Bamboozled: How to happily grow bamboo
A little bit about bamboo
Botanical name: Bambusa
These hardy giant grasses grow thick and fast, making them one of the most popular privacy-creating plants around. Whether you want to add a lush look to your garden, create a wind break, sound barrier, hedge or create a tropical feel, ever-versatile bamboo is a no-brainer, and so is caring for bamboo. Bamboo is (almost) care free, especially if you choose the non-invasive, clumping variety.
While some varieties can become invasive and some, like the Dendrocalamus giganteus, can soar to 35 metres high, there are many more varieties that are perfect for the average Australian garden, like the range of non-invasive, clumping varieties below.
Ideal spot: Read the plant label as your bamboo's ideal spot will depend on the variety. Some bamboo like a sheltered but sunny position while others thrive in full sun. Bamboo will happily grow in a large pot, provided it has plenty of room to grow and good drainage. Water crystals can also help retain moisture in the soil in a pot.
How to prepare soil for planting bamboo
Bamboo will grow in most soils but prefers deep, fertile, loamy, slightly acidic, well-draining and moist soil. While this is the ideal soil for bamboo, as long as your soil ticks a few of these boxes, your bamboo will be happy. When digging the hole, make sure it’s twice as wide as the root ball on your bamboo.
When new growth appears, at the beginning of spring, mid-summer and at the end of summer, feed your bamboo quality organic fertiliser like Dynamic Lifter or Dinofert. Adding a layer of mulch will also keep your bamboo growing strong.
Bamboo doesn’t need much pruning, unless you want to keep it in shape. Bamboo lose a small amount of leaves. If possible, don't throw them away. The leaves help keep the roots protected and moist. They will also return essential nutrients to the soil as they decompose, which will encourage bamboo growth.
Mites can be a pest and can become a big problem if left to their own devices. They appear as small white webs on the leaves. If you find mites on your bamboo, separate the affected parts of the plant from the unaffected parts (as best you can) and wash the affected area with a high-powered hose.
Bamboo will grow faster with the right amount of water. For the first two weeks after planting, water your bamboo until it’s saturated, every day in the late afternoon. After two weeks, give your bamboo a good watering three times a week in summer and once a week in winter. Make sure your bamboo is well watered during hot weather and when new growth appears.