Caring for Bamboo Plants

Caring for bamboo plants will cover a lot of the things you need to consider to have success in cultivation and care of bamboo in your garden.

Your care program should include the following according to the species, climate, weather, soil type, fertilizer, and other factors referred to on this page such as mulching.

Giving a bit of time to bamboo through regular garden care will ensure a much healthier and better looking bamboo.


Bamboo Screen

Although the majority of mature bamboo may not require a lot of water to survive, depending on the species, they will still need access to a water supply.

Young or newly planted bamboo plant care will mean watering regularly until they have become established, particularly in hot weather or dry winds.

As a guide, give 1/2 gallon to plants under the 5 gallon container size, and at least 1 gallon for plants over the 5 gallon container size.

Once it has grown to maturity it can survive on less water but until then you must ensure it does not dry out, every day if necessary.

All bamboos will benefit from good mulch for nutrients and mulching will also help retain water in the ground, stop it from drying out so quickly in sun or wind.

If you plan to grow bamboos on a continually wet plot of land or area prone to a dry climate, study the individual species requirements before you buy. Some do really well with a lot of water supply to the roots but others will thrive in drier climatic conditions.


When planted in a suitable location most bamboos don't really need to have a lot of fertilizer but as with any plants, they do benefit from it and you will achieve better results if it is applied.

Organic fertilizer will help achieve an attractive, healthy and vigorous growing plant. Lawn fertilizer also gets good results as it is high in nitrogen.

Don't give them seaweed fertilizer as most bamboo don't like it!


Large and mature bamboos may not be so prone to competitive weeds but the newly planted, young, or small species, will need to be watched and the area may need periodical weeding.

Although weeds may be few in established groves, a bit of weeding is all part of the care of bamboo process.

Fallen Leaves

A substantial number of the leaves of these plants will usually yellow and fall off in the spring. This is quite normal so don't be concerned. Even evergreen plants lose and renew their leaves in the spring.

Do not to rake or sweep up the bamboo leaves from under the plant unless you desperately need to. They protect the soil, roots and rhizomes from becoming too hot, cold, and dry as they keep the soil soft, and moist, and also recycle silica and other natural chemicals necessary to the bamboo.

Leaves make very good mulch, and caring for bamboo plants is not so intensive if you have applied a mulch.


It is also a forest plant that does best with good mulch over its roots. If you leave fallen leaves where they lay under the plant they will keep the soil moist and soft, and recycle natural chemicals that are needed good bamboo growth.

If you don't like to see fallen leaves it can be a good idea to plant a shade loving low ground cover that will allow the leaves to fall through but will hide them from view at the same time.

Ideal mulch would be; grass - it is high in nitrogen and silica, commercial compost, manure (not fresh and not too hot), tree chippings.

As well as providing nutrients, bamboo plant care using good thick mulch will help protect soil, and roots, from becoming too dry or too cold in varied climates.

Winter Protection

For young bamboo plants that have been planted late in the year and are about to face their first winter, spread heavy mulch around the plants and provide some protection from cold and drying winds.

Plants that are already established can usually be successfully protected through the winter with heavy mulch. This will keep the soil soft during periods of extreme cold and in an established bamboo grove it can protect the soil from becoming frozen solid.

Caring for bamboo plants in containers during winter should include placing them in a sheltered position out of extreme frosts to prevent the soil freezing solid for long periods.

See Bamboo Plant in Winter for more.

Position, Location, and Planting

When choosing locations to plant your bamboo you need to keep it in mind that different species have different requirements according to sun, shade, water, weeds, and wind.

Plant Bamboo has tips on where to locate your bamboo in the garden and how to plant it.