How To Guides for Home Owners

Bamboo Care 101 – Choosing and Caring For Bamboo Plants

Bamboo plants are quite versatile, grow quickly and can withstand high temperatures. If they aren’t taken care of properly, you will not see all of these benefits. Before planting these, learn how to choose bamboo, where to grow it and care tips you can use to maintain your crop.

How to Choose the Right Bamboo

Thousands of bamboo species can grow as tall as 100 feet to only a few inches. Use these criteria to narrow your choice.

Types of Bamboo Plants

There are two types of bamboo plants you can choose as per your needs, space, budget and convenience:

Running Bamboo

  • It doesn’t require root barriers but requires a lot of maintenance since it spreads fast.
  • You don’t need to buy plants since these take up much space.
  • Easier to find in garden stores.
  • Certain types may be restricted in your area.

Clumping Bamboo

  • No root barriers are required.
  • It only grows a few inches annually.
  • Save space for other plants. Clumping bamboo doesn’t fill up areas that fast.
  • Low maintenance.

Check Your Climate

Bamboo is a tropical plant, but some species are hardier than others. It usually thrives in warm and humid conditions, but some species can grow in cold weather, such as Phyllostachys and Fargesia. Most people in temperate climates keep their bamboo healthy in full or partial shade.

Where and When to Plant

You can grow bamboo in almost any condition, even during the winter. You need to exercise patience when the temperature drops, as the plant only sets down roots during that time. The aboveground growth is minimal but speeds up in the spring and summer. During this time, bamboo plants grew new side branches, foliage and shoots.

Plant bamboo at the back of your garden near a fence if possible. It will allow the plant to grow high and become a natural screen against nosy neighbours. You can also grow clumping bamboo shoots in a pot but use a large container for the runner variety to control their growth.

How to Plant Bamboo

Here are three ways you can plant bamboo:

In a Container

The fastest and easiest way to grow bamboo is in a large container. Bury it in the ground, ensuring the top lip is above the surface. This arrangement will allow the bamboo to grow throughout the container rather than spreading beyond it. Do this only if you are planting in a small area.

In a Trench

If you want to create a hedge or a natural screen using bamboo, dig a two to four feet deep trench which runs along the designated area. Make sure it curves at the end in a C shape and line it with root barrier fabric or paving slabs. Leave a few inches over the soil surface and fill the trench, compacting the soil where you wish to plant. Dig another trench one to two feet in front of the first one to the same depth. This bamboo line will act as your maintenance trench.

In the Ground

Dig a hole twice the size of the root mass and add compost to the base before placing the bamboo shoot inside. This way, the root mass will remain level. Fill the hole after adding soil and compost mixture, and add more on the top before watering.

Bamboo Watering and Feeding Tips

  • Don’t allow the soil to dry out, or the roots will rot. While bamboo doesn’t need much water to grow, you can also grow it directly in water. If you do that, ensure the roots are soaked and add more water every ten days to replenish the dwindling supply.
  • Bamboo requires only moderate to indirect sunlight to grow. Direct or persistent sunlight will burn the leaves, so don’t leave your plant in front of a window. The edges of the leaves will turn brown.

Bamboo plants are quite hardy, but like other plants, they can die if it is not cared for properly. Use this guide to choose the ideal type and make it flourish under your care. Most species grow quite fast, so you won’t have to wait long to see the results of your hard work.

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