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Growing Bamboo in Indiana

Although commonly associated with Asia, bamboo is a tall woody grass that is native to many parts of the world. Bamboo can be as short as 12 to 18 inches or as tall as 40 to 60 feet. Selecting a bamboo suitable to Indiana's climate zones is critical if you are growing bamboo outdoors. Although you can grow indoor bamboos in Indiana in the same way as anywhere else, you must be careful to select bamboos suited to your local climate zone. Because it is warmer, southern Indiana will support more varieties than northern or central Indiana.

Select your location. In the wild, bamboo generally grow under the protective canopy of a forest. Select a location that receives good, indirect light and that is somewhat protected from wind, especially cold winter winds.

Dig out the entire area where you will plant bamboo if you are creating a small planting to 36 inches deep. If planting a large area, dig a 36-inch deep trench around the area to be planted. Many bamboos are invasive and will require a bamboo barrier. If you are planting a "clumping" bamboo or bamboo that you are sure will not be invasive, you don't need to worry about the barrier and can prepare the top 12 to 18 inches of soil as for any other planting. If you are unsure, however, install the barrier.

Line the sides of your hole or trench with 60 mil polyethylene. Seal the joints with duct tape, and allow the barrier to extend 3 to 4 inches above ground level.

Backfill the hole with soil until it is about 4 inches below the level of the surrounding ground.

Place your bamboo rhizomes eyes up on the newly backfilled ground, and cover them with the remaining soil.

Add 2 to 4 inches of mulch on top of your planting, and water your planting thoroughly. Keep the soil moist and mulched for the healthiest bamboo.


The variety best suited to Indiana will depend on the part of the state. Colder parts will need varieties cold hardy to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. If your soil has a high clay content, add compost or other organic material to help the soil drain.

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