Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

Growing Bamboo Cane

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017

Bamboo is a grass that grows between 1 foot to 100 feet tall, depending on the variety. They add interest to landscapes but also have many uses, including use as lumber and paper. Many bamboo canes grow all year long. For a portion of the year, they are forming new buds under the ground. The rest of the year, they are growing shoots above the ground.

Prepare the soil in the spring, once the threat of frost has passed. Use a spade or garden hoe to loosen at least the top 12 inches of soil. if you're dealing with a clay-based soil, add sand to loosen it up and promote better drainage.

Dig a hole larger than the root ball and slightly deeper. Place the bamboo in the center and fill it back in with soil. Press firmly to eliminated air pockets. Make sure the bamboo is sitting 1-2 inches below the ground so it can trap in water as it becomes established.

Space bamboo canes at least 4 feet apart. Spacing is a personal decision, but the closer the plants, the shorter they will grow.

Water bamboo canes at least 1 inch every 10 days from spring to late fall. Allow the water to soak into the roots to ensure they are getting enough. If there is heavy rain, do not water for 10 days.

Mulch around bamboo canes to retain soil moisture and kill weeds. Lay down a 3-inch layer of dry grass clippings or dead leaves around the base of the plant.

Remove grasses and weeks that are growing around bamboo canes. Use your hands because tools may damage the rhizomes growing just under the surface.

Fertilize with a lawn food once a year in the spring. Apply 2 1/2 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet.

Trim bamboo canes after they have grown for two years. They need to be thinned out. Use pruning shears to cut smaller shoots near their bases, on the second or third notch up from the roots.


Things You Will Need

  • Spade
  • Garden hoe
  • Sand
  • Water


  • Thin bamboo canes every 2 years if needed.


  • Do not prune more than 1/3 of the bamboo plant at one time.

About the Author


Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.