Bamboo is a type of grass that's native to every continent of the world except Europe and Antarctica. It is the fastest growing woody plant in the world, as some species are able to grow up to 24 inches in a single day. Bamboo can grow to heights of up to 100 feet if not pruned properly, but can easily thrive if grown indoors.
Planting and Environment
Plant bamboo in a container that's larger than the root ball to provide room for growth. Allow at least 2 inches of space between the root ball and the sides of the container. Use a soil mixture of one part organic compost to two parts potting soil to provide proper drainage.
The two major types of bamboo are temperate and tropical. Ask about the type of bamboo before purchasing it. Tropical bamboo will more readily adapt to an indoors environment, while temperate varieties will enter a period of dormancy during the winter and will require temperatures between 45 and 60 degrees F. Tropical bamboo will thrive in a general temperature between 60 and 80 degrees F year round.
Check the sunlight requirements for the species of bamboo you've chosen. Different varieties have different needs which must be met to ensure the plant is healthy. Most bamboo plants need between four and six hours of direct sunlight every day.
Watering and Fertilizing
Water bamboo when the top layer of soil begins to dry out. Drive your finger into the soil to the first knuckle. Apply a moderate amount of water only if the soil is dry. Do not water if the soil is moist, as bamboo plants are vulnerable to excessive watering. Apply a light layer of mist to bamboo leaves and stems with a spray bottle during each watering to help emulate their native humid climates.
Fertilize bamboo once monthly using a slow-release fertilizer. Choose a water-soluble fertilizer with 28-14-14 or 17-16-10 NPK to provide plenty of nutrients. Fertilizers with high nitrogen and low phosphorous will discourage blooming, which will also severely stunt the plant's growth.
Cut away any bamboo shoots, called culms, which appear unhealthy or withered at soil level. Always cuts bamboo at the joints, as this will cause no damage to the plant and will help control its size. Tropical bamboo can be pruned anytime, as it grows all year long. Temperate bamboo should only be pruned during the spring and summer months.