Bamboo is a beloved grass species that makes many an environment shine in various shades of green. This plant comes in different shapes and sizes, suitable for both indoor and outdoor use and does well in almost any climate. When purchasing, however, it is important to consider exactly which bamboo species is involved. In fact, this is essential when planting the bamboo and its matching care. In fact, there are 47 types of bamboo with more than 1,000 species! First, the biggest difference lies in proliferating and non-proliferating bamboo species. Indeed, the grass is notorious for its aggressive growth that can provoke many a neighborly quarrel, but not all.
proliferating vs. Non-growing bamboo
The method of growth determines the difference between proliferating and non-proliferating bamboo. Non-growing bamboo forms new shoots through a single tussock, concentrating on even growth. In contrast, proliferating bamboo is known for its fast-growing and expanding ability in the garden. The roots often multiply uncontrollably and can oppress other plants and trees. This is because this bamboo forms underground root shoots (rhizomes) that burrow horizontally through the soil and grow new shoots there. For example, a new sprite may suddenly appear two meters next to the original bamboo plant. Within one season, this aggressive bamboo species up to five meters wide can spread through its many new shoots. Therefore, with a small garden, rampant bamboo is not a good idea.
However, you can limit the roots of this species with a root limiter. This delimiter is made of plastic and is dug at least 70 centimeters deep into the ground around the root ball of the supergrass, it forms a fence, so to speak, for the territory where only the bamboo is allowed to grow. The 70-centimeter-wide rolls are sold by the meter and screwed together to form a ring with a special metal rail. Plan a diameter of at least two feet around the root ball to keep the bamboo from drying out, and allow the top five inches of the limiter to protrude above the ground – that way you can immediately see if a root spur is making its way beyond the root limiter. This way you will prevent a bamboo invasion in the garden. So always inquire with the seller about which bamboo species is involved. Would you prefer to place the bamboo outdoors in a pot? Then it is best to choose a non-growing bamboo species, such as the Fargesia. This breed comes in different types and colors. With this, there is little chance that the pot will crack due to the strong roots.
Outdoor bamboo plants
Bamboo is a fairly easy grass to plant depending on the type of bamboo. Most bamboo species do not have high requirements for the type of soil in which they will be planted. Bamboo plants grow on sandy, loamy and even peaty humus soils, as long as they are not too dry or soggy. Highly compacted soils are not recommended, as waterlogging and rotting of the roots can quickly occur. Very loamy, impermeable soil should be loosened and mixed with sand, for example. The bamboo is even tolerant of soil pH.
When planting a non-growing bamboo species in garden soil, keep in mind that the plants need at least one meter of space in width. Loosen the soil thoroughly and top it up with mature compost or rotted leaves. In this way, the new location of the bamboo hedge becomes extra fertile. The hole for the new plant should be twice the diameter of the root ball. The depth depends on the height of the root ball. In fact, after planting, the soil should be proportional again. The root ball is placed in the hole and filled with ideally a mix of potting soil and garden soil. After sealing the hole, pour quite a bit of water on the bamboo so it can settle into the new soil. This is the best way to plant bamboo outdoors!
Non-growing bamboo plants in the garden
The best species for non-growing bamboo in the garden are the Fargesia sp. ‘Jiuzhaigou 1’, Fargesia robusta ‘Campbell’ and the Fargesia ‘Rufa’. These three bamboo species are suitable for evergreen hedges and are hardy for the Dutch climate. Jiuzhaigou 1 shines colorfully in spring with its fine reddish leaves and provides a tin-tight hedge. With a somewhat smaller garden, this bamboo species is the ideal choice because the roots require little space to grow. Prefer a more robust bamboo species? Then the Campbell is appropriate because of its thick glossy leaves that shine green year-round. This bamboo species is extra hardy and survives temperatures as low as -20 degrees! So a severe frost does not deter these. The Campbell does not like a lot of wind because it can cause leaf damage. Therefore, this supergrass likes to grow in gardens that are more sheltered and serves as a tight hedge. A graceful non-growing bamboo species is the Rufa. Its branches hang down a bit more which gives a dashing effect. An additional advantage of this outdoor bamboo plant is that it can also be planted in spacious pots or tubs and not just directly in the open ground.
