How to Start Bamboo Plants


There are over a thousand species of bamboo, with many textures, sizes and colors. However, there are two basic types, clumping and running. Running bamboo is considered an invasive plant, as it spreads quickly. It grows rhizomes (roots) that spread beneath the ground, where new bamboo shoots grow. You might be sorry you planted this type of bamboo in your landscaping, unless you plant it within containers in the ground. Clumping bamboo also sends out rhizomes, but they stay around the base of the plant, making it more manageable.

Step 1

Prepare the soil where the bamboo will be planted. Remove weeds and debris. Break up the soil to about 6 inches down. You may add compost for nutrition. If you have a clay-based soil, add some sand. Bamboo likes a well-drained soil. Do not add manure or fertilizer, as it will damage the bamboo roots.

Step 2

Plant the rhizomes. You can purchase these from nurseries, garden centers or online. Dig a 1- to 2-inch hole in the prepared soil for each rhizome. Place the rhizome in the hole and work soil around the root. Pat down the top of the soil. The closer you plant the rhizomes together, the faster the bamboo will grow. Even though there is no rule about spacing, you should consider this fact when you plan your landscaping.

Step 3

Water the new rhizomes to keep the soil moist, but not sopping, until they are established. As the bamboo grows, you can tell when watering is needed, as the leaves will begin to curl.

Step 4

Feed the new bamboo an all-purpose fertilizer about once a month, per the label instructions for the particular fertilizer you have chosen.

Things You'll Need

  • Bamboo rhizomes
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Sand (optional)
  • Fertilizer


  • Little Acre Farm: Bamboo Features
  • Bamboo HQ: Clumping vs. Running Bamboo
Keywords: starting bamboo, planting bamboo, clumping bamboo

About this Author

Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.