There are more than 1000 different types of bamboo identified and one species grows faster than the other, but all in all, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. And now you might be wondering: how fast does bamboo grow? Bamboo grows about one meter per day, with the exception of the Moso bamboo: it can even grow up to 1.20m in 24 hours. In addition, bamboo can be divided into two different types: invasive and non-invasive bamboo. But where and when does bamboo actually grow? And should you prune bamboo?
Where does bamboo grow?
Generally, bamboo is known as a plant that grows in places like Southeast Asia, but in reality, bamboo can grow anywhere. Depending on which type of bamboo is trying to sprout, bamboo can grow in subtropical areas or in places as cold as Iowa.
Before cities expanded on a large scale, bamboo grew on every continent except Antarctica and Europe. Southeast Asia is the most common place where bamboo grows and the plant species has been growing there for millions of years. Even South America has native bamboo. More than five million hectares of land in Cane Beak, located in the southeast of America, was once covered with native bamboo. It was only during the migration movements in the early 19th century that the growing bamboo was destroyed by settlers, as the bamboo plant grew on land that they believed should be converted into farms.
So far, between 1200 and 1500 species of bamboo have been discovered worldwide, which grow depending on the climate that the specific species can tolerate. There are types of bamboo that can survive winter weather up to -6 degrees Celsius and still grow in the spring during the normal germination periods. Usually, tall bamboo grows in places with a tropical, subtropical or temperate climate. These are places like Southeast Asia, South America and the southeastern part of the United States. Some types of bamboo are known to grow well indoors in less temperate parts of the world like Europe.
Bamboo in the house
Bamboo is also an ideal plant for the garden or on the balcony. The woody grass can be used along the pond, as a hedge or in pots. Bamboo has unique growth properties compared to other plants. Because of its annual life cycle and because it is in full bloom in the spring, bamboo is an advantageous plant to place in the garden.
The only problem that people sometimes experience when planting bamboo in the garden are the invasive roots of the plant. These can grow so fast that it is difficult to prevent the bamboo plant from taking over the entire garden or landscape. The rhizomes are also difficult to remove; usually, the rhizomes have to be dug up and then chopped apart. Bamboo has a wide distribution range, as evidenced by the huge amounts of bamboo forests that still stand in Southeast Asia.
Should you prune bamboo?
When the bamboo plant has reached mature height after one to three years, it is beneficial to prune the bamboo from time to time. By pruning the bamboo plant you prevent excess culms from unnecessarily taking up space at the end of their life cycle. These culms usually last about ten years. Removing old and other unwanted culms helps stimulate new growth and create space for new culms. Pruning is usually only necessary once the bamboo has established itself. This is usually after the third to fifth growing season. The time bamboo needs to establish itself depends on many factors such as the planting area, the species, the climate zone, the water, the sunlight, and the soil.
Pruning can be done almost all year round. However, it is not advisable to prune during the growing season due to possible damage to new shoots. If the bamboo is pruned, at least one third of the healthy bamboo culms must remain, otherwise the bamboo plant will be permanently affected. It is also possible to top the bamboo. When the bamboo is topped, the top part of the bamboo plant is removed. Once topped, the bamboo plant will never grow vertically again. Once the bamboo is topped, it remains at the same height throughout its life cycle.
It is desirable to leave some viable stems and cut only half a centimeter above the node when the bamboo is topped. Without these viable stems, no new stems can grow and the bamboo plant will not survive. It is usually best to leave three or more groups of culms for the health and appearance of the culms. These tall bamboo culms will grow more leaves to compensate for the height loss. This gives the bamboo a completely different appearance with a spindly 'topping'.
When does bamboo grow?
Bamboo reaches new heights every year by growing new and larger shoots each spring. The new shoots usually emerge from the ground between April and July and reach full height in about two to three months.
The reason bamboo grows so fast is that the bamboo shoots already have all the necessary nutrients at a young age. Where a first young bamboo shoot has to fight for its place in the ground to get all the nutrients, the subsequent bamboo shoots can use the network of the underground roots. So it happens that new and stronger bamboo plants grow from a small weak bamboo plant of invasive species a few years later. Due to the vertically spreading rhizomes, it can happen that a bamboo forest has completely originated from just one underground bamboo rhizome.
Types of bamboo
There are two different types of bamboo: invasive and non-invasive bamboo. The aforementioned type is invasive bamboo. This type spreads easily and quickly through its vertical root system. The other category is non-invasive bamboo. This type grows horizontally deep into the earth and clumps all roots together. This variant of bamboo does not grow as fast as invasive bamboo, as the roots are not so much spread but concentrate on one place. Invasive bamboo can be considered ineradicable because it can take over a large piece of land in a short time.
It is crucial to care for the bamboo plant properly in these first years to extend the life of the plant and help it grow quickly. First of all, proper care includes giving enough water. It is almost impossible to give bamboo too much water, and on warm, dry days a bamboo plant should get almost twice as much water as usual to be able to grow fully. In addition, it is important to give the bamboo plant enough, preferably direct sunlight and sufficient nutrition. Bamboo loves to stand in full sun.
Bamboo grows in different parts of the world, in many types and sizes. The bamboo plant can fill entire forests or be planted in small numbers in the garden. To allow the bamboo to grow optimally in a domestic environment, it is important to prune the bamboo culms from time to time, preferably after the growing season. How the bamboo grows depends on the type of bamboo, but usually, bamboo reaches its full height two to three months after they have come out of the ground in the spring. Shop our bamboo toilet paper!