Clumping Bamboo Adelaide

Our bamboos are amazing!

Looking after clumping bamboo in Adelaide

BAMBOO IS TOUGH. Very few pests or diseases attack bamboo. It copes with most soils as long as water drains through. It copes with sun or partial shade and the species we sell are cold tolerant. It will grow in a container inside or outside, provided there is good light.

BAMBOO IS HUNGRY. Bamboo is very responsive to food and water-keep it moist and feed it regularly. Give it more if you want it to grow quickly, then cut the rations when you are happy with the size it is already.

PLANTING BAMBOO…IN THE GROUND. Dig a good hole larger than the rootball, and mix a few handfuls of organic fertiliser (we recommend Rapid Raiser) into the bottom of the hole. Remove the bamboo from the pot and place in the hole so it is level with the existing ground . Do not tease out the roots! Bamboo hates being disturbed. Backfill the hole with a mixture of soil and mushroom compost/cow manure to help retain moisture. Water in well and sprinkle a couple more handfuls of Rapid Raiser around the top. Mulch well.

PLANTING BAMBOO…IN A POT. Bamboo is happy in a pot or planter box as long as it is kept moist and fed regularly. Planter boxes from 300mm wide can be used in narrow spaces and on balconies. Choose a container larger than the existing pot. Use premium potting mix with extra coir or mushroom compost to help retain moisture, and mulch with pine bark to prevent drying out. Water often in summer (probably daily) until water runs out the bottom, less in winter, and fertilise with liquid fertiliser once a week in the warm months.

BAMBOO IS BEAUTIFUL…ONGOING MAINTENANCE. You can trim bamboo to any height you like, or remove lower leaves to see the canes, and after 3 years bamboo can be thinned. Remove original skinny canes in winter to encourage new thicker culms. If you don’t want the clump to expand in a particular direction, remove new shoots from that side every year and the clump will only expand in other directions. If bamboo gets dry it will drop leaves, but it will quickly re-leaf if you water it well after you notice. BAMBOO IS TOUGH!

Now let’s get down and dirty, here’s a few facts about Clumping vs Running Bamboo

Clumping (Sympodial) bamboo varieties have a rhizome structure that is non-invasive. Rhizomes are the underground stems of the plant and clumping bamboo has u-shaped rhizomes where the canes grow close together.

Each rhizome produces one cane/culm and a bud for a new rhizome. As the leaves of the new cane open and start photosynthesising (producing food) for the clump, the bud can develop into a new rhizome close to the clump. This keeps the clump compact but expanding in a circular pattern over time. Most clumping varieties of bamboo grow quickly in our climate provided they are fed and watered well. They will grow to the conditions – so if you want rapid expansion, you should fertilise regularly and keep them well watered in the warm months. There is little growth above ground in winter and our rain is usually enough to keep them moist and happy.

When the cane emerges, it is quite tender, juicy and fragile, after all, bamboo shoots are edible. It will reach 90% of it’s height within 2 months and then the leaves start opening from the top down and the cane hardens off. You can trim the canes to the desired height and they will stop growing and start to thicken up. So it may look like just a bare pole at first, but once the leaves emerge, rest assured your green screen is here!

Conversely, Running (Monopodial) Bamboo has stolons that grow out horizontally from the plant which is why it has a tendency to spread. If you want to stabilise a bank, fill a confined space such as a planter box, raised bed, edged garden etc, running bamboo can work well. Otherwise clumping bamboo is the preferred option. The only running bamboo we sell is Running Black which grows well in a cool spot in Adelaide, and loves the Adelaide Hills. Occasionally we have a few rare species in the nursery which suit Adelaide too.



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Fusca Bamboo, 12 months later

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China Gold 10 months later (above) and planting day Clarence Gardens, SA (below)

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