How To Take Care Of A Bamboo Plant

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Growing healthy bamboo is rewarding. Not only does it add refreshing visual interest to an outdoor space, but it can also provide shade and privacy. If you are considering growing bamboo in your yard or home garden, knowing how to keep your bamboo vibrant and healthy will set you up for success and ensure years of botanical beauty in your landscape.

In this guide, we’ll cover some of the critical points to consider when choosing and planting bamboo, making sure you have the basic knowledge to help your plants thrive.

How to grow healthy bamboo

Bamboo plants are incredibly diverse. They can grow in environments ranging from humid and tropical to temperate and mountainous. Some can even survive temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. With so much variety, it may come as a surprise that many types of bamboo in cultivation have quite similar care requirements.

That being said, however, it’s important to know what your particular bamboo variety needs in order to thrive. Let’s take a look at the factors you need to consider to keep your plants looking and feeling their best.

Choose the right type

The first step to making sure your bamboo plant is healthy is to know what species you have. There are two main types of bamboo, each growing in different ways and preferring different climates. The first species, the running bamboo, is a temperate species. They tend to be more cold hardy and propagating faster than other bamboo species. Because of this, it’s often a good idea to limit their ability to spread.

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The second species, the clumping bamboo, is almost always a tropical or subtropical species and generally cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Clumping bamboo species grow much more slowly than the running species, forming tight, densely packed clumps, or growth columns. Due to their slow spread, these bamboo species usually do not need to be contained.

Knowing what species your plant is is crucial as it allows you to ensure you are choosing a bamboo species that is appropriate for your growing zone. It will also help you choose the right planting location for your new bamboo and establish a containment strategy if needed. Several other factors, such as your strain’s maximum height, water needs, and sunlight requirements should also influence where you plant your bamboo. Although bamboo is adaptable and versatile, it’s important to consider these factors beforehand to ensure your bamboo stays healthy.


Sunlight requirements vary between cultivars. Some species, like the dwarf white-striped bamboo, prefer only a few hours of sunlight per day. Others, like the giant woody bamboo, grow incredibly tall and require many hours of direct sunlight each day to ensure they can produce enough nutrients to support such a large growth.

If you’re growing your bamboo plant indoors, placing it near a south-facing window can help ensure it gets enough sunlight throughout the day.

Dwarf White Stripe Bamboo
Dwarf white stripe bamboo can be grown indoors and prefers just a few hours of sunlight daily.



While some bamboo how many Phyllostachys species, is very drought tolerant, most bamboos need plenty of water to thrive properly. In order for your plants to achieve their best growth, you need to make sure their soil is consistently moist. As your bamboo plants expand outward and produce new culms, they can help you by keeping their own root zones cool and shaded. This helps prevent evaporation.

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However, be careful when watering your plants. Most bamboo species are particularly sensitive to overwatering and can quickly suffocate if stagnant water is allowed to accumulate. However, it is important to choose a planting location that does not allow pooling.

If your bamboo plant is growing in a pot rather than in the ground, make sure its container has drainage holes. Also remember that it will need to be watered more frequently than if it were in the ground. Because pots have limited soil mass and tend to be porous, the soils they contain tend to dry out faster.

Lucky Bamboo vs Bamboo
While some bamboo species are very drought tolerant, most bamboo species require plenty of water to really thrive.

©Eric Patterson/

ground conditions

Many bamboo species tend to be versatile in terms of the type of soil they will accept. This is great for the gardener as it means growing healthy bamboo is possible in a variety of environments. However, to give your bamboo the best possible soil conditions, some modifications may be necessary.

As a rule, bamboo prefers a nutritious, slightly acidic and well-draining soil. Sandy loam is ideal in most cases. When planting your bamboo in the garden, it’s generally a good idea to turn some compost or well-rotted animal manure into the soil before returning it to the hole with your plant. This practice can help break up heavy soil, retain moisture, and improve drainage. It also helps increase the pore size of your soil, allowing oxygen to penetrate deeper into the soil.

Applying a layer of mulch is also important, especially if the soil is disturbed. Mulching protects your soil from sun exposure, which kills the delicate microbial communities that control the decomposition and exchange of nutrients in the soil. It also helps cushion against compaction and retain moisture while still allowing oxygen to reach your plants’ roots. In order for your bamboo plants to stay healthy, it is paramount that you also keep your soil as healthy as possible.

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