Why Is My Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow (and How to Save It)

Lucky Bamboo is a great little plant to have in the house. Despite the name, it is actually a tropical water lily and not bamboo. It goes by the name Dracaena Sanderiana in the scientific community. Besides being attractive and fairly easy to take care of, it is also popular in Feng Shui, as it is said to help bring positive energy into the home. 

However, like with any plant, Lucky Bamboo has a specific range of temperature, light, water, fertilization, and soil requirements. When these requirements aren’t met, you may find that your plant isn’t doing as well as it should be, and is turning yellow. 

If your Lucky Bamboo is turning yellow it’s because of too much sun or fertilization, not enough water, or the temperature is too cold. 

Keep reading if you’d like to learn more about Lucky Bamboo and how to fix it if it starts to turn yellow. 

Why Is My Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow?

There are a few reasons why your Lucky Bamboo might be turning yellow. It is usually an early warning sign that something in your plant’s habitat isn’t as it should be. 

Does Lucky Bamboo Need Sun?

sun through leaves
Lucky Bamboo needs a lot of sun. They enjoy bright, although indirect, sunlight to thrive. If a Lucky Bamboo gets too much direct sunlight, it will often turn yellow. Sometimes it will turn white as well. 

If you don’t have access to bright, indirect light, don’t worry. Lucky Bamboo can also tolerate low light, so they are ideal for both partial and full shade conditions. 

If your plant isn’t getting enough light, it will typically turn a pale green instead of yellow. 

If the Lucky Bamboo is getting too much sun, try moving it to a different area of your home that gets less direct sunlight and see if that helps. 

How Often Do I Water My Lucky Bamboo?

Lucky Bamboo enjoys moist soil. Unlike many other plants, they don’t like when the soil becomes dry. In fact these plants enjoy water so much that they are even able to be grown fully in water instead of soil. You don’t want water sitting on the top of the soil, but damp soil at all times is a necessity. 

Therefore, water when your soil is starting to go dry, rather than waiting until after it dries out. Since it doesn’t even like the top layer of soil to be dry, just gently press down on the top of the soil occasionally to test the moisture level. If it is still springy, it is fine. However, if it starts to feel crumbly, gentle watering is necessary. 

Also, you want to be careful with the quality of water you are giving your plant. The Lucky Bamboo does not handle chlorine well, so regular tap water is likely to damage it. Filtered or bottled water is best. 

If you don’t have access to those types of water, simply leave tap water out overnight, as it will cause the chlorine to evaporate. 

If your plant isn’t being watered enough, the leaves may begin to dry out and turn yellow. Make sure your plant always has enough water. 

Can I Over-Fertilize My Bamboo?

Lucky Bamboo doesn’t need much fertilization at all. A couple of drops of liquid fertilizer once a month, or once every two months if kept in water instead of soil, is all it requires. Some say you can even go further, drawing fertilization out to once or twice a year. 

There are liquid fertilizers that are designed especially for Lucky Bamboo. If you have an aquarium, you can add a few drops of aquarium-safe fertilizer to the water every few months. 

Keep an eye on your Lucky Bamboo plant. If you start to over-fertilize it, then it is likely that the leaves will turn yellow. Reduce the number of times you fertilize the plant per year and see if that helps. 

What Pests Should I Be Worried About With My Lucky Bamboo?

There are three common pests when it comes to Lucky Bamboo. These are mealybugs, mites, and fungal infections. However, aphids can also be a problem. 

If you suspect pests might be what is causing your leaves to turn yellow, then use a magnifying glass to look for small, moving black or green dots on the plant. Gray fuzz on the stems may also signal fungal infections. 

If you see signs of pests, look into adding neem oil to the water, or some diatomaceous earth to the soil. There are also plenty of fungicides on the market if you suspect it to be a fungus. We recommend not using a fungicide unless necessary and after trying out natural methods first as they can cause harm to your plant if used incorrectly. 

What Is the Ideal Temperature Range for Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo does better in warmer environments. It prefers temperatures anywhere between 65 to 90°F (18 to 32°C). It should never be below 55°F (13°C) or you risk damaging your plant. 

If your Lucky Bamboo freezes, then it might turn yellow and softer from the damage. 

Even if the area your plant is in is warmer, too much of a cool draft may also cause the plant distress. Make sure your plant is getting decent air circulation, but is not constantly in a breezy area. 

You may have to pick a warmer room in your home or put a heater in the room with your Lucky Bamboo plant if it isn’t warm enough naturally. 

Can Yellow Bamboo Turn Green Again?

Unfortunately, it is very rare that once a plant’s leaves change color they will turn back to how they once were. Usually, the yellowing of a plant is due to damage, and that damage is not easy to reverse. 

Most people recommend just cutting off the yellow parts of the plant. This allows your Lucky Bamboo to focus on its healthy parts, rather than put a lot of energy into sections of the plant that are dying or already dead. 

How Do You Bring Yellow Bamboo Back to Life?

To bring Lucky Bamboo back to life after it has turned yellow, you will have to save the parts that are still healthy. Inspect the plant for any damage. Your best option is to trim off any of the rotting, damaged, or dead parts of your Lucky Bamboo. 

If there are still some undamaged stalks, they should be fine if you remedy the problem that caused the yellowing in the first place. If most of your stalks or parts of all of your stalks and leaves have turned yellow, you may be able to cut off some of the healthy parts and try to propagate your Lucky Bamboo. 

Unfortunately, any part of the plant that has been damaged or dying tends to stay that way.

It is worth noting that Lucky Bamboo tends to have orange or red roots when mature. This is a normal color for Lucky Bamboo and not a sign that something is wrong with the plant. 

Should I Cut the Yellow Off My Lucky Bamboo?

small shears in handWhether you cut off the yellow areas of your Lucky Bamboo or not is up to you. Many people recommend cutting off the yellow, as then your plant isn’t wasting energy on parts of the plant that are already dying. If leaves are yellow and damaged, they are also unable to photosynthesize and basically provide no benefit to your plant. 

However, if you want the plant to handle the process naturally, you can leave the yellow leaves and stems intact. There is no harm to the plant other than wasted energy. We recommend, however, that if anything starts to rot you remove it immediately, as the rot may attract fungus and harm the plant’s other, healthy stems. 

How Long Does Lucky Bamboo Live?

How long a Lucky Bamboo lives depends heavily on the care and habitat it is in. For example, Lucky Bamboo only tends to live a year or two when grown in water, while those that are grown in soil can live for several years. 

This may seem like a short lifespan for a species of bamboo. However, as mentioned earlier, Lucky Bamboo is not actually bamboo at all, but a type of lily that simply looks like bamboo. It shares a similar lifespan to that of other lilies


This misleadingly-named plant, Lucky Bamboo, is a fairly easy one to take care of. As long as it is warm, has lots of water, and isn’t in direct sun, you should have no problem growing it to a healthy, thriving state. 

If you notice that the leaves or stem of your Lucky Bamboo are turning yellow, try reducing its exposure to direct sunlight, watering more frequently to keep it constantly moist, reducing the frequency of fertilization, checking for pests, and ensuring that it is not too cold. 

While it only lasts a few years, Lucky Bamboo is an attractive plant that brings a lot of color, life, and positive energy to any home or space.