Can you repot bamboo? Absolutely you can. As it’s a prolific grower, some gardeners decide to contain their valued specimens of bamboo inside, as well as to leave growing in outdoor soil. Using containers, it’s easy to repot bamboo where you wish without risking the plant taking over the whole garden! Knowing how to repot a bamboo plant, of course, is a particular art – and that’s why I’ve set up the following guide.
When repotting a bamboo plant, you’ll need to take care of container size, drainage, and aftercare. While these specimens do very well on their own, a little TLC never goes amiss. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know.
When to repot bamboo plants
Ideally, you should repot bamboo whenever you’re ready to create a new display, or when you want to bring it indoors! However, it’s normally not a good idea to split up plants while they are growing. Early spring is best for the hardier varieties, with early spring being best for your more tropical specimens.
If your bamboo is causing a commotion outside by overgrowing, or you’d simply like to free up more of the soil for other plants, it’s likely time to start making the move.
Potting up – The basics
Do you know where you’d like to place your bamboo indoors? It’s a good idea to select a pot and identify the best place to put it, before you put in the work. Of course, if you’ve come this far growing bamboo already, you may know what it needs in terms of sunlight, positioning from drafts, and pot size.
Regardless of your prior knowledge, if you are repotting a bamboo plant for indoor display, do remember to check the height of the pot or container – plus, allow height for your bamboo to potentially grow beyond its current height.
Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet – outdoors, height can be much less of a problem. Indoors, a pot on a table – or even a floor standing pot – may mean your bamboo can reach the ceiling! It’s worth considering your exact type of bamboo to measure its needs effectively.
If your bamboo is to remain indoors and increase in size, the container will also increase in weight. Compost, soil, and water can get heavy! Remember that, from time to time, you will need to move the container. Sometimes it’s best to replace terracotta pots with plastic ones, for example, if things get too heavy.
If you do this, it’s worth remembering that thin plastic heats up quicker than terracotta. Remember to not cook the roots of your treasured bamboo by sitting a plastic pot in direct sunlight!
Where to repot bamboo inside your home
Bamboo likes humidity and warmth, making it a great plant for the bathroom. If you have several individual plants or a collection to separate, why not consider planting them in a trough?
You could plant a row of bamboo which will make a stunning natural screen beside a shower, or a stand alongside a bath or wall. It will be more manageable to do this when plants are smaller. When your bamboo’s six feet tall and growing – you’re going to have very little elbow room!
Again, differences between types of bamboo will dictate where you can place them, and how you can work them into your space. Be sure to enquire when buying, or research your particular specimen further.
Repotting lucky bamboo
Keeping in mind the above – and as an example – let’s take a quick look at how you can prepare a pot and location indoors for lucky bamboo, one of the most common specimens. This is often grown in water over rocks.
Containers for lucky bamboo living in water need to be robust and stable. It’s best to place clean rocks at the bottom of the container and place the stems of your bamboo amongst them for support. Simply top up with water and then replace it if it evaporates quickly, or at least every two to three weeks.
With lucky bamboo, you should always make sure you repot into dechlorinated water. You’ll also need to feed your plant on appropriate bamboo food once every three months.
Lucky bamboo can be transplanted into good quality soil and will grow happily in a pot indoors. Choose a well-lit space – out of direct sunlight – and keep the soil moist. As your lucky bamboo increases in size, you may need to repot into a larger container.
Repotting a bamboo plant – Step by step guide
Once you’re clear on the type of bamboo you’d like to repot, it’s time to get stuck in. Here are a few steps you’re going to want to follow, once you’ve got your pot to hand!
- If moving bamboo from outside, choose a fine day – ideally early morning or evening – so you don’t expose tender roots to the burning sun. Work as close to the new pot as possible – this means less effort carrying for you and less mess, so bring your new container outside if you can.
- Clean the pot’s interior, and place rocks or gravel at the bottom to help drainage and anchor it. If your bamboo will grow under a canopy or ceiling of any kind, how much space is there between the top of the plant and the roof now? Is there space for at least a year’s growth, or do you foresee trimming? If the dimensions work for you, place some soil over the rocks to a level where your plant’s roots will still have space to grow.
- Carefully lift the bamboo from the ground or its current container and carefully check roots for pests and/or disease.
- Discard any rotten, damaged, or diseased roots, and rinse gently with a watering can if in doubt. It’s important not to replant diseases or pests into new growth mediums.
- Next, select any stems you wish to separate and then lower the ones for this new container onto the soil’s surface inside.
- If you are alone and need to help supporting the bamboo as you load in the rest of the soil, clean some empty plastic plant pots of various sizes and have them to hand. Simply flip them upside down against the stems of the bamboo to hold them gently in place as you add to the pot. You may wish to use six or more to help stabilize the wobbly stems.
- Then, it’s easy to lift one of the temporary plastic supports and replace the void with soil. Do this one at a time until the plastic pots have been removed, and your bamboo can stand alone, bedded in with newly added soil.
- Once bedded in, give the newly repotted bamboo plants a drink of water – but do not drench. Ensure the bamboo is supported with canes and string if you feel they are needed.
Aftercare tips for your repotted bamboo
Keep a close eye on your bamboo! Wilting may be due to a lack of – or even too much – water. Falling or discolored leaves, ditto – or, it may mean there’s a lack of nutrients. It’s good to feed your potted bamboo plants every four to six weeks with a liquid fertilizer during the growing season.
I recommend every six weeks to start with – working towards increased frequency. The nutrients in the soil will be depleted but not void! Over time, as roots expand below the surface, you will see stems and leaves expand above.