How to Keep Bamboo Plants


Bamboo, a member of the grass family, is an evergreen perennial in areas with mild winter weather. Bamboo plants are available as either clumping or running types, with the clumping being less invasive. Clumping bamboo forms a root mass that spreads slowly, while running bamboo grows a rhizome root mass that spreads rapidly each year. Proper care and maintenance produces attractive bamboo plants that do not spread to unwanted areas in your yard.

Step 1

Plant the bamboo in an area that is partially shade with protection from wind. Test the soil before planting to verify the pH is between 6.0 and 6.5. If the pH is higher, lower it by add ground rock sulfur, according to the package instructions, two weeks before planting.

Step 2

Install a polyethylene root barrier around circumference of the bamboo planting area to prevent it from spreading into other areas. Set the barrier to a depth of 30 inches with 3 inches above the soil.

Step 3

Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic compost over the root ball area of the bamboo plant to prevent weed growth and assist with soil moisture retention.

Step 4

Provide water during the first growing season to help the bamboo plant establish its root systems. Soak the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches once or twice a week when the weekly rainfall is less than 1 inch.

Step 5

Fertilize the bamboo plant in early spring, summer and fall with a turf fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. Start fertilizer applications in the second growing season to prevent burning young roots. Soak the soil well after each application to assist with absorption.

Step 6

Winterize bamboo plants in areas with temperatures that drop lower than 20 degrees F. Cut the bamboo stems to a height of 4 to 6 inches and place 3 to 4 inches of mulch over the plant to insulate the root ball.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil pH test
  • Ground rock sulfur
  • Polyethylene root barrier
  • Shovel
  • Organic compost
  • Turf fertilizer
  • Winter mulch


  • University of Maryland: Bamboo
  • American Bamboo Society: Planting and Caring for Bamboo
  • Burt Associates Bamboo: Growing Bamboo
Keywords: grow bamboo plants, keep bamboo, garden with bamboo

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.