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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. Jamie Davis says:

    I have a lucky bamboo that I purchased from Lowe’s it has been tied together to form a certain shape. I water it about once every 2 weeks and place it in indirect sunlight. A couple days ago, I noticed some yellow leaves and now this morning the whole stalk is yellow. I have read the other posts and realize I proabably water it too much using tap water, and will use bottled from now on. My question is, should i untie and remove the yellow stalk? thanks in advance

  2. Hi Jamie,

    When lucky bamboo is in an advanced state of yellowing it will not come back. So it is best to cut the yellow parts off. Also, if at any time the stalks become soft or mushy it is too late.
    If there is any green part to the stalk then there is the possibility of starting a new plant. Here is a link to an article titled, “We Are Not Always Lucky With Lucky Bamboo” that talks about how to start a new plant. https://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/we-are-not-always-lucky-with-lucky-bamboo/ Hope this helps!

  3. Hi,
    I bought a lucky bamboo couple months ago at the store and before it was just fine. It has both soil and rocks in it. I put in close to the window with the cover. When its leaves started to turn yellow, I decided to cut a bit off from the leaves and changed the water, soil, and even washed the rocks. I even tried to change to water from the bottle instead of the sink water and redone the steps of cleansing. Yet, Some how it didn’t help its leaves to turn back into green. I decided to wait for a bit and even put it away from the window and light. I noticed that the stalk is turning yellow as well. I just cut off the yellow part of the stalk and still let it away from light and sun. Was I doing this right? If cutting off the stalk doesn’t help my Lucky Bamboo grows or turn back to green, what else can I do besides getting a new one?

  4. Tiffany,

    You can always start a new plant. This post might help . The basic principle is to cut off a green healthy section of the bamboo, dip the cut end in rooting hormone and then place the cut end in the medium of your choice (water or soil). If you want to grow yours in water the new piece will need to be rooted in water. If you want to grow it in soil it needs to be rooted in soil. Hope this helps!

  5. Hello,
    I have a bamboo plant that in April i will have had it for 2 years it sits on my desk at work under florescent lights all day, it has just now started to turn yellow the leaves are the only things that are turning but they are turning rather quickly. I water the plant once a week since i received it what should i do to keep the plant alive?


  6. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Hilary,
    Yellowing leaves are usually caused by too much light or too much fertilizer. Chemicals in tap water can also cause the lucky bamboo to turn yellow. Is you are not already using distilled water for you bamboo, you may want to give it a try. In the mean time, I would remove the yellow leaves at the stalk, and moniter the stems for yellowing and softness.
    Hope this helps!

  7. Hi, I have been kinda experimenting in those cocoa balls!!! can you put lucky bamboo in those cause they sit in water? I just got tired of getting those fungus Nat’s constantly in the potting soil!!! even the NAME BRAND!!! THANKS IN ADVANCE.

  8. Jamie Woods says:

    Hey Jewell,
    I’m unfamiliar with the cocoa balls you are talking about. However, if your lucky bamboo is in soil and you are wanting to put it in water, you can use pebbles, marbles, or something similar. Just be aware that lucky bamboo doesn’t always like being moved from soil to water and vice versa. If your bamboo is big enough, it might be best for you to propagate a new stalk.

  9. I have my lucky bamboo in water n I use filtered wate. How much water should I fill coz the stems r turning yellow. I also changed the water but didn’t help. I noticed something jelly like on the bottom. Please advice me how I can save my plant

  10. Jamie Woods says:

    Make sure you keep the water level consistent. Your bamboo should be kept in 2-4 inches of water. If the stems are turning yellow, this is usually caused by too much light or fertilizer. For the jelly-like substance, you need to remove your bamboo from its container and wash the container thoroughly with hot, soapy water. Rinse it well, then place your bamboo and water back in the container. This substance could be what is causing your bamboo to yellow. Normally yellow bamboo doesn’t recover, so you may have to try propagating new stalks if there are any green, healthy parts left on your plant.

