What Causes the Leaves on a Bamboo Plant to Turn Yellow?


The bamboo houseplant, called "lucky bamboo," is not a true bamboo plant. Lucky bamboo comes from the plant species Dracaena sanderia, which is a member of the lily family and grows well in either water or moist soil. Most lucky bamboo plants are sold as hydroponic plants and are easy to care for and grow; the only problem is yellowing leaves. This problem, however, can be easily corrected.


Most home tap water contains fluoride. Lucky bamboo, being a tropical plant, cannot assimilate this mineral. If the leaves yellow, drain the pot completely and wipe it clean. Replant the bamboo and use spring or distilled water, since these waters do not contain fluoride.


Tap water also contains trace amounts of chlorine to help deter bacterial growth, but chlorine can also lead to yellow leaves on your bamboo plant. If you do not have access to distilled water, let an open container of tap water sit out overnight--this will help dissipate the chlorine in the water. The next day you can water your bamboo with this chlorine-free water.


Some water and fertilizers have a high salt content and should not be used. Distilled water is your best choice for bamboo. The bamboo should be fertilized every two months and the optimal fertilizer is aquarium plant food, because it is produced with low salt and no harmful chemicals.


Lucky bamboo grows under the canopy of tropical trees and does not like direct sunlight, but lucky bamboo will grow in indirect sunlight. If the leaves start to yellow, move the bamboo to a new location that has indirect light.


If the bamboo is growing in a clear vase and in bright light, algae can form. Algae robs the bamboo of needed nutrients, which can lead to yellowing leaves. The cure is to transplant the bamboo to an opaque container, because this will deter algae growth.


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Keywords: bamboo plant, water plants, lucky bamboo, yellow leaves on bamboo

About this Author

Based in Southern California, Della R. Buckland works as a freelance writer for sites such as eHow and Trails by day and as a fantasy writer by night (Sorcerous Signals). She holds an A.S. degree in paralegal studies, but left the field due to multiple sclerosis in 2008.

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