Saturday, September 14, 2013

The best containers to grow bamboo in...

Ah, a moment of spare time - I finally have a chance to get back to this blog, break the radio silence and talk about a topic that I have been thinking about and get asked about alot - "What kind of container should I use for my bamboo?"

Bamboo lends itself to growing quite well containerized.  In most cases, due to my relatively cautious nature and past experience, will advise most people to always containerize their running bamboo, due to its invasive nature when uncontrolled.  Additionally, there are several clumping bamboo, such as Bambusa ventricosa 'Buddha's Belly Kimmei' that show off its best characteristics (bulbous 'belly' culms') in a container (pictured below).

So what is an ideal container for bamboo?  Here are some ideas:

1.  My favorite container is a metal horse trough, like these that I bought today.  Simple, sturdy and best of all, the sides are at a 90 degree angle.  Additionally, bamboo likes horizontal space and depth is not a priority (2 feet is typically adequate for depth for most bamboo).  Be sure to drill a few drain holes at the bottom for good drainage.

2.  I always stay away from pots that taper at the top - always go for straight side or pots that are "V' shaped.  When it tapers, the bamboo root mass will tend to fill the pot's growing space completely making any future attempt to pull the the bamboo out an exercise in futility.

3. Always get a container that allows water to drain.  Bamboo does not like to sit in water and 'wet feet' will cause the plant long-term harm up to death over time.  Word of caution though, if you have a container that has a running bamboo and the container is on the ground, be sure to put a paver underneath the drain hole.  Otherwise running rhizomes, will escape (pictured).  This does not apply to clumping bamboo.

4. Think outside the box - bamboo is a unique plant - use the recommendations above, but get creative and bring out the best in your beautiful, unique bamboo.

Use these recommendations and your bamboo will be happy and healthy in its new home above the ground. Cheers!

Mad Man Bamboo Nursery - Rocklin, CA
Facebook - Mad Man Bamboo
Twitter - @madmanbamboo


Anonymous said...

Sean, so you would drill holes in the bottom of the horse trough? And purchase at a feed store?

Mad Man Bamboo Nursery said...

Absolutely, use a drill bit that drills metal. You can get troughs at horse supply stores, they are relatively inexpensive for the growing space you get out of them. Thanks for reading! Sean

Gunny G said...

Good info...thankya!

Anonymous said...

Hi, can't the bamboo get out through the drain holes? I have these exact horse troughs and was going to put the absolutely necessary drain holes in them, but now I'm worried because the landscaper said that the bamboo will find it's way out of the drain holes and invade everywhere over time. What do you think?