Bamboo is one of the world’s most versatile plants. Favoured for centuries for not only its aesthetics, but also its myriad of industrial and culinary uses. Bamboos are giant perennial grasses, with uses ranging from simple garden specimens, to use as scaffolding on building sites, fresh shoots used in cooking, fibre for paper production and textile manufacture (producing a super soft and hardwearing cloth), timber converted to flooring and household items and as a fodder for such famous animals as the giant panda. 

Many species of bamboo are grown nowadays as a renewable resource for an ever expanding world. They also have a position in many Asian histories. It is also famed as one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Some old species have a bad reputation as an invasive garden specimen, however most cultivars now available are clumping varieties, ideal for growing in the home garden.

How to grow bamboo in a garden

  1. Choose a spot in the garden with full sun to partial shade.  Enrich the soil with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. If the soil is clay based, add gypsum and fork in well.
  2. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the bamboo from the container, gently tease the roots.
  3. Position in hole and backfill with soil, gently firming down.  Form a raised or doughnut shaped ring of soil around the outer edge of the plant's root zone. This helps keep water where it's needed.  Always water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots and keep the soil moist for several weeks while the new plant establishes.
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips, sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the main stem.
  5. Feed every 6-8 weeks with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser.

How to grow bamboo in a pot

  1. Choose a large pot at least 600mm wide. Position in semi-shade and fill with quality potting mix, such as Yates Potting Mix with Dynamic Lifter.
  2. Remove the plant from the container, gently tease the roots.
  3. Position in hole and backfill with potting mix, gently firming down. Water in well.
  4. Feed 4-6 weeks with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser.

Growing tips

  • For a screen or hedge, plant bamboo in a trench lined on either side with sheet metal or hardboard. The barrier need not go deeper than about 45cm as bamboos are shallow rooted but may spread naturally by underground stems or rhizomes.
  • Keep very well watered until established. Bamboo dislike to dry out. A fertiliser rich in nitrogen will keep them green and lush. 
  • To minimise problems with bamboo, choose varieties of bamboo that are clumping rather than spreading.  To eradicate unwanted bamboo that has got out of hand, cut the canes down to ground level, and spray them with a strong solution of glyphosate herbicide, such as Yates Zero. Any suckers which emerge later should be similarly treated, but be careful not to let the spray drift onto other plants.

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