How to Grow Bamboo as a Houseplant
Bamboo is traditionally considered an outdoor plant, but under the right conditions, certain varieties will thrive indoors and can become the most interesting centerpiece in your home. What are these conditions? The factors vary between bamboo species, but here are some general rules of (green) thumb.
- Of utmost importance is correct daily sunlight exposure. Most bamboo require at least six hours of direct sun per day. While some varieties tolerate more shade, the more sunlight you can offer, in general, the happier the plant. The ideal spot is in an atrium or greenhouse where light and humidity can be higher.
- Proper watering is a key factor. Bamboo is susceptible to and can be damaged from over-watering. This is the most common reason for an indoor bamboo’s demise. Also make sure the pot drains properly and has sizeable holes to enable excess water to flow out. Another suggestion is to use a spray bottle and mist the plant daily to keep it healthily humidified.
- Bamboo likes to eat, too. Because your bamboo is living in a pot and will be depleting nutrients every time it’s watered, you should be feeding it with a high nitrogen fertilizer to keep it green and lush. An organic lawn fertilizer will also work.
- Fresh air is greatly appreciated. If possible, bring your potted bamboo outside for a bit to get direct light from the sun, and to get a shower to help wash off any dust and bug intruders.
- Consider the pot you plant it in. At some point you will need to repot your bamboo because the rapidly growing rhizomes will completely fill the container. Therefore we recommend using one that has a squat shape and widens at the top for easier plant removal.
Best Bamboo Varieties to Try Indoors
Bambusa ventricosa ‘Buddha’s Belly’. Grows from 5 to 15 feet tall. This bamboo grows with unique, zigzagging bloated culms, giving it its common name, and the bulginess is a direct result of the plant’s water stress level—the less water, the more the plant “bellies out.” This variety is very adaptable to a wide range of conditions and even makes an interesting bonsai specimen.
Chimonobambusa quadrangularis ‘Yellow Grove’, a.k.a. Square stem bamboo. This variety is upright with graceful foliage and yellow-grooved, square culms. Grows 8 to 10 feet tall and requests optimal light.
Pseudosasa japonica ‘Japanese Arrow Bamboo’. A surprisingly happy indoor bamboo. A profusion of slim culms grow tightly together and adorn this tough plant. This is a more shade-tolerant variety because of its larger leaves.