Bamboo has become a popular landscape plant in many part of the U.S., including the Midwestern state of Missouri. In addition to the three types of bamboo native to North America, more than 200 other species have been introduced. Many of these bamboo imports are suitable for the hot, humid summers and cool winters that are typical in Missouri. The predominant soil in Missouri is menfro, a dark brown silty loam that is great for growing bamboo--or just about anything else.
Choose a type of bamboo that fits into your landscape. Although bamboo varieties are available in North America that can grow to 30 feet or more, selecting a smaller type will make managing the plants easier.
Plant your bamboo in partial shade, if available. Most varieties will do equally well in full sun. Bamboo loves soil that is well-drained, high in organics and slightly acidic. Add some aged compost or manure when planting to give young bamboo plants a boost. Mulch heavily around the base of bamboo plants, especially if your soil is mostly clay. Wood chips or shredded bark are both good mulching materials.
Water your bamboo weekly during the first year. Once established, bamboo is fairly drought tolerant and will only need water during extended dry spells. As most of Missouri averages 25 to 30 inches of rain from spring to fall, it is unlikely your bamboo will need to be watered after the first year. Fertilizer is not usually required for bamboo, as it is a naturally vigorous plant. Do not fertilize when planting or during the first year of growth, to avoid damaging the roots.
Prune your bamboo regularly to keep it at the desired height and shape. Bamboo is a type of grass and will keep coming back regardless of when or how you prune it.
Check your bamboo plants for signs of insects or disease. You are unlikely to find either, as most problems with bamboo arise in tropical and subtropical regions. The most common pest in Missouri is the bamboo mite, a type of spider mite that has been imported from Asia along with the plants. Spot applications of insecticidal soap can be effective against bamboo mites.