How to Plant Bamboo in Florida

Overview

Bamboo, a large, low-maintenance and fast-growing type of grass, adds an exotic air to Florida landscapes. Planting bamboo is straight-forward process. Match the depth of the plant's rootball with the soil line and create a hole at least twice as wide. With Florida's mild, warm climate, a vast array of tropical bamboos, most of which form clumps--and not the invasive, running jungles--can be grown to match the individual landscape.

Instructions

Step 1

Measure the approximate size of the bamboo container housing the root ball. Use the handle of the shovel as a rough estimate, or employ a tape measure for exact dimensions. For bamboo that is bare-rooted, upright the plant and measure the depth of the root ball from the ground to the crown, which is the point where the roots and the bottom of the stems, or culms, meet.

Step 2

Dig the hole the same depth of the root ball, and twice as wide. Even out the bottom of the hole so that there are no awkward berms or uneven, shallow edges.

Step 3

Remove the bamboo from its container, holding the container with one hand or foot while gently jostling the plant out by pulling from the lowest portions of the culms. If the plant is root-bound, a utility knife may be needed to slice open the container to remove the root ball. Do not worry if some roots are cut or pried loose when removing the pot.

Step 4

Place the bamboo in the center of the hole. Look to see if the top of the root ball rests even with the top of the hole. Add or remove soil from the bottom of the hole as needed.

Step 5

Replace the soil around the base of the bamboo, filling the hole. Mix the original soil with organic matter, such as rich topsoil, compost or cured manure, as you fill the hole. Continue adding both original soil and organic matter, but no more than 50 percent of the fill should be organic matter. Stop adding soil once the top of the root ball is even with the soil line.

Step 6

Lightly tamp down the soil around the bamboo with your hand or foot. Add additional soil as needed to match the root ball's top to the soil line.

Step 7

Gently water the area around the root ball. Use a low-pressure setting on a garden hose so that the water trickles out and does not wash out the soil around the bamboo. Add enough water to wet the soil, but no more than 2 to 5 gallons, depending on size of the hole.

Step 8

Allow the water to fully soak in. Add more soil if necessary so the root ball surface remains even with the soil line. Grade the edges of the hole, if desired, to create a small berm to collect water around the plant base for future waterings.

Step 9

Scatter organic mulch around the base of the planted bamboo, at a depth of 2 to 4 inches. Keep the mulch 2 to 3 inches away from the culms of the bamboo.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant bamboo in soils or locations that readily flood or remain soggy for days after a typical rain event. Do not plant bamboo too deeply, nor pile excess soil atop the stems after planting. This will suffocate or rot the roots and crown of the bamboo.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Tape measure/yardstick
  • Utility knife
  • Compost
  • Organic mulch topdressing

References

  • "Bamboo for Gardens"; Ted Jordan Meredith; 2001.
  • Planting and Care of Tropical Bamboos
Keywords: bamboo, planting bamboo, ornamental grass

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for The Public Garden, Docent Educator, numerous non-profit newsletters and for Learn2Grow.com's comprehensive plant database. He holds a Master's degree in Public Horticulture from the University of Delaware and studied horticulture and biology in Australia at Murdoch University and the University of Melbourne's Burnley College.