  11. PETER RANDRUP says:

    I have 4-5 stalks of lucky bamboo. Was in small vase and when water level dropped quite low I would top up with water. Has been growing slowly and was healthy. Is about 8-10 years old. Visible stalks were about 1.5 times height of vase. Roots were quite crowded. Although seemingly healthy, the tips of many leaves had turned brown. Got it in my head that they would grow quicker or better if I moved them to a larger vase. Only vase I had has a wide opening at the top so the plants are spread out to far – using paper towel managed to group a bit tighter. Used the original brackish water (water with a small amount of soil) and topped with some fresh. Since moving them the tops of the stalks are drooping and about 4-5 leaves have turned yellow on one stalk only. Was it a mistake to move them? Should I return to orginal vase? Had planned on purchasing (tomorrow) some glass pebbles or similar to hold the stalks tightly together and upright.
    Might the bamboo rebound eventually do you think? Moved it about 1 week ago. Possibly a case of if it aint broke, don’t fix it.

  12. Jamie Woods says:

    Hey Peter,
    Lucky Bamboo is very sensitive to its environment, and all plants experience some degree of shock when their environment is changed. I would give it some time to recover from the recent move. As long as you keep taking care of it in the same way you had previously, it will probably be ok.

  13. Hello,

    I’ve got a lucky bamboo for about 5 or 6 years now. About 6 months or so ago I noticed the leaves were starting to turn a little yellow. I did a little reading, and it sounded like I was giving it too much sun. I have it near a window that has fabric blinds that let in light, but not direct sunlight I moved it away, and nothing seemed to change. At one point, there did appear to be a layer of black or brown fungus growing over the rocks (I’m partially color blind, so I have difficulty distinguishing between certain colors), but I took everything out can cleaned it. There was also a little white mold, but I think I got that with a misting of alcohol.

    The leaves are still yellow, and I’ve removed them as they’ve dried out, but I can’t seem to stop it. I started looking online, and it feels like trying to diagnose a runny nose with Web MD. At different points, I thought it was fungus and scale bugs, but I have no idea. I also heard that temperature could be an issue. The room I keep it in is about 73 or 74 degrees. I took some pictures, in case that helps. Thank you so much for your help.




  14. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Scott,
    I can’t be certain without seeing the plant in person, but from looking at your photos, these look like spots where roots would potentially form. Bamboo is very sensitive to its environment, so while the misting of alcohol may have gotten rid of the mold, it may have also made your plant a little unhappy. To help prevent any more mold or fungus, make sure to keep your rocks and pot clean. Use hot soapy water to wash them. You can also wipe down your bamboo with a soapy rag to help rid it of these kinds of things. If the yellowing continues, you may want to consider starting new stalks from the green, healthy part of your existing plant.

  15. I am not sure what happened to my lucky bamboo but another smaller stalk that was in the same vase turned yellow & died about a year ago. I am guessing maybe root rot from looking at the bottom of the stalk. Is this salvageable at all? I am currently using distilled water & cleaned out the vase & rocks about a week ago. I moved it to a new location with less direct sunlight for a few weeks but no recovery. How do I upload my pics of the plant? Please advise.

  16. Jamie Woods says:

    If the stalk has died and turned completely yellow, there is no way to save it. It needs to be removed from your vase. Change the water frequently to prevent fungal and bacterial infections, and wash the vase as needed. Continue to use distilled water, and give your plant some time to adjust to its new location.

  17. Diane Todd says:

    I have a Lucky Bamboo plant that I bought a month ago. It’s in soil and I just noticed a couple of the leaves are dry brown on the ends. I do use tap water and is by a window with indirect sunlight. Can you tell me what I should do? Thanks.

  18. Jamie Woods says:

    Use distilled water instead of tap water. The chemicals in the tap water are the most likely cause of the browning.