Bamboo plants provide shade, vertical interest and an exotic touch to the landscape. There are two primary types of bamboo--runners and clumpers. Runners grow quickly via an underground rhizome system, spreading and overtaking areas around them if they aren't contained in a pot or an edged bed. Clumpers are slower growing and less likely to spread to unwanted areas of the yard. Caring properly for your bamboo, regardless of the type, ensures it remains healthy and thrives in the home landscape.
Prepare a well-drained planting area that receives at least five hours of sunlight a day. Lay a 1 to 2 inch layer of compost over the planting area and till it into the top 12 inches of soil prior to planting to aid drainage and add organic nutrients to the soil.
Water the bamboo plants as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Water throughout the spring and summer and during extended dry periods in winter if the ground is not frozen.
Lay a 2 to 3 inch layer of organic mulch, such as bark, around the bamboo plants. Mulching preserves soil moisture while preventing weed growth.
Fertilize bamboo each spring with a balanced, general purpose fertilizer following application instructions. Fertilize pot-grown bamboo with a high-dosage, soluble potted plant food following label application rates.
Shake the bamboo canes in the fall to dislodge any dead leaves stuck between them. Cut down any dead canes at soil level with a pruning saw in spring when they begin actively growing.