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Why is My Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow — Here’s What’s Wrong

Why is My Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow — Here’s What’s Wrong

Lucky bamboo is famous for its thick, vibrant green stem and lush leaves. Its stems are often trained to grow into unique curled, twisting shapes and lucky bamboo adds an exotic flair to any indoor space.

It is frequently grown in glass containers filled with a substrate, such as smooth stones, and water, but it can also be potted and grown in soil. 

Funnily enough, lucky bamboo does not actually belong to the bamboo family but is a dracaena sanderiana and so needs to be cared for like a dracaena.

Unfortunately, the striking effect of its twisted bamboo-like stems is somewhat diminished when its stem or leaves begin to turn yellow. Plant parents of yellowing lucky bamboo should act immediately to identify the cause of the problem and rectify it. 

The stem and leaves of the lucky bamboo plant will begin to turn yellow if the plant gets either too little indirect sunlight or too much direct sunlight, receives too much fertilizer, is watered with “hard water” from the tap, or is kept in an environment that is too dry. 

 

Light

One reason your lucky bamboo may be turning yellow is that it is not receiving enough sunlight.

Lucky bamboo is happiest when it gets at least a few hours of bright, filtered sunlight per day. If the leaves of your lucky bamboo look bleached or pale, consider moving it to a slightly sunnier spot in your home. 

On the other hand, your lucky bamboo may also be turning yellow because it is receiving too much direct sunlight and is showing early signs of leaf burn.

If your lucky bamboo has been living somewhere with full sun exposure and has taken on a dark yellow or brown character, particularly around the edges of its leaves, try filtering the light it is getting or moving it to a spot with less direct sunlight. 

If you find that you are not sure what your plant’s light requirements are, you might want to read an explanation of the different light levels for plants

 

Fertilizer

If the stalk of your lucky bamboo is becoming noticeably yellow, it is usually because the plant is being overfertilized. 

If you are fertilizing your lucky bamboo often and notice that both its stem and leaves are turning yellow, dial back the fertilizer immediately. 

If you have been overfertilizing lucky bamboo, you should take steps to reduce the effects of the fertilizer. If you have been keeping it in a vase, change out the water as soon as possible. If you have been growing it in soil, water it thoroughly to flush out any remaining mineral concentrations. Allow approximately three to four cups of water to drain out of the pot. Wipe down the rim of the pot to remove lingering traces of fertilizer. 

If you are growing lucky bamboo in a vase and the damage from overfertilization is particularly bad, for example if the stalk has turned completely yellow, you might consider transplanting it into soil to save it. Soil can absorb some of the concentrated minerals and reduce their effect on the plant. 

Transplanting your lucky bamboo into new, unfertilized soil—whether it was previously growing in water or soil—may well aid its recovery, if it has not already absorbed too much of the fertilizer. 

 

Water

Another reason your lucky bamboo might be turning yellow is that the quality of the water being used to water it is poor. Lucky bamboo is highly sensitive to chemicals in the water it soaks up. As such, it is no fan of most tap water. This is particularly the case when it is being grown in water but is also true when it is being grown in soil. 

“Hard water”, or unfiltered tap water, often contains fluoride or chlorine, which can damage lucky bamboo and cause its leaves and stem to turn yellow.

If you suspect that water quality may be the reason you plant is turning yellow, there are several things you can do. It might also be helpful to read up on the best water for houseplants

The first option is to invest in a water filter. Watering your lucky bamboo with filtered water will invariably improve the plant’s health, irrespective of whether hard water is in fact the reason it is turning yellow. 

A cheaper way to get your hands on high-quality water is to collect rainwater! Rainwater is excellent for all houseplants, including lucky bamboo.

If you are keeping your lucky bamboo in a glass or a vase and it is therefore constantly sitting in water, you should be changing the water regularly, ideally every one-and-a-half weeks.

Change it sooner if it begins to appear greenish or murky. Unclean water, or water containing bacteria or fungus can also cause lucky bamboo to turn yellow. 

If your lucky bamboo is a soil-dweller, make sure you water it enough. Its soil should remain evenly moist. Lucky bamboo does best if its soil is moist but not waterlogged, so it is crucially important that it is in kept in a pot with drainage holes.

If lucky bamboo is left to sit in soaked soil for too long, it may develop root rot and its leaves will begin to wilt and then turn yellow. If you suspect this is the case, you will need to try to save your plant from root rot

 

Humidity 

Lucky bamboo plants require humid conditions and will turn yellow if they are kept in air that is too dry. 

Lucky bamboo is native to the rainforests of the tropics. It, therefore, craves a warm, humid environment.

If you notice that your lucky bamboo is turning yellow and believe the problem is a dry environment, take steps to increase the humidity of the air around your plant. 

If you are in a financial position to invest in a humidifier, this is the best way to boost your lucky bamboo’s recovery. 

Alternatively, use a mister to spritz your dracaena’s leaves about twice a week.

 

Temperature 

Lucky bamboo will also turn yellow if kept at the incorrect temperature. They are happiest in a spot where the temperature is between 65 degrees and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  

If the temperature around your dracaena is too low, try moving it to a warmer spot and taking steps to minimize any drafts that may be reaching it. 

Remember that if you increase the heat in your home, you will have to compensate for the dry air created by indoor heating by increasing the humidity levels around your plant.