Planting bamboo, how do you do that?

February 12, 2024
Bamboe planten, hoe doe je dat?
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Bamboo is a beloved type of grass that makes many environments shine in various shades of green. This plant comes in different types and sizes, suitable for both indoors and outdoors, and thrives in almost any climate. When purchasing, it is important to check exactly which type of bamboo it is. This is essential for planting the bamboo and its corresponding care. There are, in fact, 47 types of bamboo with more than 1000 species! First and foremost, the biggest difference lies in invasive and non-invasive bamboo types. The grass is notorious for its aggressive growth which can provoke many a neighbor dispute, but this does not apply to all types.

Invasive vs. Non-invasive bamboo

The way of growing determines the difference between invasive and non-invasive bamboo. Non-invasive bamboo forms new shoots via one clump and therefore focuses on even growth. Invasive bamboo, on the other hand, is known for its fast-growing and expanding ability in the garden. The roots often multiply uncontrollably and can oppress other plants and trees. This is because this bamboo forms underground root runners (rhizomes) that dig horizontally through the ground and grow new shoots there. Thus, a new sprout can suddenly appear two meters next to the original bamboo plant. Within one season, this aggressive type of bamboo can spread up to five meters wide due to the many new runners. With a small garden, invasive bamboo is therefore not a good idea.

However, you can limit the roots of this type with a root barrier. This barrier is made of plastic and is dug at least 70 centimeters deep into the ground around the clump of the super grass, forming a kind of fence for the territory where only the bamboo may grow. The 70 centimeter wide rolls are sold per meter and screwed together into a ring with a special metal rail. Plan a diameter of at least two meters around the clump, so that the bamboo cannot dry out, and let the top five centimeters of the barrier protrude above the ground - this way you can immediately see if a root runner is making its way outside the root barrier. This way you prevent a bamboo invasion in the garden. Always research with the seller which type of bamboo it is. Would you rather place the bamboo outside in a pot? Then it is best to choose a non-invasive bamboo type, such as the Fargesia. This breed comes in different types and colors. This reduces the chance that the pot will burst due to the strong roots.

Invasive vs non-invasive bamboo

Planting bamboo outdoors

Bamboo is a fairly easy type of grass to plant depending on the type of bamboo. Most types of bamboo do not have high demands on the type of soil in which they will be planted. Bamboo plants grow on sandy, loamy and even peaty humus soils, as long as they are not too dry or marshy. Highly compacted soils are not recommended, as this quickly leads to waterlogging and the roots can rot. Very loamy, impenetrable soil should be loosened and mixed with, for example, sand. The bamboo is even tolerant of the pH value of the soil.

When planting a non-invasive bamboo type in the garden soil, it should be taken into account that the plants need at least one meter of space in width. Thoroughly loosen the soil and supplement it with mature compost or rotten leaves. This makes the new location of the bamboo hedge extra fertile. The hole for the new plant should be twice the diameter of the clump. The depth depends on the height of the clump. After planting, the soil should be level again. The clump is placed in the hole and filled with ideally a mix of potting soil and garden soil. After closing the hole, a lot of water should be poured on the bamboo so that it can nestle in the new soil. This is the best way to plant bamboo outdoors!

Planting non-invasive bamboo in the garden

The best types for non-invasive bamboo in the garden are the Fargesia sp. ‘Jiuzhaigou 1’, Fargesia robusta ‘Campbell’ and the Fargesia ‘Rufa’. These three types of bamboo are suitable for evergreen hedges and are winter hardy for the Dutch climate. The Jiuzhaigou 1 shines colorfully in the spring with its fine reddish leaves and provides a dense hedge. With a somewhat smaller garden, this type of bamboo is the ideal choice because the roots need little space to grow. Prefer a somewhat more robust type of bamboo? Then the Campbell is suitable because of its thick shiny leaves that shine green all year round. This type of bamboo is extra winter hardy and survives temperatures down to -20 degrees! So a severe frost does not scare this one off. The Campbell does not like a lot of wind because this can cause leaf damage. Therefore, this super grass likes to grow in gardens that are a bit more sheltered and serves as a neat hedge. A graceful non-invasive type of bamboo is the Rufa. Its branches hang down a bit more, giving a swaying effect. An additional advantage of this outdoor bamboo plant is that it can also be planted in spacious pots or tubs and not just directly in the open ground.

