Table of Contents
- 1 Why Should I Propagate My Bamboo?
- 2 3 Methods to Propagate Your Favorite Bamboo Tree
- 3 FAQ on How to Propagate Bamboo
- 4 Conclusions
Many people are curious about finding the right way to grow and propagate their bamboo plants. Bamboos are super easy to grow and plant. But, they might not be the easiest to propagate.
The awesome thing is, bamboos have the highest growth rate of all tropical plants.
After growing as a shoot, bamboo can finish its growing process in just 35 to 40 days. While in 3 to 4 years, they reach their maximum cane diameter and height.
The only problem is, it’s very inconvenient to grow bamboo from seeds since the plant often produces seeds every 75 years. That’s where propagating comes into play.
With the right tactics, cuttings, and divisions, you will grow the plant that will add to your landscaping for great curb appeal.
Why Should I Propagate My Bamboo?
Before we begin, the bamboo plants we will be talking about are the ones that grow outside and are grown in your landscaping, used to make furniture, and what you can find in bamboo forests. They are not the same as ‘lucky bamboo’ plants – the curly bamboos that grow indoors. Lucky bamboo plants are not really bamboo, rather they are part of the Dracaena plant family.
Bamboos do pretty well in containers. They keep growing new shoots and thrive in a contained environment.
Some bamboos will do just fine in a bigger container for five years, even if you don’t divide them. However, when the plant looks too crowded and struggles to get enough space, that’s when it needs more room.
The reason you should propagate bamboo is that you get new plants at a cheaper price.
Propagating a plant is an effective, practical, and convenient way to reproduce your favorite plant and create a lavish garden.
There are a bunch of plant propagation methods and tools you can use. Here, we will show you all the options that will be helpful.
3 Methods to Propagate Your Favorite Bamboo Tree
Bamboos are gorgeous plants. They look well with any garden.
Depending on the type of species you have, it can take different times for them to grow.
What matters is that you provide the plant with enough water, fertilization, and sunlight if you want them to thrive and live longer.
Here are the easiest propagating methods you should know about:
Method No. 1: Bamboo Propagation With Culm Cuttings
Culm cuttings may be a little bit difficult for a beginner gardener but are definitely worth the try.
This method relies on cutting segments of the bamboo culm and burying them in fertilized soil.
Eventually, roots start to emerge at nodes and create new shoots towards the surface. Follow the steps below to get it done the right way.
Choose a Bamboo Cutter
To start, you will needa proper tool to cut the plant. Bamboo is a hardy, and thick plant.
If you have thinner bamboo, you can take a sharp knife. But, with hardier surfaces, it’s better to use a handsaw instead. Don’t forget to use rubbing alcohol to sterilize the tool.
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Measure Before Cutting
Every bamboo has nodes (rings) that wrap around its stalk. When you measure the plant, make sure to cut 25cm (10 inches) of the stalk with 3 to 4 nodes on it. Cut the stalk at a 45-degree angle.
Use Rooting Hormone
Dip one end of the stalk into the rooting hormone. Rooting hormone will speed up the growth process. Shake the plant to remove any of the excesses.
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Apply Soft Wax
Options like beeswax, soft wax, or soy wax, are a key components in avoiding dryness and rotting. All you have to do is dip around 3.2 mm (1/8 inch) of the exposed end in the wax.
Don’t cover the entire center hole with the substance.
Take a pot and fill it with potting soil. Bury the stalk over a node deep. The first node must be completely submerged. Use your hands and press the soil around the bamboo.
This will help get rid of the air pockets.
Water the Bamboo Plant
Take a simple spray bottle and fill it with water. Spray the soil with water until it feels damp to touch. Don’t drown the plant in water. It’s enough for the soil to feel wet and not muddy.
This will provide the perfect growing surface.
Pour Water In the Center of the Stalk
Take some more water and fill the center of the stalk. That’s how you supply the plant with some extra nourishment. As the plant grows, be sure to check its water level every 2 days or so.
Just not to let it dry too much.
Place the Plant Away From Direct Sunlight
Keep the pot in a warm spot that’s not under direct sunlight. Water it every day so that it will grow and thrive. Make sure not to overwater the plant.
If there is too much water sitting on top of the soil, its roots can start rotting. What you can do is maintain moist soil for healthy growth.
Time for a Bamboo Transplant
After 4 months, it’s time for a transplant. When you remove it from the pot, you will see there are tiny branches growing from its nodes.
You need to transplant it to a bigger pot so that the branches will have room to grow.
Be careful. You don’t want to take out the plant too quickly or with too much force. Just, gently loosen the soil around the plant. It will fall off easily.
Then, pick a larger pot, slightly bigger than the one you used previously, and plant it. Water the surface to keep it moist.
Method No. 2: Keeping Cuttings In Water
Do you have small healthy bamboo cuttings? Did you trim them from the mother plant?
Then, it’s time to put these stalks to good use. Follow the steps below, and you will learn exactly how to propagate bamboo from cuttings.
Measure the Cutting
Measuring is a key component of propagating the plant. Make sure you have 25 cm (10 inches) of the bamboo stalk with at least 2 culms and 2 nodes.
Cut the plant at a 45-degree angle, just like you would do with the first method. Follow the same sterilizing procedure.
Place the Bottom Node in Water
Take a pot of water and submerge the bottom of the stalk. The first node should be completely underwater.
