Growing Bamboo in North Carolina

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Bamboo is popular in the yard and as a houseplant.
Bamboo is popular in the yard and as a houseplant. (Image: bamboo image by micha from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Bamboo can provide valuable landscaping, ground cover and privacy with its bushy growth. This unique plant grows as both vertical canes and vines, and needs relatively straightforward care. In North Carolina, where soil can be thick and rocky and winters get harsh, it's important to plant bamboo at the right time, in the right way, to ensure good establishment.

Things You'll Need

  • Quick-draining soil
  • Compost
  • Water
  • Fertilizer

Plant bamboo rhizomes (bulbs) in spring and early summer, to give them a chance to establish before any cold North Carolina weather arrives. Choose a planting site that gets full sun and has good drainage. If you're planting vining bamboo, choose an area that has a wall or structure available to support the vines when they grow.

Mix half compost and half quick-draining soil into the top 2 feet of your planting site to give the bamboo the rich, loose foundation it needs. Bamboo suffers in thick soil, where it doesn't get the drainage it needs. Remove any rocks or weeds from the site.

Plant bamboo rhizomes at a depth of 1 to 2 inches, and give each rhizome about 10 feet of space around it. These plants grow quickly, both upward and outward. Each plant needs plenty of room for establishment.

Water the rhizomes with 2 to 3 inches of water immediately, and put them on a regular watering schedule of 2 inches per week. In North Carolina, where rain is common, adjust your watering schedule to supplement natural rainfall.

Fertilize the rhizomes once they sprout, using 10-10-10 fertilizer. Add the fertilizer to your watering once every four to six weeks. Always follow manufacturer directions in regard to the amount and application of fertilizer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Bamboo is considered to be a sign of good luck, and grows up to 20 feet per growing season. Bamboo grows in the summer, and goes dormant in winter.
  • Divide bamboo rhizomes once bamboo is 2 years old to neaten up established plants and propagate new plants.
  • Do not use fertilizer during bamboo planting, as it will burn the rhizome. Never use fresh manure as fertilizer for bamboo, as it will burn both rhizome and roots.

References

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