Essential FAQ Bamboo: the questions you’ve always wanted to ask

What is an invasive bamboo?

Certain species of bamboo have the tendency to spread into  large areas if they are not controlled. This can cause problems, if the plants spread to neighbouring gardens or in paved areas. Make sure that the growth is contained with a root barrier, when planting an invasive species of bamboo.

Discuss the matter with your gardener, landscaper or one of the friendly horticultural advisors at The Palm Centre.

Can bamboo grow in pots?

For short period of times (a few years), bamboo can be grown in pots. Clump forming bamboo (like the Fargesia species) will to better long term in a pot. Pyllostachys species will need repotting every few years to maintain vigorous growth.

Make sure you choose a pot that will provide stability, as the plants can grow quite tall and may fall over in high winds.

Do I need root barrier when planting bamboo?

Any invasive species going into the open ground it is highly advisable. You’ll find this information on the product page of invasive bamboo species.

When planted in troughs or planters, there is no need to use root barrier.

How often should I water the bamboo?

Bamboo plants are very thirsty plants. You may have to consider an irrigation system to keep the plants well-watered in drier periods. If planted in pots, you may have to water the bamboo almost every day in the warmest months, depending on the size of the pot.

Apply a layer of mulch to prevent the soil from drying out too fast.

What should I use for fertiliser for the bamboo?

On top of being a very thirsty plant, bamboo is very hungry also. Any fertilizer that is high in nitrogen is perfect for it.

The Palm Centre has a special formulation of slow release fertilizer that can be applied twice a year for optimal results.

How many bamboo plants will I need?

It is hard to give a definitive answer as it depends on many variables. Running bamboos such as Phyllostachys and Pseudosasa will fill out much quicker and for this reason we recommend using a root barrier (see above). Clumping bamboos like Fargesia will naturally take longer to spread out horizontally, although their fountain-like stems can quickly form a screen.

If you want instant cover, buy the largest pot size you can as these will be more established, and space approximately 1 metre apart. If you’re happy to wait a few years then buy smaller (e.g. 5-litre pots) and allow for two plants for every metre.

Want to know more about bamboo?

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All about Phyllostachys

Bamboo is a versatile and attractive plant that can be used for a variety of purposes, including as a privacy screen, windbreak, or simply for its aesthetic appeal. Phyllostachys bamboo which is known as a running bamboo, is a popular choice for planting in the ground due to its fast growth rate and ability to form dense clumps.

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