Position the pot in a well-lit spot with direct sunlight for 6 hours, preferably at 13 °C (55 °F).
Replace the water every 2 days as this will help restore oxygen to the plant, particularly while it still needs to grow roots.
Changing the water supplies it with enough nutrients to ensure healthy growth.
Move the Stack to a Pot
Once the roots become 5.1 cm (2 inches) long, plant the stalk in a pot. This will take a couple of weeks. So, keep an eye on the plant and place it in a pot or in the ground, at about 2.5 cm (1 inch) deep.
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Method No. 3: Planting the Bamboo from Rhizomes
Specific plants, like bamboo, ginger, and Bermuda grass can grow from rhizomes. Rhizomes are also known as “creeping root stalks” which is a great way for growing plants.
They are incredibly durable and can remain dormant underground under harsh conditions.
If you want a more hearty propagate approach, then this is the one for you. Follow the steps below and you will have it done in no time.
Remove a Segment of Rhizome
Brush off the dirt and clean the plant. Take a gardening knife and remove a segment with 2 to 3 growth buds of the rhizome. You might need to trim the stalks to get to the rhizome.
But, when you do collect it, make sure you are not using a rhizome with a patchy or dark appearance.
This is often a red flag and means the plant has pests or diseases. Therefore, the rhizomes won’t be able to grow and thrive.
The best way to collect a rhizome is from a well-established bamboo clump. Otherwise, you can put the plant at risk.
Position the Rhizome Flat On Soil
Take a pot and fill it with soil. Then, lay the rhizome flat (in a horizontal position) with the buds upwards. If there are a couple of stalks on the rhizome, keep them out of the soil.
Cover It With Soil
Take some potting soil and submerge the rhizome with 7.6 cm (3 inches) of soil. Bury it so that you will help it grow. Use your hands to add a little bit of pressure to the soil. This will remove the air pockets.
Water the Soil
Watering is a crucial process. The potting soil must be intensely moist without creating any muddy surfaces.
Check its moistness with your fingers. If it feels very dry to touch, add more water. If the soil is muddy, stop watering the pot. If you keep adding more and more water, you risk rotting the rhizome.
Give it Some Time and Let it Grow
Position the pot in the shade for a couple of weeks. It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks for it to sprout.
Now, make sure the rhizome is not under direct sunlight. Instead, it needs shade and regular watering. After 4 to 6 weeks, you can replant it in your garden, if you like.
FAQ on How to Propagate Bamboo
Is There a Way to Get the Bamboo to Grow Faster?
The best time to start the growth would be around March through May.
This is especially the case with bamboos in the Northern hemisphere. At this time, the shoots are quite tender, meaning that they could easily get broken.
That’s why it’s best to be extra careful during the propagating process. When it comes to soil, this plant is not that picky. But, with optimal conditions, you can ensure faster growth.
To really help it grow and thrive, it’s a good idea to use fertilizer. You can use it to accelerate its maturation and minimize nutrient deficiencies.
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You should also consider warmth. The plant doesn’t like being directly under the sun. But, it does love warm weather. Regular watering and warmth are important combinations.
Another common mistake is adding too much soil. People who propagate tend to cover the plant in too much soil.
This adds an extra layer of thickness and pressure, which could pose a problem for the roots. To make the most of your plant, be sure to pay attention to your potting techniques.
Then you have climate and species. There are different kinds of bamboo.
Sun-loving bamboos, like the Seabreeze bamboo, thrive in tropical climates. Whereas, shade-loving bamboos, like umbrella bamboo, prefer a more temperate climate.
If you plant the proper species that goes well with your environment, the bamboo will grow even faster. Now that you have that in mind, it’s time to propagate the plant.
What’s the Best Container for a Bamboo?
When you plant bamboo, you need containers that can hold water. The size should be a minimum of 18-20 inches in depth and width. The ideal container is sturdy and strong.
It will act as an impenetrable barrier for its roots.
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Remember, bamboo roots can be quite a problem. If you get a weak plastic container, they can break through it. So, the sturdier the better.
Also, make sure the container is stable and balances well. You don’t want it to fall from the weight and break the plant.
Are Diseases and Pests a Serious Problem for Bamboo?
Bamboo is a resilient plant. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t develop discoloration and spots.
Overwatering the plant can damage the roots and cause rotting. In humid conditions, bamboo in pots could develop fungi. This is not uncommon and can be managed with fungicide.
Then, you also have the mosaic virus. When you prune the plant without sterilizing the shears first, you risk infection. Aphids and mealybugs can also happen.
To avoid these problems, it is best to keep a suitable growing environment, remove rotted surfaces, and fungi. That’s how the plant can thrive.
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How Much Thinning Is Enough?
If you see roots popping out of the soil, you can pull them out. It’s best to pull 25% or fewer roots in one pruning session. Otherwise, you can damage the bamboo.
With thinning, you boost water and airflow. Therefore, it can help the plant grow.
So, I hope this article helps you in propagating your own bamboo. Again, the three ways are:
- Bamboo Propagation With Culm Cuttings,
- Keeping Cuttings In Water, and
- Planting The Bamboo From Rhizomes
I hope this will help you expand and grow more bamboo in your landscaping or in your backyard.
Leave a comment on how you did with propagating your bamboo. We would love to hear from you!!
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.