Growing Bamboo Indoors


Growing bamboo indoors can be done – but it can be tricky! Below is some help to get you started on learning how to keep your bamboo healthy and happy in your home.

Bamboo Container

make sure you choose a container that has a lot of room for your bamboo to grow! As you know bamboo is a quick growing plant and you want to be sure your container can accommodate those growth spurts. I recommend a minimum of a 10 gallon container that is short and wide to allow the bamboos to spread out.

A drainage option is a must to keep the roots from drowning!

It may take a year or so but eventually the bamboo will fill the container and become what is called root bound. At this point you have 2 options:

  • Move your bamboo to a larger container
  • Remove the bamboo from the existing container, remove some of the roots and soil and replant in the container with some new fresh soil

     All I sell are cold hardy, running type bamboos. Tropical clumpers are very different. The runners really need a dormant period. Outside, this is triggered by the shorter days of winter and colder temperatures. Indoors this won’t happen so you should give the plant less water during the winter, giving it a chance to rest. It will likely lose a lot of leaves during this time but should re-leaf when you start watering and feeding regularly in the spring. If at all possible you should give the bamboo supplemental lighting, especially during the active growing period. Another problem with indoor culture is the low humidity of most homes. A good method for increasing humidity is to place a tray of pebbles with a little water in them, under the plant. This will increase the humididty in the immediate area. Misting the plants regularly will also help. You might consider grouping several plants together and using a humiditifier in that area.
     Bamboo can easily be pruned to control the height, just don’t try growing a “giant bamboo” in a room with 8 foot ceilings! Some of the bamboos that often do well indoors are Arrow Bamboo (P.japonica), Broadleaf Bamboo (I.latifolius), Giant Leaf (I.tessalatus), and the Hibanobambusa species. Okuboi bamboo is a good bamboo for a something a little taller and has canes that stay upright and vertical. Most Phyllostachys do well if they receive plenty of light, preferrably in an east or south facing window. You should also keep your bamboo “groomed”. Remove any dead canes or those that are unsightly. You may want to remove some lower limbs to show off the canes.

Best Options For Indoor Bamboo

Arrow Bamboo – Psuedosasa japonica

Height – 12 to 18 feet. Diameter – 3/4 inch. Hardy to O degrees. Screening bamboo
A great bamboo for screening. It has leaves all the way down and the canes grow very close together forming a dense barrier. I worked in Birmingham for years and explored the nicer parts on bicycle during lunch hours. This is by far the most common bamboo to be found in the city. It flowered several years ago and many groves died. However, many clones didn’t flower and it’s still all over. Most alleys have some, and old homes on the mountain have it growing along the road, blocking the home from the street. With
somwhat large leaves it has a tropical look but is very cold hardy. I’ve seen this bamboo pruned to 8 feet and it formed a very dense screen only a couple feet thick.  Probably the best bamboo for a 10 to 15 foot screen. Planted every 5 feet or so you should have a decent bamboo screen in 2 to 4 years. Fertilizing and watering during dry spells will speed things up. This bamboo is supposed to be somewhat tolerant of salt spray. Recommended for zones 6, 7, and 8.

Broadleaf Bamboo – Indocallamus latifolius

Height – Up to 8 feet. Diameter 1/2 inch. Hardy to a little below zero.. Screening bamboo.

Another great bamboo for screening. This resembles Arrow Bamboo with leaves growing low to the ground and canes very close together, however it only gets about 6 to 8 feet tall. This makes a good indoor bamboo. Shade and drought tolerant, this is also a very cold hardy bamboo. We have plenty of this bamboo in stock.

Black Bamboo – Phyllostachys nigra

Height – Up to 33 feet. Diameter 2 inches. Hardy to 0 degrees.

One of my most popular bamboos, the canes start out green and over several months they turn dark black. During the process of turning the canes have a beautiful, green and black mottled appearance. This sells out quickly as I usually only have a few available each year. I’ve added several new groves over the past two years to increase the supply. We have a large number of field specimen size plants, 12 feet and taller. These plants give you and instant screen.

Palmata Bamboo – Sasa palmata

Height – 7 feet. Diameter 1/2 inche. Hardy to – 5 degrees.Screening bamboo

A very different looking bamboo. Large thick leaves, up to 15 inches long by 2 and 1/2 inches wide. Grows well in shade to partial shade A tropical looking bamboo that is very cold hardy. I’ve had to remove a small grove of this that was spreading onto my roof so I’ve got a good supply on hand. 

Giant Leaf Bamboo – I.tessalatus

Height – 5 to 8 feet. Diameter – 1/2 inch. Hardy to -10 degrees.Very Cold Hardy. 

This one will grow in heavy shade!

With huge leaves (24″ by 4″) this is a very different looking bamboo. Extremely cold hardy, this one will grow in total shade! Gets about 6 to 8 feet tall, forming a mound of leaves. Looks like no other bamboo I’ve seen. Ideal for erosion control as it spreads rapidly, even in shady areas. I’ve planted several #2 size plants in a bend of a creek that had started to erode and it has stabalized very nicely after 3 years. This bamboo is ideal for a very dense, low growing screen.  

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