Taking Care of Indoor Bamboo Plants


Bamboo is a member of the grass family. According to the University of Maryland, there are 45 bamboo genera, which include about 1,200 species. Not all of these bamboos are suitable for indoor growing. Some bamboos can reach heights of well over 100 feet. The small lucky bamboos sold in stores are not true bamboos. True bamboos cannot grow in water like lucky bamboos are able to do. True members of the bamboo family require specific conditions to thrive inside a home.

Things You'll Need

  • 28-14-14 fertilizer
  • Watering can
  • Pot or container, if needed
  • Spray bottle
  • Pruning shears
  • Fertilize your bamboo plant with a complete slow-release fertilizer. A good choice for bamboo is a 28-14-14 fertilizer. Bamboo plants are heavy feeders and need the extra nutrients in their soil. Follow the manufacturer's instruction for the company's recommended feeding schedule.

  • Water your bamboo plant whenever the soil feels dry. Do not saturate the soil around a bamboo plant. If your plant drops its leaves, it may be in dormancy. Dormancy may occur when the days get shorter and the plant receives less light. Never water a bamboo plant during that time. Begin to water when the plant begins to grow leaves back, usually in the spring.

  • Move your bamboo plant to an area where it will receive sunlight. Most bamboo plants require a full day of sunlight for proper growth. According to the American Bamboo Society, the broader the leaf of the bamboo plant the less light it will need. Light deficiency in bamboo plants leads to slow and stunted growth.

  • Transplant your bamboo plant when it outgrows its pot or container. The root of the bamboo plant should be at least 3 inches from the sides of the pot. If your bamboo plant looks crowded in its container, transplant it into a larger container immediately.

  • Mist your bamboo with water every couple of days. Bamboo grows when the humidity is high. Regular sprays of water will help recreate their natural environment.

  • Prune your bamboo when it begins to grow too tall. You will also need to prune your plant if it has too many brown culms--the stems of the bamboo plant--or leaves. To control the height of your bamboo cut the culm right above a node using pruning shears. The node is the place that a branch grows from the culm. Use pruning shears to cut any culms that appear brown or weak. Cut the brown culm at the soil level.

Tips & Warnings

  • Alphonse Karr Bamboo is a large bamboo recommended for inside containers.
  • Do not use these instructions for a lucky bamboo plant. These instructions are for true bamboo.

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  • Photo Credit Bamboo image by AzamSa'ad from Fotolia.com
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