Known for its tendency to spread and grow very quickly, bamboo is a plant that needs transplanting every few years to maintain its health and avoid root constriction. So how to repot a bamboo plant?
The steps are straightforward enough. Simply remove it from its current container, put it into a bigger pot with a new potting mix, then water the planting medium. Read below for further details.
Table of Contents
- What is a Bamboo Plant?
- Guide to Repot a Bamboo Plant
- Tips to Care for and Propagate Lucky Bamboo
- How to Propagate Lucky Bamboo
What is a Bamboo Plant?
Bamboo is a perennial grass from the Bambusoideae family. It is primarily native to Asia, with the exception of canebrake bamboo, a small group of Arundinaria plants that originate from North America.
Bamboo has had many practical uses throughout human history, from being used as food and paper to functioning as building materials and cooking utensils.
Guide to Repot a Bamboo Plant
What to prepare
- Newspaper or tablecloth
- 70% to 100% rubbing alcohol
- Potting mix and bucket to hold the mix
Prepare equal parts of composted manure and pumice, plus three times as much potting soil. A commercial product like Miracle-Gro’s Moisture Control will work as well.
- Sphagnum moss or bark mulch
- Gravel to improve drainage
- A new pot
Go for a 20-gallon pot at the minimum. If your bamboo has already outgrown this size, opt for a 30-gallon container. Ensure there is at least one drainage hole that’s 0.5 to 1 inch in diameter.
As for pot materials, choose plastic or synthetics for superior insulation. If you dislike heavy containers, avoid clay, concrete, and ceramic. Meanwhile, only metal will be sturdy enough to withstand the strong roots of running bamboo. Any material will do for those who can’t afford to be picky.
Step 1: Cover your table or floor with newspaper or a piece of cloth.
Do this step before repotting bamboo, so you won’t have to do any cleaning after you’re done.
Step 2: Prepare the new container and potting mix.
Combine the manure, pumice, and potting soil you prepared to make a potting mix. Alternatively, use a commercial product of your choice and follow its instructions.
Lay two inches of gravel at the bottom of the container, then fill ⅓ of it with the potting mix. Leave the rest of the blend untouched; we’ll use it later.
Step 3: Remove the bamboo and trim or divide it if necessary.
Lift the bamboo from its current pot. Upend the container if you need to so that gravity will do its job.
Once you’ve removed the plant, loosen the roots to eliminate tangles and trim off all diseased parts. It’s vital that you disinfect your saw or whatever cutting tool you use before and between cuts. Simply dip the tool into rubbing alcohol—no need to rinse it.
After prepping the bamboo, you may also divide it instead of repotting it in its entirety. Separate the plant into different sections, but ensure each one has at least three stalks and functional roots.
Step 4: Replant a bamboo plant.
Put your bamboo into its new home. The top of the roots should be at least one inch below the rim, so pour in as much soil as necessary. As you position the bamboo, make sure it’s in the middle of the container.
Gently press the planting mix and water the medium until moisture drips from the container. Afterward, sprinkle 0.5 inch of sphagnum moss on top of the potting mix. If you use mulch, opt for two inches of bark instead.
Check the pot every three to four days and water if the planting medium is dry. Give your bamboo indirect sunlight, unless you have a large variety like Golden bamboo, which requires five hours of direct light per day.
Tips to Care for and Propagate Lucky Bamboo
Despite its name, lucky bamboo belongs to a different botanical family compared to real bamboo. This plant is a water lily with a scientific name of Dracaena sanderiana.
Meanwhile, the bamboo most people know of has three tribes or subfamilies instead, which are Arundinarieae, Bambuseae, and Olyreae.
If you don’t have the space for regular bamboo, lucky bamboo is worth considering. It looks similar to its grass counterpart but only reaches about three feet in height.
If you have this plant, check out the tips below to propagate and care for it.
How to Propagate Lucky Bamboo
It’s easy to grow lucky bamboo from cuttings. Simply find a healthy parent stalk with at least two nodes and remove its offshoot. The offshoot, which should be four to six inches in length, will be used to propagate the bamboo.
With the plant part acquired, cut off the leaves at the lower half of the shoot and place it in a pot with cactus soil. The node at the bottom should sink into the soil before you water it. Similar to regular bamboo, lucky bamboo will need indirect light as well.
- You may put the cutting in water if you can’t acquire soil right away. If the waiting time extends beyond one week, remember to change the water. Use chlorine-free, filtered liquid for plant health, and avoid submerging the leaves at the top of the shoot.
- It’s necessary to move the bamboo from water to soil after several years at most, if not months.
- Give lucky bamboos a temperature of 65 to 90℉ and water when the top inch of the soil is dry.
- Avoid placing them near heat or draft sources, such as windows and vent holes.
- Repot lucky bamboo if you over-fertilized it or if the plant has become root-bound.
Steps To Create A Simple Lucky Bamboo Display
Aside from transplanting lucky bamboo, you may want to channel your creativity and craft an elegant decor using the plant. To do this, follow the steps below.
Tie three bamboo cuttings together and put them in a bowl with pebbles.
- Pour water into the bowl. Note that you should change the water weekly to ensure plant health.
When should I repot my bamboo plant?
Transplant a bamboo plant if it has thick, circular rhizomes that form a knot or poke through the container holes.
Low water retention, yellow leaves, and stagnant growth are also characteristics of a root bound bamboo that needs repotting.
On the whole, it’s best to move your plant in late fall or winter, approximately every three to five years. Divide and repot your large indoor bamboo plant during its dormancy to minimize root disturbance.
What kind of soil does a bamboo plant need?
Bamboos prefer light, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. For plants in pots, avoid bagged soils with a high filler content and landscape mixes. Instead, opt for commercial potting mediums with ingredients like sand, perlite, fine bark, compost, and peat.
If you use in-ground soil, there are ways to amend it so that bamboo can grow better. Clay soil, for instance, will improve with some compost and sand or lava rock. Loamy soil will also benefit from the addition of organic material.
Do you plant bamboo in soil or rocks?
Bamboos don’t grow well in rocks. Lucky bamboo can thrive in this terrain, but as mentioned above, this plant is actually a water lily and not a grass.
At best, you can help your bamboo adapt to rocky soil by mulching and adding compost to it, but success isn’t guaranteed. So, don’t put your plant in gravel and pebbles if you can avoid it.
Hopefully, the steps above have given you a clear idea of how to repot a bamboo plant. If you have any more questions, feel free to leave a comment or send us a message.
And remember: repot in the morning or evening if you intend to put your container outdoors. Bamboos don’t handle harsh sunlight very well.