Beginner Guide On How To Grow Bamboo Plants In The Garden

Bamboo Landscape As a plant that possess significant economic and cultural value in Eastern Asia, bamboo has been cultivated and brought into the garden as a fascinating ornamental plant for a long history since ancient times.

Its standing tall, slender culms and evergreen, narrowly thin leaves contribute to its high ornamental value.

Besides, growing in dense clumps, bamboos are not only pleasing to look but can provide a hedge for privacy as well.

For those who are obsessed with bamboo’s beauty but are hesitant to take them in their space, we will share some effective tips on how to grow bamboo plants in the garden.


What Bamboo Species To Choose From?

Bamboo is an evergreen perennial plant that native to warm, moist tropical and temperate areas, mostly in East Asia, South Asia and Southest Asia.

It gets so strong vitality that bamboo can easily thrive, even invasive in prosper climate and soil with little care.

The rhizomes of some bamboo species could spread wildly underground and send up new shoots to break the ground frequently in the warm seasons.

It will not take long before the ground under the bamboo will be inhabitable for other plants.

Before the aggressive behavior of some bamboo species daunting you, let me put your mind at ease that there do have some other varieties that behave quite well.

Generally, the growing pattern of bamboos could be classified as ‘spreading’ and ‘clumping’.

The ‘spreading’ species tend to be invasive and run wildly out of control; While the ‘clumping’ cultivators are much more gentle and spread slowly.

So when coming to the bamboo species that are suitable for growing in the garden, you could consider bamboo species that listed below, which are relatively small and slow-growing and among the most sought after species for garden decoration.

  • Phyllostachys bambusoides Sieb. et Zucc. f. lacrima-deae
  • Chimonobambusa quadrangularis
  • Phyllostachys nigra, also known as ‘Black Bamboo’
Black-Bamboo
Black Bamboo
  • Sinobambusa tootsik
  • Bambusa multiplex
  • Bambusa ventricosa
  • Fargesia nitida, also known as’ Fountain Bamboo’

Choose The Location For The Bamboo Plants

Bamboo’s imposing, tall stalks and dense leaves tend to block off the natural lighting and create shadows.

Thus, it is not recommended planting bamboo right beside your living space.

A popular location to grow bamboos is the edge or corner of your garden, where the tall plants will not affect or obstruct the overall view of your landscape and could serve as an enticing backdrop for other lower plants. Their dense forms could provide a natural wall for privacy as well.

Bamboo Alongside The Wall
Bamboo Alongside The Wall

If you have a huge garden with sizable space and long pathway, planting the bamboos alongside the pathway is another good idea that you could take into consideration.

The imposing bamboo plants along two sides of the road will create a green, mesmerizing and poetic looking pathway to delight your walking experience.

Bamboo Alongside The Pathway
Bamboo Alongside The Pathway

The prosperous growth of bamboo calls for a good amount of gentle sunshine and warm climate.

It is suggested to grow bamboos in the location where they could enjoy sufficient sunshine all year round.

This is critically important in frigid winter, as the freezing temperature plus with the shortage of sunshine is quite likely to sicken the bamboo and yellow or brown its leaves.

Control Bamboo’s Growth

As one of the fastest-growing plants on earth, choosing the right bamboo species – relatively small and low-growing, does not mean that you can rest assured to enjoy the beauty of bamboos after simply growing them into the ground in your garden.

Although the ‘clumping’ bamboos are spreading slowly, they will overstep the area that you would like them to stay in sooner or later.

Fortunately, there are some effective strategies you could take to contain bamboos’ expansion by restricting them into a certain space.

  • Grow Bamboos In Containers

If you have a small garden and do not have much time to observe the bamboo’s expansion thus taking action accordinly, the good news is you could grow the bamboos directly in the containers.

And kept as a container plant, bamboo can deliver no less enjoyment or beauty than grow directly on the ground.

Grow Bamboo In Containers
Grow Bamboo In Containers

Make sure that there are drain holes underneath the container, so the excessive water could be well drained.

But be aware that the bamboo species that you are going to plant in the container should be small ones and with gentle behavior. Otherwise, it will not take a couple of years before the bamboo’s rhizomes burst the pot’s wall.

  • Prune The Roots

We can manually restrict the spread of the bamboos by pruning the extending roots or newly emerging shoots every year with sharp shovel.

The pruning is not advisable to be carried out during winter or summer, but in spring when bamboo enjoys vigorous growth.

  • Build An Isolated Planting Space

If you have a big space, you could construct an isolated planting area with wood boards, bricks or concrete and then locate the bamboos in there to prevent their rhizomes moving into adjacent areas.

Bamboo Landscape
Bamboo Landscape
  • Install Physical Barrier
Physical Barrier For Bamboo
Physical Barrier For Bamboo

Another effective way to control the growth of bamboo is digging on the ground to create a ditch.

 The ditch need to be at least 90cm in depth, so there will be enough room for the healthy development of the bamboo’s root part, which generally can go down 2-3 feet into the soil. 

Pave a layer of plastic or polypropylene liner into the ditch to create a physical barrier.

The rhizomes of some bamboo species could be so aggressive that they might penetrate the liner. So make sure that the barrier material you use should be in good quality and durable.

The barrier should be angled out at the top or protrude a bit above the ground to lead the excessively spreading rhizomes to the surface of the ground for easy control and pruning.

Bamboo Hedge
Bamboo Planted On The Ground With Physical Barrier

Maintenance And Care

Temperature

Bamboo requires a warm and moist growing environment.

Generally, the optimal annual average temperature for the bamboo’s healthy growing is about 12 – 22℃ (54 – 72℉), with the average temperature of the coldest month ranging between 5 – 10℃ (40 – 50℉)。

And the best annual rainfall is 1000 to 2000 mm, with annual average relative humidity from 65% to 82%.

If your home is not in this type of climate, your bamboo may not thrive.

Almost all bamboo species stay evergreen in USDA Zone from 6 to 10.

While some hardier species such as Fargesia nitida, Fargesia sp. ‘Jiuzhaigou Genf’ and Fargesia sp. ‘Jiuzhaigou’ I can even survive well in Zone 5 and can tolerate extreme temperature low as -20℉, although they typically will defoliate and lose the above-ground culms. Their roots will survive and send up new shoots in the next spring.

Soil

Bamboo prefers slightly acidic to neutral fertile and loose soil that contains rich organic matters and drains well.

Watering

Water the newly planted bamboos immediately to offset the transplant shock.

Bamboo enjoys moist growing condition. So it is essential to keep its growing soil in moist condition.

Water thoroughly the soil once its top layer looks dry and make sure the excessive water is well drained.

An effective way to prevent the moisture of soil from evaporating too fast is to cover the soil with bamboo leaves, barks, or small gravels.

Fertilizing

Fertilizer is not a must for cultivating bamboo landscape as long as its growing soil is fertile enough.

If you would like to boost its development, you could apply a certain amount of compost or aged manure in the soil in early spring and late summer.


A famous common saying in eastern world goes ‘I would rather eat no meat, but can not live without bamboo growing in my living space’.

The elegant bamboo landscape will create a tranquil and private outdoor space.

And imagine that how poetic and soothing it will be when light breeze blowing through the dense bamboos, make the slender bamboo culms slight knocking with each other.

The crisp knocking sound and the rustle of the lush leaves will sweep off your stress from a hectic day instantly.

While the behavior of the bamboos might look aggressive, with some bamboo knowledge in hand you will know better how to control them and enjoy the intriguing bamboo landscape.


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