Learn how to care for bamboo along with its history and classification details.
Hardiness Zone: 8-10
Soil Type: Moist, fertile, and free-draining
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Annual or Perennial: Evergreen Perennial
History: The first uses of bamboo was over 5,000 years ago as building material by the Chinese people who used it to build treehouses. Bamboo was next used to create paper and books from around 200 BCE-200 BCE. Between the 3rd to 5th centuries the bamboo books were used to document and classify over 60 plant varieties in China.
Bamboo is native to tropical, sub-tropical and temperate climates. It is most common in Asia and South America, but can grow in most places, except extremely cold climate.
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world, except for kelp. It is considered a giant grass with shallow roots. Because of the amazing growth rate bamboo can sequester up to 1.78 tonnes of CO2 per clump per year, which is 10 times faster than woody trees.
Bamboo is a symbol of strength, flexibility, and growth.
How to Care for Bamboo
Common questions and details on how to care for bamboo.
How do I plant bamboo?
Dig a hole deep enough so the rootball is covering the entire rootball. Fill in the hole with a mix of soil and compost.Water sufficiently. Mulch the surface to hold in moisture.
When is the best time to plant?
The best time to grow bamboo is in the spring.
How do I propagate bamboo?
The easiest way to propagate bamboo is by taking a cutting.Using shears, trim a bit off the parent plant. Place cuttings in water. New roots will form. You can also plant the cutting in moist, well-drained soil.
Can I grow bamboo in a pot?
Yes, you can grow bamboo in a pot.
How much should I water bamboo?
Bamboo should be watered no more than 3 times a week, however, optimal watering is once a week.
How do I care for bamboo with fertilizer?
Bamboo prefers to be fertilized infrequently.
When does bamboo bloom?
Bamboo will flower only once within their lice cycle. Some will flower once every 40-50 years.
When do I harvest bamboo?
It’s best to harvest when shoots are only a foot or so tall. Cut shoots early to avoid bitterness.
What is the best way to store bamboo?
Store bamboo horizontally in a protected place from water and direct solar heat. The place should have good air circulation and ventilation to avoid moisture build up and mold.
Should I plant any companion plants?
Bamboo grows well with bromeliads and hostas. Take care not to plant companion plants too close, as bamboo spreads quickly.
What are the health benefits of the bamboo?
Bamboo shoots contain thiamine, niacin, vitamins A, B6, and E. Bamboo is also a good source of fiber, phytosterols.
Braised spring bamboo shoots
This is a favorite dish from Shanghai. It is a common traditional dish, but is still popular for a reason, it’s delicious.
Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.