Bamboo Division

Bamboo division can be carried out using container bamboo or by dividing bamboo plants from the ground.

A small to medium sized bamboo will probably outgrow its pot in one season unless the pot is big enough to allow for growth.

Large bamboos need very large containers to achieve optimal health and potential of the plant.

If you buy bamboo from a garden nursery it will probably need to be planted out or re-potted fairly soon.

Season

Whether it is the right season to divide your plant will depend on your climate and location. Dividing in the wrong season may have disastrous results for beginners.

Before Growing Season

Propagation by division
Bamboo shoots - propagation by division

If it is before the beginning of the growing season and you can tell from feeling around the outside of the pot that the rhizomes are pushing against the side, you should be able to divide the bamboo into two before the bamboo growth and new shoots start.

Middle of Growing Season

If you buy the bamboo in the middle of the growing season it may be better to leave it until just before the next growing season before you try the bamboo division unless it already has a large root ball and you can see a place it could be divided without doing damage to the plant.

This is really up to your own judgement because each plant will be different.

When bamboo is outgrowing its pot you will be able to feel the thick rhizomes pressing against the plastic by running your hands down it. If you feel bumps you know it's trying to get out!

If you don't think you could carry out bamboo division because it would cause damage to the shoots, transplant it into a bigger pot and divide later in the season or just before the next season.

End of Growing Season

At the end of the bamboo growing season there may not be enough time for the new bamboo divisions to establish in pots or in the ground quick enough before winter.

Bamboo Propagation

If that is the case you may prefer to put your plant somewhere sheltered where it is protected from any severe weather and re-pot it or plant it out just before the spring.

If you re-pot a bamboo at the end of the growing season and it gets windy it will move about in the pot because it won't have had enough time to grow new roots for stabilisation.

Tools

Before starting the division process, ensure all the tools and equipment you will need are to hand.

Not everything on this list may be needed; it all depends on how big the bamboo is and whether it is in a container or in the ground.

Pots

Two pots the right size. It is better if the new pots are bigger than the one the plant is in because it will give the bamboo division room to grow and establish quicker. It will also mean you won't have to go through this process again very soon.

Saw (hand saw or electric, whichever you prefer)

Garden pruners or secateurs, and Shears may also be useful

Axe (not needed for smaller plants but may be needed for a large ground planted bamboo)

Water (to keep the root ball moist)

Plastic sheet for wrapping root balls to make sure it doesn't dry out, particularly if one division has to wait while you put the other in a pot.

Stones for in the bottom of the pot to aid drainage and give weight

Well-draining soil or compost mix

Trowel

Sharp Spade (if digging the plant out)

An assistant or helper!

Next... Steps

Bamboo Division of Spectabilis

Follow the steps on these pages to divide container or clumping bamboo.

Dividing Container Bamboo

Dividing Clumping Bamboo

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