Prefer a bamboo in the garden that shows off in a planter? It can be done easily. As tub plants, low-growing bamboo species are especially suitable, such as Fargesia murieliae ‘Bimbo’, which grows up to 1.50 meters tall. Fast- and high-growing non-growing bamboo species, on the other hand, need at least a 90-liter planter, otherwise they will quickly suffer from drought and will not last long. Instead of a normal planter, you can choose a raised planter that is open at the bottom and connected to the garden soil. This in fact prevents waterlogging and the plant is given extra care with nutrients from the soil. As a rule of thumb, the diameter of the planter should be at least three times the diameter of the root ball. Remember to sprinkle at least 4 inches of hydro pellets at the bottom of the planter so that excess water can be soaked up. Otherwise, there is a chance that the roots will rot and the leaves will yellow.
Weedy bamboo plants in the garden
Still prefer to go for proliferating species? Then don’t forget to install the root limiter mentioned above because the bamboo grows and proliferates a lot and likes to. A popular proliferating species is Phyllostachys ‘Nigra-Henosis’. This bamboo plant is notable for its dense growth and its green leaves and dark culms. A particularly hardy proliferating bamboo species is the golden Peking bamboo. This one has culms that can range from golden yellow to brownish, but appear orange-red in the sun. It is one of the most widely used species in gardens for good reason. Arrow bamboo is ideal for those who want to create a bamboo hedge because of its tin-tight leaves. This bamboo plant can also be planted in partial shade and usually grows between 3.5 and 4 meters tall.
Bamboo plants indoors
For those enthusiasts who prefer to admire the bamboo indoors, there are a few more conditions to consider when planting and caring for it. In fact, bamboo is more appropriate for outdoors, although there is a species suitable for indoor planting: the Bambusa vulgaris. It can be planted in planters or tubs in the same way as the outdoor bamboo varieties. Hydro pellets and drainage holes in the pot are essential for the bamboo, as accumulated water can significantly shorten its life. Regardless of the seasons, the first sign of drought stress in bamboo is always the curling of the plant’s leaves. So give plenty of water, especially in hot summers. When bamboo leaves are completely dried out, they barely recover, if at all. Therefore, it is important that the soil always feels moist and the root ball does not dry out. Occasionally some liquid organic fertilizer makes the indoor bamboo extra happy and helps new shoots grow.
Light has a major impact on the well-being of the bamboo. The supergrass does not feel comfortable in dark rooms and will die. In light-flooded, glass foyers, in high halls or in front of large window fronts, bamboo can thrive. Direct sun can sometimes be a culprit, which is why it is recommended to place the bamboo plant in different places in the room so that each leaf receives enough light.
Humidity is also important in the life of a bamboo plant. Many bamboo species cannot withstand an overly dry environment, such as Bambusa vulgaris. In a corporate office, you can choose to hire plant care specialists who can keep an eye on the evergreen throughout the year so that they can take appropriate care measures if necessary. At home, you can use a humidity meter to find out how high the humidity is in the room where the bamboo plant is located. When this content is below 50 percent, you can, for example, place a container of water on the heater or let laundry dry in this space. This is a sustainable way to increase humidity in your home.
When and where to plant bamboo?
The best time to plant bamboo is early spring so that the plant grows well into fall. However, it is also possible to plant it in summer or fall. A sunny and warm location, preferably sheltered from the wind, is ideal for the supergrass. The bamboo plant also does well in partial shade in the garden.
Bamboo planting and care includes maintaining the bamboo by pruning it from time to time. The period for pruning bamboo is relatively long. From spring to fall, dead or diseased shoots can be cut off right at the ground. Especially bamboo shoots that have frozen or dried out over the winter should be pruned back in the spring. The same goes for withered shoots after hot summers. There are no special pruning rules and therefore any stems and leaves that obstruct can be cut away or thinned out. Depending on the size and thickness of the bamboo plant, a sharp pruning shear or hedge trimmer is used for pruning. The bamboo will stay beautiful and healthy longer this way.