Why is My Bamboo Turning Yellow?

By Tree Expert Codey Stout
Published On

Bamboo is often one of the best types of grasses to work with in terms of planting. The reason being, it is an extremely durable grass that can be used to create a beautiful addition to your own home or place of work. However, there are occasions where bamboo can turn on you and begin to turn yellow for no real reason – but don’t worry, this isn’t the end of your plant.

This beautiful and versatile plant that can add a touch of elegance to any environment. In this guide, we will explore some possible causes of yellow bamboo and how to fix the problem.

What is bamboo and how do you identify it?

Bamboo is a type of grass that is known for its durability and strength. It can grow up to 100 feet tall, making it an excellent choice for privacy hedges or windbreaks. The leaves are long and thin, and the culms (the main stem of the plant) are smooth and cylindrical.

In order to identify bamboo, look for plants with hollow tubes as opposed to solid stems – these will be indicative of bamboo. Additionally, the leaves should be long and narrow with a pointed tip – similar to an arrowhead shape. If you’re still unsure, try bending one of the stalks – if it bends easily, then it’s not bamboo!

What causes yellow bamboo?

Yellowing leaves on a bamboo plant can be a sign of an unhealthy plant. Bamboo plants are known to have tough exteriors, but they can still be harmed by the environment around them. If you notice that your bamboo plants or bamboo trees are turning yellow, there may be some explanations for why it is happening.

Here are some of the most common causes:

Overwatering or underwatering

One of the most common reasons for bamboo turning yellow is improper watering. Make sure you are watering your plant deeply, but not too frequently. Yellow leaves can also be a sign that the plant is being overwatered and is drowning in moisture.

Lack of sunlight

Another common reason for bamboo turning yellow is a lack of sunlight. The plant needs at least six hours of direct sun each day in order to remain healthy. If it’s not getting enough light, the leaves will start to turn yellow as a result.


Bamboo also thrives in high humidity environments. If the air is too dry, the plant can start to turn yellow as a result. Try placing your bamboo near a water source or using a humidifier to increase the moisture levels in the air.

Poor soil quality

If the soil you are growing your bamboo in is of poor quality, it could also be a contributing factor to the yellowing of the leaves. The plant needs nutrient-rich soil in order to thrive, so make sure you are using a good quality potting mix or soil.

Nutrient deficiency

If the leaves on your bamboo are starting to turn yellow, it might be a sign that the plant is suffering from a nutrient deficiency. This can often be corrected by adding fertilizer to the soil.

Insect infestation

In some cases, an insect infestation can cause the leaves of the bamboo plant to turn yellow. If you suspect that this is the case, try using an insecticide to get rid of the pests.

Temperature fluctuations

If the temperature in your area is constantly fluctuating, it can also cause your bamboo to turn yellow. The plant prefers a moderate climate and doesn’t respond well to extreme temperatures.

Fertilizer burn

If your potted bamboo has yellow leaves, it could be a sign of fertilizer burn. The nitrogen in most fertilizers is what causes this problem because the roots absorb too much nitrogen and become damaged. The damaged roots aren’t able to transport water and nutrients to the leaves, so they dry up and turn yellow or brown.

Broken stem

If the bamboo stem is broken, it can no longer transport water and nutrients to the rest of the plant. This will cause the leaves to turn yellow as a result. If you suspect that your bamboo has a broken stem, try splinting it with some wire until it heals.


Finally, another possible reason for yellow bamboo is a disease. If you think your tree might be suffering from a disease, it’s best to consult with a professional.

How to fix yellow bamboo

Now that we’ve explored some of the possible causes of yellow bamboo, let’s take a look at how to fix the problem.

  1. Water deeply: If you think your plant is not being watered enough, start by increasing the amount of water you give it each week. Water deeply so that the water reaches the roots of the plant. Doing this will help to encourage new growth and should help to green up your bamboo.
  2. Move to a sunny spot: If your bamboo is not getting enough sunlight, one solution is to move it to a spot where it will get more direct light. The plant needs at least six hours of sunlight each day in order to remain healthy and green.
  3. Amend the soil: Bamboos are generally not very tolerant of standing water. If you think the soil quality might be contributing to the yellowing of your bamboo leaves, try amending the soil with some organic matter or compost. This will help to provide the plant with essential nutrients and should help it to return to its former glory. You can also plant it in a raised area like a mound or bermed bed.
  4. Fertilize: If you think your bamboo might be suffering from a nutrient deficiency, try fertilizing the plant with an all-purpose fertilizer. This will help to provide the plant with the nutrients it needs to remain healthy and green. The most common mineral deficiencies in bamboo are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). These are known as macronutrients because plants require them in large quantities for proper growth. In many cases, a complete fertilizer will provide the right balance of these nutrients. It is important to follow the label directions when applying any type of fertilizer.
  5. Insecticide: If you think insects might be causing the leaves of your bamboo to turn yellow, try using an insecticide to get rid of the pests. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully so that you don’t harm your plant.
  6. Monitor temperature: Finally, if you live in an area with extreme temperatures, try to protect your bamboo from fluctuations by placing it in a spot where it will be protected from the elements. This will help ensure that your plant remains healthy and green.

What if your bamboo turns yellow after planting?

If you recently planted bamboo in your garden, don’t freak out if the leaves start to turn yellow. It’s not an illness or disease; it’s just part of the adaptation process for new bamboo plants.

Once the bamboo is established, however, that shouldn’t happen again. If there are still yellow leaves after two years, then something else is going on that needs to be addressed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can yellow bamboo turn green again? 

It’s not uncommon for bamboo leaves to turn yellow during the first few months after planting. This is usually due to the plant’s roots not being able to take up enough water or nutrients from the soil. As the roots grow and establish themselves, they will be better able to absorb what they need and the leaves should start to turn green again.

Can I cut off the yellow leaves?

No, you should not cut off the yellow leaves. The leaves are necessary for the plant to photosynthesize and produce food.

What does it mean if my bamboo turns all yellow?

If your bamboo turns all yellow, it could mean that there is a nutrient deficiency or that the plant is over-watered. It’s also possible that the soil is too acidic or alkaline for bamboo to grow in properly. In any case, take a look at the soil pH and amend it if necessary. You can also give your bamboo a fertilization boost with an organic fertilizer like compost tea.

Is yellow bamboo harmful to plants?

No, yellow bamboo is not harmful to other plants in your garden. However, if the bamboo is producing too much yellow foliage, it might be using up all the nutrients in the soil and not leaving enough for other plants. In this case, you might need to add some supplemental fertilizer to your garden.

Does bamboo need sun?

Bamboo does need sun, but it doesn’t need a lot. In fact, too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and cause them to turn yellow. Bamboo prefers partial shade or dappled sunlight.


If your bamboo starts to turn yellow after planting, don’t worry – it’s normal. The leaves will usually start to turn green again as the plant becomes established. If there are still yellow leaves after a while, however, take a look at the soil pH and amend it if necessary. Bamboo needs sun, but not too much direct sunlight. It prefers partial shade or dappled sunlight.

The yellowing can also be an indication that something is wrong with the plant itself. So be sure to take a closer look and see if there are any other signs of distress. If everything looks fine, then enjoy your beautiful bamboo.

Meet Your Tree Expert

Codey Stout

Codey Stout is the operations manager for Tree Triage and has years of experience removing trees. His expertise has been featured in publications like Yahoo, The Family Handyman, Homes & Gardens, and many more. The only thing Codey likes doing more than removing intrusive trees, is removing unsightly stumps.
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