PLANTING & CARE

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How & When to Plant Bamboo

Although there are no hard and fast rules about planting bamboo, we offer the following guidelines:
Bamboos grow best in rich, moist, well-drained soils. Often the addition of compost or other additives is beneficial (see section below). Place the plant at approximately the same soil level as it is in the pot, in a hole somewhat larger than the pot. After filling in around the plant, pack the soil firmly to eliminate air bubbles and soak thoroughly. Through the first year, make sure the plant remains moist but not waterlogged. Do not fertilize for the first 6 months. Plants have been fertilized at the nursery, and additional fertilizer at this point could shock the plant.

The best time to plant varies from area to area and species to species. In cold winter climates the best planting time is in the spring when likelihood of frost is past and when the ground can be worked. Bamboos do not develop their full cold-hardiness until well established, and planting in spring gives the plant a longer growing season to get established and develop its cold-hardiness before the next cold season. If planting in the late summer, we recommend planting even the most cold-hardy bamboos at least 3 months before first frost (although planting season may be somewhat extended by using frost covers). Thick mulch is recommended to protect the plants over the first winter regardless of when planted.

In very hot summer climates, the best planting times for bamboos are early spring and late fall. Bamboos will more readily establish themselves when weather is milder and rain is more likely. Mid-summer planting can sometimes be accomplished by using shade cloth to protect from intense sun.

In mild climate areas such as coastal California, it doesn’t make as much difference, except for the least cold hardy clumpers, for which spring is still the best. Here every season has its advantages, with spring and summer offering the most active growing periods and fall, winter and spring sharing the rainy season.