I have them in water in a vase, which is how they were in the florist section of my food store. I noticed about a week ago that one of them is turning yellow. Is this a problem? Should I isolate it from the others? Is there anything I can do to help it return to green? Should I take the others out of the water and plant them in soil? These plants are 20 inches in height and the leaves growing from them are about 2 inches so far.

Thanks for answering with information you might have.



  1. Hi Shiyang,

    Yes, you can send your photos to jadams@flowershopnetwork.com and I will take a look for you. I will try to get back with you soon.

  2. Shannon Rafuse says:

    OH gosh, I need help. I have six bamboo plants all sharing the same large Mason Jar. I feed them mineral water as someone I know also does and it’s working very well for her. So I started doing that about 8 months ago and they were thriving all summer long sitting in my windowsill with my window open all year. Now, it’s coming on winter and one stalk in particular is turning yellow. And very fast. I changed the water about 2 weeks ago. I chopped a few of the yellow leaves off and they are doing fine but the stalk is turning yellow fast. I don’t know if I have too much water in, or if I have too many stalks of bamboo sharing the same pot, or if the temperature by my windowsill is too cold for them, I am not sure what to do but I don’t want them to die. My window never gets direct sunlight either. Any help would be great!!! Shannon.

  3. Shannon,

    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. I would suggest moving your lucky bamboo to another location. The water should be kept clean and fresh. Keep your water level consistent; it’s a good idea to make a mark on where you like the water to be, which can be different for everyone. Once you have your water level, make sure you keep an eye on it. Whenever it reaches the halfway mark below your level, fill it back up. As for the container, it should be a 2” diameter greater than your bamboo stalks. Hope this information helps!

  4. My bamboo trunk is turning yellow. Should I worry

  5. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Elina,
    If your bamboo is in an advanced stage of yellowing, it will not come back. If there are any green parts left, you can cut away the yellow parts and start a new stalk. This article will walk you through the steps of starting a new plant https://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/we-are-not-always-lucky-with-lucky-bamboo/

  6. I have three bamboo plants in the same container. One of them started turning yellow at the top. I discovered that the roots had somehow come up out of the water. The other two were in water and they are fine. I cut off the bad part hoping that new leaves would form from one of the nodes. Now the cut part dried up and shrunk and is turning yellow. What can I do? I noticed that the tops of the other stems are sealed off somehow. I purchased them that way. What can I do to start a new plant from the top? Thank you!!!!

  7. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Shelley,
    Starting a new plant is fairly simple. This article will tell you how! https://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/lucky-bamboo-new-plant/

  8. Kate Hand says:

    We have several Buddha Belly bamboo plants where many of the leaves turned yellow. I believe it was because the irrigation was disconnected for about a week. They were planted about 6 months ago and were doing well. Do you know if there is a fertilizer we can use or some other cure?

  9. Jamie Woods says:

    Hey Kate,
    I would try correcting the watering issue first, and then try a general purpose balanced fertilizer, if needed. Just be careful not to over-fertilize them.

  10. I have am arrangement of lucky bamboo tied together. All of a sudden one morning, one of the outer, smaller stalks was bright yellow through and through. There weren’t even any roots at the bottom of this sick stalk. I removed it from the arrangement, replaced the water with boiled (of course cooled) tap water and put it back in the freshly cleaned pot. (It is just water in the pot.) About 2 weeks later, today to be exact, I found another one of the outer, smaller stalks completely bright yellow. This sick stalk too had no roots under it. I removed it from the arrangement. I picked up the arrangement and noticed the entire bottom 3 inches of the whole arrangement are very pale green. Their tops are healthy, but the bottoms are pale green. I am so worried! I will get distilled water tomorrow, but what does this mean? The roots are still a healthy bright orange.

  11. Jamie Woods says:

    Where do you have your bamboo placed? Too much light, too much fertilizer, or chemicals in the water can cause it to turn yellow. If it is not already in indirect light, try moving it. If the tops are still healthy, you can try propagating new ones. Try the distilled water and see if that helps them improve. There may be fluoride in your water that will not boil out.

  12. I buy bamboos every year in the summer and give as mother’s day gifts which I decorate. I have for years put the bamboos on a rack that’s at the window changed water constantly not too little nor too much sunlight these bamboos have done well through the winters and were ready to go for the next year but now my bamboos are turning yellow I’ve thrown away some already, can’t afford lose the rest they are yellow and bamboos aren’t cheap, what to do

  13. I buy bamboos every summer give as mothers days gifts to senior citizens etc. Any left over I give the following year. I keep my bamboos on a rack with other flowers I change the water not too much nor to little sunlight never a problem they grow/ sprout just fine Recently my bamboos have turned yellow I’ ve thrown away several I don’t want to keep throwing away my bamboos what can I do.

  14. Jamie Woods says:

    Are you using distilled water for you bamboo or have you used any fertilizer? The chemicals in water or overfertilization are the most common causes of yellowing bamboo. Too much sun can also cause them to burn and turn yellow, but this usually starts with the leaves. If there are still green healthy sections left on your remaining bamboos, I would try to propagate new plants by cutting the yellow parts off and rooting the healthy sections.

  15. I have had my lucky bamboo plant for over 10years. It was given to me in a small case with water. No soil. No rocks. It is now in a large mason jar. I couldn’t find a tall enough vase for it. About 2 yrs ago i added 2more stalls in with it. I didn’t tie them. The roots have webbed themselves. We moved to this house about 2yrs ago. I noticed the new top leaves to the oldest tallest one were turning yellow it also Has a few leaves where the tips have dried and are turning a light brown. The stalk on the one younger turned yellow and its leaves but this morning i see a new green leaf starting. The 3rd stalk isok. Now about 6months ago i found out the water here is well water and the pipes are always breaking and the bacteria in this water is just unreal. So now i boil all water and put it through a pur filter. Is it possible my plants will pull through this? For a year and a half i have them nasty water not knowing it was. So they are only on 6months of good water. Also which is the best for them, to be in soil or water or water with rocks? I have googled so much and still cannot find the best answer. We moved here from a city and now live in the middle of farm country. There is a def temp difference. I’ve had the oldest plant for so long and i don’t want to lose it. Any advice on anything and everything for its proper care would be so greatly appreciated.

  16. Jamie Woods says:

    The soil vs water debate with lucky bamboo is really a matter of preference, and whether your plant started in water or soil. They don’t tolerate being moved from water to soil, and vice versa, very well. That being said, lucky bamboo is more commonly found in water, and the rocks or other mediums are added for stability. For your water situation, distilled water is optimal, or water that has been left out uncovered for 24 hours to let any chemical evaporate. Boiling the water as you have been and running it through the filter is fine also. For the yellow/browning tips of the leaves, this could be from chemicals in the water or too much sunlight. I have a lucky bamboo in my office, and the tips of my leaves seem to stay that way, however when they began to yellow more severely, I moved it to a location with more indirect sunlight, and it perked back up. On the yellow stalk, this one should be removed. Yellow bamboo usually does not recover. Lucky bamboo also likes a humid environment, so if your new location is very dry, you may try misting it with water daily. Lucky bamboo is very sensitive to its environment, so it may take it a little time to fully adjust to its new location. The best thing for you to do is to continue to care for it the same way you did at your old home.

  17. @Jamie Woods Thank You so much! I really appreciate you replying and helping me. I’m going to do everything you said. Again Thank You so much!