The Right Environment
The key to growing any plant in the home is to provide it with similar growing conditions to those found in the wild. In the case of bamboo, this generally means warm temperatures – most bamboos are tropical plants – adequate moisture and rich, well-drained soil. The most important factor, however, is providing the right kind and amount of light while avoiding excessive direct sunlight.
Varieties for Indoor Growth
The following bamboos have proven to be good choices for growing indoors:
- Pleioblastus distichus – from Japan, mature height six inches.
- Raddia brasiliensis – Brazilian native, to two feet.
- Bambusa multiplex – native to China, three feet tall.
- Otatea acuminata ssp. aztecorum – native to Mexico, 12 feet tall.
- Thrysostachys siamensis – found in Thailand, Burma, China, grows to 20 feet.
Bamboo Location Indoors
Only a few bamboos can really tolerate the low-light conditions typically found in a home. These are most likely to be smaller understory plants that grow in dappled shade. Try a sunny windowsill with a translucent shade or blinds so you can protect the plants from direct sun. Monitor carefully – if the plants lose leaves, fail to thrive or turn yellow, they may need more light.
Special Indoor Rooms
A home with an atrium, sun room or attached greenhouse will be most likely to provide the conditions you need to grow bamboo indoors. All of these are more likely to offer the kind or bright indirect light in which bamboo does best. You may need shades or screens to prevent excessive direct sunlight, especially in summer or desert areas. Provide humidity as necessary.
In addition to lighting issues, if you’re growing lucky bamboo – Draceana sanderiana – you may want to consider feng shui principles. Proper placement in the home is thought to attract benefits. Placing lucky bamboo in the east will attract health for the family. The south-east zone of the house is considered best for money and wealth.
When growing bamboo indoors, you must approximate the native conditions for best plant health. Keep the temperature within the range preferred by the plant or plants you are growing. While most bamboos are tropical or semi-tropical, some prefer cooler climates. Don’t over-water, especially in the dormant season of late fall and winter. Repot as necessary – usually once every year or two.