Growing bamboo in pots and containers is a great option for those who don’t have extensive garden space or want to enjoy the look of bamboo on a balcony or patio. There are several bamboo varieties that thrive when grown in pots, ranging from clumping bamboo suited for smaller spaces to taller types well-suited for larger containers.
Choosing the right bamboo plant for your intended growing container, like a pot or other potted options, is important to have a successful bamboo planting. With the proper plant, pot, soil and care, growing bamboo in containers is very achievable.
Best Bamboo Varieties To Grow In Pots
Clumping bamboo varieties tend to be more compact than their running counterparts, making them prime choices for growing in pots and containers.
As mentioned earlier, black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) stays relatively small and tidy, reaching only 2 to 3 metres tall with stems less than 2cm thick. It spreads via underground rhizomes rather than above-ground runners, so it doesn’t outgrow pots as quickly as other types.
Dwarf bamboo (Fargesia Rufa) grows to just 1 to 2 metres tall but produces attractive rusty-brown new canes in spring. Both are well-suited options for medium and compact planters on patios or balconies.
Fountain bamboo (Fargesia Nitida) is suitable for medium and large planters, growing upright canes 3 to 5 metres high with cascading side-branches ideal for filling out tall or hanging pots. Its upright habit makes it a good option for creating an attractive focal point.
Yellow grove bamboo (Phyllostachys Aurea) similarly displays upright groves but has the potential to reach 6 metres tall, necessitating an extra large container to accommodate its eventual size. Ensuring adequate depth and diameter will prevent root-binding.
Soil Option When Growing Bamboo Plants In pots
The soil mixture is an important factor for healthy bamboo growth when planted in containers long-term.
Potting mixes labelled specifically for acid-loving plants are best, as bamboo grows optimally in slightly acidic soil around a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Well-draining blended soils without densely packed clay particles allow roots to breathe and spread freely.
Potting soils sold pre-blended for containers can work well if they contain materials like peat moss or coconut coir to improve drainage and retain moisture. You can also make your own mix by combining equal parts potting soil or compose, peat moss or coir, and perlite or vermiculite for air pockets. Add a small amount of organic matter like compost or worm castings to provide nutrients as the bamboo roots establish.
While invasive, runner-spreading bamboo like golden bamboo (Phyllostachys Aureosulcata) tolerates a wider pH range and poorer drainage than clumping varieties. However, all bamboo varieties indoors or out will grow to their fullest potential with a fertile, well-structured potting media. Be sure to test the soil pH after mixing and add ground sulfur or peat moss to safely lower the pH if needed.
Pot Choices For Bamboo
There are a few important factors to consider when selecting the right container for growing bamboo in pots.
Pots need drainage holes to prevent the roots from sitting in overly moist soil for extended periods, which can cause root rot. Terracotta and plastic pots generally work well.
Terracotta is especially breathable, allowing just the right amount of moisture evaporation which bamboo prefers compared to constantly wet soil. Glazed ceramic and other non-porous materials don’t offer that same level of moisture control and can retain too much water.
For most clumping bamboo varieties suited to containers, the minimum pot depth is 30cm, although larger plants may require 50cm or greater depth for robust root growth. The pot width is also significant – around 30-40cm diameter gives adequate root space without taking up excessive room on balconies or patios.
For bamboo that will eventually reach over 2m tall like yellow grove bamboo, consider long, narrow trough planters or using pot saucers and plates beneath standard pots to provide extra stability and reinforcement as the bamboo matures.
No matter the type, choose a container with depth and diameter proportionate to the expected mature size of the selected bamboo variety for best results long-term.
Maintenance To Grow Bamboo In Pots
Proper care is needed to keep bamboo thriving in containers long-term. Watering needs will vary depending on the variety, pot size and seasonal weather. However, as a general rule, check the top 1-2cm of soil daily and water thoroughly when dry, allowing the soil to wet to 5-7.5cm below.
In hot spells, bamboo may need watering twice daily to prevent dehydration. Fertilize monthly during spring and summer growth with a balanced, water-soluble plant food specially formulated for foliage plants. Apply at half or quarter strength according to the label. Prune clumping bamboo varieties as needed in early spring before new shoots emerge to shape plants and control their size in pots.
Particularly versatile is slender bamboo (bambusa textilis gracilis), prized for its thin, flexible stems well-suited for weaving crafts. Apply a 2.5-5cm layer of mulch annually like shredded bark to retain moisture as temperatures rise and add nutrients over time as the topsoil decomposes. With attentive care of this nature, bamboo grown in containers will thrive rewarding the observer for many years.
With proper planning and ongoing care, growing bamboo in containers is a fulfilling and rewarding way to gain the many aesthetic and functional benefits of bamboo.
Choosing dwarf or clumping varieties suited to pots, selecting durable containers sized to maturity, mixing the right soil blend, giving regular water/feeding and pruning as needed allows bamboo to thrive indefinitely indoors or out
Periodic culm harvesting provides renewable craft materials with a low environmental footprint. From lush privacy hedges to sturdy plant stakes, potted bamboo is a versatile, sustainable addition enhancing any space.
With consistent maintenance of the best practices outlined, bamboo grown exceptionally well in pots can outlive its original grower as a lasting legacy.
“Discover the incredible world of bamboo and unlock its limitless potential. Join us at Red Cloud Bamboo, your trusted partner in all things bamboo. Contact us today at 0418 552 170 to explore the possibilities. Or check out our blog for more information about bamboo. Let’s embrace the resilience and beauty of bamboo together!”