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How to Fertilize Growing Bamboo

By Sharon Sweeny

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing of all known varieties of plants. Even so, it still needs to be fertilized to reach its full potential in size and beauty. Since bamboo is a member of the grass family, fertilize it with the same type of fertilizer you would use on your lawn; in other words, a fertilizer that is high is nitrogen. Any one of the fertilizing options below will help you grow lush, healthy bamboo.

Apply high nitrogen liquid fertilizer. Mix at half of the manufacturer's recommended strength. Apply by watering the plant with the solution. Follow manufacturer's recommendations to determine how much solution each plant should be watered with. Generally speaking, approximately one gallon of half-strength solution is sufficient to fertilize one bamboo plant when applied by watering the roots.

Use high nitrogen granular fertilizer, spread near plants at half of the manufacturer's recommended amount. Keep fertilizer from touching the base of the plant directly; spread it in a circle that radiates about 2 feet out from the base of the plant. Work into the top inch of soil with a garden claw. Don't cultivate any deeper than that or you may damage the roots of the bamboo.

Spread 1 to 2 inches of compost around the base of the plant. Make a circle of compost radiating about 18 inches out from the central stalk. If using finished compost, work it into the top inch of the soil with a garden claw. If using half-finished compost, allow it to sit on the surface of the soil like a mulch. As the compost further decomposes, it will feed the bamboo.

In temperate areas, fertilize bamboo every other week through the first week of August. Do not fertilize after this time because new growth will not have enough time to "harden up" before cold weather arrives. In tropical and sub-tropical areas, fertilize every other week throughout the rainy season. Hold off fertilizing during the dry season. Once the rains start and the plant begins to actively grow again, resume fertilizing.


Things You Will Need

  • High nitrogen fertilizer, either liquid or granulated, or garden compost


  • Nitrogen is the first number on the package of fertilizer. A fertilizer marked "20-5-10" is a high nitrogen fertilizer because the first number describing it has the greatest absolute value.

About the Author


Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.