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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Growing bamboo indoors

After you see a huge stand of Bamboo growing wild in the tropics and swaying gracefully in the high breeze you might not think it remotely possible to have that in your own landscape. So, who says it can even grow indoors?  No way, you say.  Well, I’m here to say yes way. You can grow Bamboo indoors. Want to know how? You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t.

The one good thing about Bamboo is they are quite adaptable to container growing. They don’t mind being confined in a large tub. Of course, this only holds true of those Bamboo more suited to growing somewhat lower than your ceiling height. Therefore getting the right cultivar is crucial. For indoor cultivation the Bamboo likes cool temperatures,  bright sun though not necessarily direct. At the end of a winter they could look a bit scraggly and sickly but then don’t we all when confined to the indoors for too long? Just take the pot of Bamboo out for a bit of a vacation on the back patio to revitalize it and don’t worry about it being root bound. Bamboo is one of the only plants that actually does like to be rootbound in order to preform better. If, however, it does look a bit too cramped in the pot take it out and trim away some of the rhizomes which will be twirling all around the pot. When taking it outside for the spring and summer months watch that you don’t shock it with sudden temperature changes. Ease it into the outdoors and again ease it into the indoors once autumn temps start dropping.

Phyllostachys Aurea, the Golden Bamboo, is one especially good for container growing. It is hardy, meaning without leaf damage, to zone 7 . The roots if mulched could sustain another zone colder but for all other colder areas, it would do fine overwintering  indoors. This one is a running type of Bamboo which gets 6-10 feet high when confined grown in poor quality, dry soil without feeding.

Pleioblatus Varigata, the Dwarf White-stripe Bamboo, grows 1-3 feet high and looks very nice in a tub whether indoors or out. It is a rather fast growing Bamboo but can adapt to container life.

Bambusa Multiplex, Golden Goddess Bamboo is a clump forming plant getting 6-10 feet tall. Good for high ceilings in a foyer. Stems are golden, dense and arch gracefully. Hardy to zone 8.

Semiarundinaria Fastuosa, Narihira Bamboo, a running type, grows 8-10 feet high with very rigid culms 1 1/4 inches in diameter. This is a slow spreader and easily kepp to a clump form outdoors too. Hardy to zone 6.

For all those living too far north or simply frightened by the Bamboo’s reputation of being an invasive plant, growing them in containers and bringing them in for the winter is the best of both worlds.

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