Dividing Container Bamboo

The following are the steps to dividing container bamboo plants into two.

Although dividing bamboos can also be done with planted bamboo, this article will concentrate on dividing a bamboo that has outgrown its pot and can be divided into two plants. I will cover the dividing of ground planted bamboos separately.

Pre Division

Before you start, give the plant a good soaking with water first so that it doesn't dry out while you are re-potting it.

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Container Bamboo Propagation
Container Bamboo Propagation

Container Bamboo Shoots
Container Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo Division Showing Roots
Bamboo Division Roots

  1. When you take the bamboo out of the pot you need to be careful not to damage any shoots that may be coming up against the inside of the container. Try to ease it out gently but if it is quite wedged in, gently press against the outside of the pot first, and then poke through the holes in the bottom of the pot with a blunt stick or narrow bamboo cane to ease the roots away within the bottom. If it is really too wedged in and won't slide out I suggest you carefully cut the pot away rather than damage the plant.
  2. Once out of the pot you will likely notice that there is a bunch of roots at the bottom that look old and dry. You can saw a slice off the bottom of the root ball to get rid of these old roots. I usually take off about an inch but you'll need to judge that accordingly.
  3. Have a good look at the root ball, the position of any new shoots that are under the soil level, and position of any rhizomes going around inside the pot.
  4. Assess where you could slice through the root ball with the least damage to the where the rhizomes are growing and while not cutting the rhizome where the result would orphan a new shoot. You want to leave the new growth shoots attached to the root ball if you can.
  5. Get your saw and cut straight through the whole root ball from side to side with the least amount of damage to the culms and rhizomes so that you have two distinct plants that have enough growth to re-establish quickly as separate plants.
  6. You should now have two 'D' shaped root balls.
  7. Put some drainage material into the bottom of the two pots you are transplanting into followed by some soil or compost to give something for the roots to go into at the bottom of the pot.
  8. Put each bamboo division into its new pot, ensuring that it is down a bit from the rim of the pot to  make sure you can water it without the water spilling over the edge, and then fill in around it with the well-draining compost

Now you have two bamboo plants ready for the growing season.

When dividing container bamboo don't try to get more than two plants out of one. If you try to split the root ball into three or four plants they will take a lot longer to establish than settling for two plants.

The most valuable part of bamboo is the rhizome system and if you split it into too many parts you will have to wait several seasons before they recover.

If you split your bamboo into only two plants the new divisions will get established quite quickly and you will soon see new shoots.

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More Tips


The above instructions go with those given on Bamboo Division. It is therefore a good idea to read the division page in conjunction with these steps as it provides additional information.

Readers contribution Bamboo in a Barrel, how can I move it - by Kim