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How to Prune an Indoor Bamboo Plant

By Sarah Metzker Erdemir ; Updated September 21, 2017

Bamboo is a lush, fast-growing plant with verdant leaves and stalks. Large bamboo plants in your home can look and feel like an indoor jungle. Tropical varieties grow well in pots indoors, and they are relatively easy to care for. With regular watering, misting and twice-yearly fertilization, most indoor bamboo plants will flourish in partially sunny locations. Pruning your bamboo plant is only necessary to remove tired-looking branches and leaves and to keep the plant from growing too large for its pot and becoming root bound.

Clip off any dead, dying or yellowed leaves and branches from your bamboo plant. A few leaves can be left on the soil or buried just beneath the surface to fertilize the plant as they break down. Don’t worry if your indoor bamboo plant suddenly drops all of its leaves. If the plant is getting enough water and the right kind of light, this usually just means the plant is entering its dormant phase before beginning a new period of growth.

Snip off new shoots at the soil’s surface if you want to keep a bamboo plant from spreading too much. Rhizomes are the yam-shaped growths that produce roots and stalks. Check the bottom of the pot once or twice a year to see whether any new rhizomes are coming out of the drainage holes, and cut them off with a strong pair of shears or a sharp handsaw.

Cut off any stalks that turn yellow and dry out. Cut them just at the surface of the soil below the lowest joint, taking care not to damage the other parts of the plant. Shears should work for smaller indoor bamboo plants. You might need a handsaw to cut dead stalks from larger plants.

Cut off the tops of the stalks to keep bamboo from growing too tall. Make the cut between joints at the desired height using shears or a sharp handsaw. Once a stalk is cut, it will not grow any taller.

Divide bamboo plants that are getting too large for their pots. Dig out the soil at the base of the plant with a trowel and cut off smaller rhizomes from the larger parent rhizome. You can plant the rhizomes you’ve cut into new pots or throw them away.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Clippers
  • Strong shears
  • Small, sharp handsaw
  • Trowel

Warning

  • Do not use these steps to prune a lucky bamboo plant. Lucky bamboo is not a true bamboo, and it requires different care.