Growing & Troubleshooting Bamboo


Gardeners can plant bamboo to create a dense privacy screen or fence line or to add an Asian accent to garden beds or container gardens. Bamboo grows readily once established, but gardeners need to provide basic care and be on the lookout for pests or problems. Cultivars come in hues of yellow, green, red, white or black and can grow up to 100 feet tall, depending on the type. Growers in temperate and tropical zones alike can find a bamboo that thrives in their area.

Step 1

Select a site that offers your bamboo enough room to grow, well-draining soil and full sun. Clumping bamboo spreads slowly, while running bamboo can grow up to 15 feet a year, so take account the type of bamboo when locating your site.

Step 2

Dig a hole twice the size of your bamboo plant's root ball. Remove rocks, sticks and weeds from the hole.

Step 3

Pull your bamboo plant from its container. Set it in the hole so it sits at the same depth as it was planted in the container and rests vertically straight. Cover over the hole with soil, firming the soil gently around the base of the bamboo, to complete planting.

Step 4

Water the bamboo until the soil compacts around the plant and the ground becomes saturated.

Step 5

Mulch your bamboo heavily using at least 2 inches of mulch. Lay the mulch around the bamboo and in areas where you want the bamboo to grow.

Step 6

Give a 5-gallon bamboo plant 1 gallon of water per week thereafter to keep the plant healthy and growing.

Step 7

Examine the plant's leaves regularly for signs of browning, blotching, stem damage, leaf curl or visible insect pests. The American Bamboo Society maintains a list of bamboo pests with images and descriptions so you can diagnose and treat your plant.

Step 8

Trim back running bamboo to control its spread. Cut unwanted canes down to the ground. Then water the area. Each time new canes come up from that spot, cut them down to the ground again. Eventually the plant exhausts its energy and will not send up new shoots in that area, controlling the spread of your bamboo.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Bamboo plant
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • American Bamboo Society: Planting and Care
  • Auburn University: Bamboo Growing in Alabama
  • University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension: Bamboo
  • Americna Bamboo Society: Controlling Bamboo

Who Can Help

  • American Bamboo Society: Bamboo Mites
Keywords: growing bamboo, troubleshooting bamboo, bamboo plant care

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.