Prefer a bamboo in the garden that stands out in a planter? That's easy. As potted plants, especially low-growing bamboo types are suitable, such as the Fargesia murieliae ‘Bimbo’, which grows up to 1.50 meters high. Fast- and high-growing non-invasive bamboo types, on the other hand, need at least a 90-liter planter, otherwise they quickly suffer from drought and will not last long. Instead of a normal planter, you can also opt for a raised planter that is open at the bottom and connected to the garden soil. This prevents waterlogging and the plant is extra cared for with nutrients from the soil. As a rule of thumb, the diameter of the planter should be at least three times the diameter of the clump. Don't forget to sprinkle a layer of hydro grains at least 4 centimeters at the bottom of the planter, so that excess water can be absorbed. Otherwise, there is a chance that the roots will rot and the leaves will turn yellow.

Planting bamboo in the garden

Planting invasive bamboo in the garden

Still prefer to go for invasive types? Don't forget to place the aforementioned root barrier because the bamboo grows and invades a lot and gladly. A popular invasive type is the Phyllostachys ‘Nigra-Henosis’. This bamboo plant is striking because of its dense growth and its green leaves and dark stems. A particularly winter-hardy invasive type of bamboo is the golden Peking bamboo. This has stems that can vary from golden yellow to brownish, but appear orange-red in the sun. It is not for nothing one of the most used types in gardens. The Arrow bamboo is ideal for those who want to make a bamboo hedge due to the dense leaves. This bamboo plant can also be planted in partial shade and usually grows between 3.5 and 4 meters high.

Planting bamboo indoors

For enthusiasts who prefer to admire the bamboo indoors, there are a few more conditions to be aware of when planting and caring for the bamboo. The bamboo is more suited for outdoors, although there is a type suitable for indoor planting: the Bambusa vulgaris. This can be planted in planters or tubs in the same way as the outdoor bamboo types. Hydro grains and drain holes in the pot are essential for the bamboo, as accumulated water can significantly shorten the life of the bamboo. Regardless of the seasons, the first sign of drought stress in the bamboo is always the curling of the plant's leaves. So give enough water, especially in hot summers. When the bamboo leaves are completely dried out, they hardly or not at all recover. Therefore, it is important that the soil always feels moist and the clump does not dry out. Occasionally some liquid organic fertilizer makes the indoor bamboo extra happy and helps in the growth of new shoots.

Light has a big influence on the well-being of the bamboo. The super grass does not feel comfortable in dark rooms and will die. In light-flooded, glass foyers, in high halls or in front of large window fronts, the bamboo can flourish well. Direct sun can sometimes be a culprit, so it is recommended to place the bamboo plant in different places in the room so that each leaf receives enough light.

Humidity is also important in the life of a bamboo plant. Many types of bamboo cannot withstand a too dry environment, such as the Bambusa vulgaris. In a company office, you can choose to hire specialists in plant care who can keep an eye on the evergreen plant all year round, so that they can take the right care measures if necessary. At home, you can use a humidity meter to find out how high the humidity is in the room where the bamboo plant is located. When this level is below 50 percent, you can, for example, place a bowl of water on the heating or dry the laundry in this room. This way you increase the humidity in the house in a sustainable way.

When and where to plant bamboo?

The best time to plant bamboo is early spring, so that the plant grows well until the fall. However, it is also possible to plant the plant in the summer or the fall. A sunny and warm location, preferably in a sheltered spot against the wind, is ideal for the super grass. The bamboo plant also does well in partial shade in the garden.

When to plant the bamboo

Pruning bamboo

With bamboo plants and care, maintaining the bamboo by pruning it occasionally is also part of the process. The period for pruning bamboo is relatively long. From spring to fall, dead or sick shoots can be cut off directly at the ground. Especially bamboo shoots that have frozen or dried out in the winter should be pruned back in the spring. The same applies to withered shoots after hot summers. There are no special pruning rules and therefore all stems and leaves that are in the way can be cut off or thinned out. Depending on the size and thickness of the bamboo plant, a sharp pruning shears or a hedge trimmer is used for pruning. The bamboo stays beautiful and healthy for longer this way.

Also read all about the benefits of bamboo toilet paper and where Bamboi toilet paper is made.

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