Garden Information

Growing Bamboo

Bamboo is an interesting plant. It is a type of grass and although it is quite fast-growing, its growth is concentrated into just a few months out of the year. Another fun fact about bamboo: it only flowers every 60 to 130 years depending on the species. Not only is it a rare occurence, but since most bamboo is grown from root divisions, when the mother plant begins to bloom, almost all of the root divisions that came from the same plant will also bloom, no matter where in the world they are.

1. Pick the correct spot - Often when it comes to picking the right location, sun is the most important consideration. And that is true with bamboo. It needs to be planted in full sun with at least 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. You should also avoid areas that have a lot of standing water. However, the most important consideration for bamboo is the space that you have. All of the varieties that Kerby's carries are clumping types, but over time they can form large clumps. The good news is that there are many different sizes of bamboo, so make sure you pick one that fits the space you are planting in.

2. Planting - To plant bamboo, dig a hole twice as wide as the rootball, but not quite as deep. Set the bamboo in the hole so that a quarter of the root ball is up out of the ground. Backfill the hole with a 50/50 mix of Kerby's Planting Soil and native soil. Mound the soil up until it is level with the rootball.

3. Mulch - To help retain moisture and encourage growth, mulch the entire mound area with 2 to 3 inches of mulch. Any type of wood mulch is fine - pine bark, cypress or pine straw.

4. Water - Bamboo is a grass and just like your lawn, it needs plenty of water. For the first month, water bamboo deeply each day, always in the morning. In the second month, water every other day and in the third month, water twice each week. After the third month, keep the watering at twice each week when it is hot and just once per week when it is cool. Leaf wilt, curl or drop are all signs that you aren't giving your bamboo enough water.

5. Food - In order to maximize its growth, bamboo needs plenty of food. Fertilizer monthly with The Kerby's Special through the first growing season. For year two and beyond, fertilize in spring, summer and fall. To really get your bamboo growing, a supplement of Blood Meal in the spring and summer is helpful.

6. Bamboo Growth - Bamboo is a fast grower, but it only grows shoots for about two months out of the year, usually following the start of our rainy season. After shoot growth, branches and leaves will start to develop. Don't be surprised when its fast growth is concentrated into a short season.

7. Enjoy - Bamboo makes a wonderful privacy screen and with the beautiful varieties available, it can also make a gorgeous landscape centerpiece. However you use it, it will add a little zen to your landscape.

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