Bamboo is hardy, fast-growing, and gorgeous to look at – but the day may well come when you spot your prized plant and wonder ‘why is my bamboo turning yellow’?
There are several reasons why you may suddenly have yellow bamboo in your home. The most common reason is normally fairly benign – however, I’ll take you through other possible causes for why you may have yellow bamboo leaves, and what to do to bring them back to green health once again.
Why is my bamboo plant turning yellow?
Quite simply, there comes a time when old bamboo ‘quits’ to make room for new growth. This can be a worry when you suddenly see leaves turning yellow and/or begin to fall. Also, you may notice stems becoming discoloured. However, it is simply part of the plant’s life cycle!
If you’re concerned, always check to see how much of the stem is discoloured. Stems support leaves. When leaves fall it may be the result of the stem being no longer able to support growth. If any good parts of the stem remain, you could try cutting that part and rooting it in water.
If not, clear up dead leaves, removing the discoloured stem and make space for new shoots to sprout up or existing stems to grow and/or spread. Decaying leaves on the ground can invite pests and disease to flourish. Scoop up and dispose of any waste matter which may already be contaminated.
Other reasons for your bamboo leaves turning yellow
While advancing age may be the main cause of bamboo turning yellow, there are a handful of other points to consider.
You’re over-watering your plant
During extremely hot periods, your bamboo may be extra thirsty. Therefore, it’s often tricky to balance how much water you’re giving your houseplant! A yellow bamboo plants, leaves and otherwise, is likely over-indulged.
The best way to stop this situation from getting any worse is to simply give it a drink but don’t drown it! It’s best to change your watering habits. If you have over-indulged bamboo, be patient! Give it a day of two to recover from the ‘hangover’!
In these situations, leaves may shrivel, fall or wilt. Sadly, it’s highly unlikely the yellow (or brown) foliage will return to green – and it’s even less likely for any seriously weakened and/or dying stems to recover. If you catch these problems quickly enough, damage can be temporary – new leaves will sprout, just give the plant time to regain strength. Be vigilant!
If too much prolonged stress has been caused to your plant, after a few days, it’s best to remove unviable material to create space for new growth. It’s a good idea to not dig down or place other plants too near remaining parts of the Bamboo plant.
It’s possible roots may recover and/or have survived well enough to get busy and regenerate by sending up new shoots. Depending on the time of year, this can take as little as a few days or a couple of months.
Your bamboo is experiencing stress
Tender bamboo shoots are flexible but can reach a breaking point – and wind can dry them out too! This will unlikely happen with bamboo growing indoors, but it’s something to be mindful of if you decide to suddenly take an indoor plant outdoors! It can give them a real shock to suddenly feel a stinging wind. To be especially careful, it’s worth keeping your indoor bamboo away from draughts, too.
Equally, excess sunlight via a window or out in the open, can literally scorch some plants. Yellowing leaves can be simply suffering from sunstroke or drought!
What’s more, your plant might simply be getting stressed out by its neighbours. Bamboo likes space to breathe and move in peace! It likes to spread around unhindered on its own patch. In overcrowded situations it does not compete well for nutrients or moisture. So despite its size, you may find tougher, smaller plants thrive whilst your bamboo sadly turns yellow! That’s why it’s good to try and house bamboo in its own medium – indoors or outdoors.
To recap, protect your bamboo from excess wind and strong sun – though this is more a risk to tender young plants or tall leggy stems in the wind. With overcrowding, you may have to make a choice.
Indoor bamboo may be easy to relocate, or neighbouring pots shifted. Outdoor bamboo may require cutting back or another plant lifting and replanting. This is a judgement call to make sooner rather than later, as problems can grow exponentially with plant growth!
Your bamboo is suffering from phytotoxicity
Phytotoxicity affects many plants. Phytotoxins are the direct result of human interference with chemicals – they are used in horticulture as well as other industries, sometimes where by-products can leak into the air and rivers.
Phytotoxins impact directly or indirectly on plant growth to varying degrees all over the world. These toxins can have mild effects on growth, make germination difficult or at worst kill plants and wildlife. They can affect humans too!
You are probably brushing your teeth with water that contains fluoride – that’s good for you, less so for some plants. You are likely accustomed to the taste and smell of chlorinated tap water, too.
However, some of your plants really don’t like it! If you are growing bamboo in tap water and it’s turning yellow, there could be a simple solution – filter their water!
You can mitigate most of the problems associated with phytotoxicity by simply removing chemicals they can’t cope with. In this case, yellow leaves will be replaced by green ones within weeks!
By making some conscientious choices about what your bamboo plants are exposed to, like all forms of parenting, plant care involves making the best decisions possible.
What’s wrong with my bamboo plant, you ask – it’s either chemicals in the water, plant neighbours, excessive sun or wind, or it’s simply showing its age. These are the most common causes of yellow bamboo leaves and stems – so take care to combat these issues as soon as you can!