How to Propagate Bamboo

Bamboo is a dense, woody grass that is used to make furniture and flooring. They can be used as large ornamental plants or as a dense privacy barrier in your garden. If you already have bamboo, you can easily propagate it by taking cuttings from the culms, which are the main stalks, or the rhizomes, which are the root system.

Method 1 Propagating Culm Cuttings

1. Choose and sterilise the proper tool for cutting the bamboo. The tool you use will be determined by how thick and robust your bamboo is. If you have thin bamboo, a sharp knife may suffice. If your bamboo is tougher, you might need to use a handsaw. Before you use any tool, sterilise it with household disinfectants such as diluted bleach or rubbing alcohol.

If you’re going to use bleach to sterilise your tool, dilute it first with water. For every 32 parts water, 1 part bleach should be used. Use 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of bleach for every 1/2 litre (0.13 US liquid gallon) of water, or 4 fluid ounces per US gallon.

2. Cut a 10-inch-long (25-cm) piece of bamboo at a 45-degree angle. Each piece of bamboo you cut should have at least three or four nodes, which are the rings that wrap around the stalk. If you want to grow bamboo from a cutting, it should be at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.

3. One end of the cutting should be treated with a rooting hormone. When you replant the cutting, the rooting hormone will aid in the development of the roots. Dip the bamboo end into the hormone and shake off any excess. Root growth hormone is available in powder form at any gardening store.

4. Apply 18 inch (3.2 mm) of soft wax around the exposed end’s rim. Make use of a soft wax, such as soy wax or beeswax. The wax will keep the stalk from rotting or drying out. Make certain that the centre hole is not covered with wax.

5. Bury the cutting 1 node deep in potting soil in a pot. For each cutting, a small nursery pot will suffice. Insert the bamboo into the potting soil until one of the nodes is completely buried. Firmly press the soil around the bamboo to remove any air pockets.

6. Using a spray bottle, thoroughly mist the soil. The soil should be moist to the touch and saturated, but not muddy. Make sure the soil is wet by inserting your finger up to the first knuckle.

7. Water should be poured into the centre of the cutting. While moist soil encourages root development, pouring water into the centre of the stalk will provide additional water to your cutting. As it grows, check the water level every two days and keep the centre mostly filled with water.

8. Keep the pots in a warm, out-of-the-way location and water them on a daily basis. While growing, bamboo cuttings should be kept mostly in the shade, but a little light throughout the day is fine. Check the soil on a daily basis to ensure that it is moist. Water should not be allowed to sit on top of the soil. Too much water will cause any developing roots to rot.

A plastic bag can be placed over the cutting to help the plant retain moisture, though this is not required for it to grow.

9. After 4 months, transplant the bamboo. Within 3 to 4 weeks, you should notice your cutting’s height increasing and more branches emerging from the nodes. After 4 months in the pot, you can transplant the cutting into the ground.

With a hand shovel or trowel, gently loosen the soil in the pot so that it can be easily removed. Put the bamboo in a hole that is slightly bigger than the bamboo root system. Replace the soil around the bamboo and thoroughly water it.

Method 2 Keeping Cuttings in Water

1. Take 10-inch-long (25-centimeter) cuttings from new bamboo growth. Cuttings should have at least two nodes and two culms (the areas between the nodes). With a sharp knife, cut the bamboo at a 45° angle as best you can.

Before cutting the bamboo stalk, sterilise the knife with household disinfectants such as diluted bleach or rubbing alcohol.

2. In a well-lit area, immerse the bottom node in a pot of water. The bottom node should be completely submerged so that roots can grow as much as possible. Keep the bamboo in an area with 6 hours of indirect sunlight and temperatures above 55 °F (13 °C).

If possible, use a clear container to see how the roots grow.

3. Every two days, change the water. Standing water quickly loses oxygen, especially if you try to grow bamboo in it. Changing the water ensures that your plant continues to receive the nutrients it requires to grow.

4. When the roots are 2 inches (5.1 cm) long, transfer the cutting to a pot. The roots from your cutting will take several weeks to develop. When the roots are 2 inches (5.1 cm) long, you can transplant the cutting into a pot or the ground to continue growing. 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep, plant the cutting.

Method 3 Growing New Bamboo from Rhizomes

1. Using a gardening knife, cut off a portion of the rhizome with 2-3 growth buds. Remove the dirt from your bamboo plant’s root system with care. Locate a section of the rhizome with two or three growth buds, or the areas where stalks grow. To collect the rhizome, you may need to cut the stalks down. Remove the portion with a sharp knife.

Any rhizomes with a dark or patchy appearance should be avoided. These are symptoms of disease or pest infestation. As a result, such rhizomes will not grow as well.

Collecting rhizomes from an established bamboo clump is the only way to protect your existing bamboo.

2. Place the rhizome in a pot horizontally, with the buds facing up. In the pot, add a layer of potting soil. Place the side with the bamboo stalks facing up. Keep the stalk ends out of the soil if you left some of the stalk attached to the rhizome.

3. 3 inches (7.6 cm) of potting soil should be applied to the rhizome. Bury the rhizome to allow it to develop and grow. Firmly press on the soil to ensure complete contact with the rhizome.

4. Using a watering can, water the soil. The soil should be deeply moist, but no muddy water should be present on the surface. Make sure the soil is damp by sticking your finger down to the second knuckle.

Every other day, use your finger to check the moisture level of your soil. If the soil feels dry, water the rhizome until it is damp but not soaked.

The rhizome will rot if there is too much water. Avoid overwatering the soil.

5. For 4-6 weeks, place the pots in the shade. Keep the planter away from direct sunlight. It is best kept next to a shady exterior wall or under the shade of a large tree. It will take 4 to 6 weeks for your bamboo to sprout and grow back through the soil.

When nighttime temperatures are consistently above 55 °F (13 °C), bamboo grown from rhizomes can be replanted.

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