How to Plant Bamboo Shoots

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New growth stems of bamboo, sometimes referred to as shoots, arise from the ground at the base of bamboo stems, or culms. As long as the shoot is undamaged and alive, cuttings or divisions with roots can be transplanted into containers or other areas of the garden. Depending on the bamboo species, the shoot may require lots of roots or additional buds on the stems to ensure its survival after transplant. Orienting the shoot in the same direction and soil depth as it was previously growing is most important.

Things You'll Need

  • Bamboo shoot
  • Shovel or hand trowel
  • Water
  • Sprinkling can
  • Garden hose with controlled nozzle
  • Potting soil
  • Plastic nursery containers

Planting Into Outdoor Soil

  • Dig a shallow hole with a shovel or hand trowel. Using the bamboo shoot as a guide, dig the hole no deeper than the depth the shoot was previously growing, usually marked by an old muddy soil line. Make the hole's width twice as wide as the base of the shoot, or the collection of attached roots if any exist.

  • Place the bamboo shoot in the hole as it is dug, checking for appropriate hole depth and width. Remove or replace soil as needed to create a hole that will hold the shoot at a planting level similar to its previous growing condition.

  • Situate the shoot in the hole for final position. Orient it so the shoots are pointing upward, or exactly how they were oriented previously when harvested from the mother bamboo plant. Fan out roots gently in the bottom of the hole and hold the shoot while your other hand pushes soil back into the hole.

  • Fill the planting hole until it is flush or even with the average garden soil level outside the hole. Lightly tamp the soil with your hand.

  • Gently water the newly planted shoot with water from a sprinkling can, or with a gentle, trickling dribble of water from a garden hose. Add small amounts of water at a time so the soil is not eroded or pushed away by the water, and allow it to soak in thoroughly before adding more. No more than 1 to 2 gallons of water are necessary on this initial watering to moisten soil and roots and to eliminate soil air pockets.

Planting Into Containers

  • Acquire a good-quality potting soil to plant the bamboo shoots in decorative or black nursery-grade potting containers. Avoid using purchased topsoil or native topsoil in containers as it will compact and harden quickly after a few waterings.

  • Compare the bamboo shoot with the selection of available containers with drainage holes. Match containers with the size of the shoot and any associated roots. Try not to cram the shoot into a small container, nor overcompensate and place one small shoot in a much larger container. If the rough diameter across a shoot is 6 to 8 inches, an ideal pot size is 8 to 12 inches.

  • Add potting soil to the container, filling it roughly half full. Place the shoot in the container atop the soil and gauge its position, checking to see if it is too low or too high in the pot. Match the soil depth and orientation of the bamboo shoot as it was previously growing. Look for a muddy soil stain or line that reveals the angle and depth of soil it had been growing.

  • Hold the shoot at the proper depth and angle with your spare hand while adding handfuls or trowels of potting soil to fill the container. Tamp down the soil gently as you continue to fill the pot and cover the roots and shoot to the proper level. Fill the pot so that there is no less than 3/4 to 1 inch of a rim above the soil line. This rim is useful in pooling water and preventing soil erosion during waterings.

  • Add water to the pot after the shoot is planted to your satisfaction. Gently add the water by sprinkling can or trickle from a garden hose so to avoid erosion or soil displacement. Be prepared to wait for water to soak into the soil as some potting soil mixtures with peat may initially repel water until the peat moistens. Provide enough water so that eventually some drains out of all holes in the bottom of the pot.

Tips & Warnings

  • Transplanting bamboo shoots is best done at the beginning of the growing season as soil temperature is warm and weather continues to warm and remain mild.
  • Ensure the soil around the newly planted bamboo shoots is consistently moist, never soggy or bone-dry. Once the shoot elongates and further greens, chances are the roots underground are growing and healthy, too.

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