Common Lucky Bamboo Problems And How To Fix Them

Last Updated: February 24, 2022

Causes of brown leaves and stems on a Lucky Bamboo

  1. Disease and bacterial issues. Usually, with houseplants, brown leaves can be caused by overwatering. However, Lucky Bamboo plants are usually grown in water so the issue is actually caused by problems within the water, such as bacteria developing in stagnant water. If it is only the leaves that are brown, then you can probably revive your plant by switching out the water. However, if your Lucky Bamboo stem has turned brown then this isn’t a good sign and means that your plant is dying or already dead. 

  2. Lack of water. If the container that your Lucky Bamboo is growing in has run out of water, then this is most likely the cause of the brown leaves. Lucky Bamboo plants need moisture to thrive and will very quickly develop brown leaves. The best thing to do is remove the brown parts of the plant and top up the container with water to see if there is a chance at reviving your plant.

  3. Lack of sunlight. Although they are adaptable to a range of environments, your Lucky Bamboo will struggle in really low light areas. This can over time cause them to develop brown leaves and generally look quite leggy. To solve the issue, move your Lucky Bamboo to a slightly sunnier spot and hopefully, this should prevent any more brown leaves. 

  4. Pests. If you have noticed brown spots on your Lucky Bamboo then it might be caused by pests. Give your plant a good once over with a magnifying glass and you should be able to see any insects. If you do spot any, isolate your plant and treat it with neem oil. If the issue has been going on for a while, and the pests have really moved in, you might not be able to fix the issue.

Causes of yellow Lucky Bamboo leaves and stems (already dead)

  1. Bacteria issues. Similarly to brown leaves, yellow Lucky Bamboo leaves and stems can also indicate bacterial problems. This tends to happen if you don’t refresh the water very often. If there is just the odd yellow leaf, then remove it and place your Lucky Bamboo in fresh water. However, if the majority of the stem has turned yellow then this means your plant is already dead and there is no turning back.

  2. Lack of water. If all of the water has evaporated, then this lack of water might also be to blame for the yellow leaves or stem on your Lucky Bamboo. The same principle applies in that if the majority of the stem is yellow then, unfortunately, this means your Lucky Bamboo is dead. If you have caught the issue early then just make sure to give your plant plenty of fresh water. 

  3. Over-fertilising. If you notice that the edges and tips on the leaves of your Lucky Bamboo have turned yellow then this could also be due to fertiliser issues. Either you are fertilising too often, or the fertiliser is too strong. We recommend cutting fertiliser out of your care routine altogether for at least one year. You will still see plenty of new healthy growth without fertiliser so it’s not a must for these plants.

  4. Direct sunlight. If your Lucky Bamboo is turning yellow during summer and it’s receiving a lot of direct light, then the intense light might actually be causing your plant to turn yellow. This happens when the intense light burns the leaves and also causes a hotspot which isn’t great for your plant either. Although you can’t reverse the yellowing on the leaves of your Lucky Bamboo, moving it to a shadier spot will solve the issue immediately and prevent more yellowing.  

Causes of a drooping Lucky Bamboo

  1. Lack of water. The main reason why your Lucky Bamboo looks droopy and limp is a lack of water. They really don’t cope well if not in fresh water. If this is the only issue you can spot on your Lucky Bamboo, then you are in luck as you have caught the problem very early and you should be able to stop your plant from drooping pretty quickly. Give your plant plenty of fresh water and you should see it undroop over the next day or two.  

Causes of curling leaves on a Lucky Bamboo

It can be quite a subtle problem compared to some of the rest, but if you notice the leaves on your Lucky Bamboo are curling, this does suggest a few issues.

  1. Too much sunlight. One of the most common causes of curling leaves on a Lucky Bamboo is direct sunlight. It’s a natural reaction for them to curl their leaves in response to really intense light. This is usually one step before the leaf turns yellow or brown so it’s important that you move your Lucky Bamboo away from direct light and the leaves should hopefully uncurl. 

  2. Lack of water. Your Lucky Bamboo might also be curling its leaves because it’s thirsty. We recommend topping up the water level in the container that you grow your Lucky Bamboo to make sure that it has enough moisture. If the leaves uncurl within a day or so, then you know that was the issue. However, if the leaves are still curling then you might need to look into how the light levels change across the day to see if that’s the cause.

Those are the most common issues that plant parents face when caring for Lucky Bamboo plants. They can be quite a low maintenance plant that can happily sit there for months without needing much attention as they don’t grow in soil. However, if things aren’t right, they will show you through a variety of signs so do keep an eye on your Lucky Bamboo. 

To learn more about how to care for your plant and avoid any problems showing up, check out our Lucky Bamboo care guide. 

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