Bamboo in pots

Bamboo`s shallow roots suit containers

planter pot

The first concern is to keep the root zone sweet, with good drainage*

Mulch on top allows roots to grow right up to the soil surface

Under the mulch use 300-350 mm (12″ – 14″), of premium grade potting mix.

Under the potting mix use 50 -100 mm (2″ – 4″) of coarse, washed, river sand to match space available. The coarse sand will capture fine particles, protecting the geo-textile filter cloth, Get the coarsest grade geo-cloth available, or use some fine shade-cloth.

The filter-cloth encases the coarse sand and the potting mix. 
Trim it off, to finish out of sight.

Use a piece of drainage cell at the base, covering the drainage hole.

Food and Water

In containers, bamboo is your prisoner – have some humanity.

Use slow release fertiliser including trace elements. In growing weather, liquid seaweed is a good tonic. more

Spring is when the fast growing, new shoots of Running Bamboo emerge. Summer is shooting time for Clumping Bamboo.

Use a slow release fertilizer suitable for grass. ‘Osmocote Plus’ is good, the ‘plus’ stands for trace elements, these help a lot. A container is an unnatural environment for bamboo. Like a gold fish in a bowl, nowhere to forage. Please provide a regular source of plant nutrient.

Spring and summer, feed a small amount each month, rather than a lot at once.

In fact never feed a lot, it burns the bamboo and leaches into the waterways where lots, from lots of people makes water bad.

One more time.
Because growth is rapid bamboo should be fed regularly over the growing season. In pots the root zone should be kept moist. Not wet!


Troughs can squeeze in along narrow passageways and for privacy on balconies.

Smaller pot size will reduce the stature of bamboo.
Smaller growing bamboo can happily grow in a narrow planter, minimum width around 250mm (10″).
Taller species need a wider trough. 300mm, or 350mm if using drainage cell on the sides of the trough.

Ensure that the trough is watered evenly and that it is raised from the ground to ensure good drainage.

temple bamboo trough

This is Temple bamboo inside

What bamboo in pots?

Giant Buddha Belly, Wamin
Golden Bamboo
Slender Weavers
Temple Bamboo
Malay Pygmy
Walking stick
Red Tongue
Fortune Inviting Bamboo

What about re-potting your bamboo

bamboo in pots
B v Vittata in the street

When your pot is just full of roots and it takes forever to water – and its never enough, it’s probably re-potting time. You can divide the plant at this time. Just saw the root-ball with a hand saw.

The first concern is to keep the roots moist while work is underway.
1st. Soak the root-ball in water for a few hours. This will fully hydrate the bamboo.
– Saw off the bottom inch or two (25 – 50mm) of the root-ball. This will encourage new growth.
You can saw off some of the side roots if required to fit into the new pot.
– Ensure good drainage through the drainage holes in the new container.
– Use a premium grade potting mix. To buffer the bamboo against drying out you can include a 30 mm layer of hydrated, water crystals mixed with potting mix around 50 mm (2″), from the bottom of the pot.
Make sure you soak the crystals prior to use.
Incorporate slow release fertiliser into the soil.
– Top dress with a little pelletised chicken manure and water well. Water well again after a few hours and on the following few days.


horizontal culms

‘Katsura’. Our pot for bamboo

For a large patio – At the top of a stairway – Beside a wide entrance

katsura pot

Shaped for bamboos’ shallow growth and for ease of maintenance. Its beauty is accidental.

Vital statistics: 820mm wide x 255mm high. 75 litre capacity.

Stable and lightweight.

Bamboo in this photo: Walking-stick.

horizontal culms

* More on drainage
Deeper than 300 – 350 mm deep (12″ – 14″), the soil can become anaerobic in cold weather. No oxygen, smells bad!
Most professional growers understand this. It takes bright sparks like Humberto Uriolla at Atlantis, to think the problem all the way through to the solution.