How to Grow Bamboo From Cuttings

Bamboo varieties run the gamut from 18-inch pygmy bamboo to the 100-plus foot timber bamboos. However, all can be propagated from cuttings. Although bamboo may sometimes look like a shrub or tree, all true bamboos are actually members of the grass family, which is one reason they are so easy to propagate.


Bamboo Growth Patterns

Bamboo have a distinct growth period. When culms push out of the ground, they are already at their full diameter. They reach their full height in about 60 days and grow only in spring and early summer. After that, the plant puts its energy into root development. You’ll have better luck with making stem and culm cuttings during the growth period. Root cuttings will do better in summer.

Getting Organized

It’s important to prepare what you need ahead of time, especially with rhizome cuttings, which don’t like sunlight or exposure to air. Collect or prepare:

  • A sharp, clean knife, scissors and pruning shears.
  • Pots or a bed for the cuttings.
  • Rooting hormone.
  • A hose or other water source.
  • Shade cloth or lath for the new transplants.
  • Flat-bladed shovel.

Culm Cuttings

Water the plant until the soil is completely saturated the day before you take cuttings. Choose a culm that is two to four years old. Cut the culm horizontally at ground level. Make one or more stem cuttings that include at least two nodes. Seal cut edges with melted wax to prevent rot. Dip cuttings in root hormone and plant in potting soil.

Rhizome Cuttings

Cut selected culms to the ground. Drive a sharp, flat-bladed shovel straight down into the root mass to cut out a section. Rinse off soil around the rhizomes and cut into sections with two or three growth buds on each piece. Discard rhizomes that look dark or mushy. Lay rhizomes horizontally in prepared pots with growth buds facing up; cover with three inches of soil.

Caring for the New Plants

Water the newly transplanted cuttings or rhizomes. Place transplants in light shade during the day. If the weather is still cool – especially at night – a heating coil or mat may help promote growth. Cover each pot with a plastic bag. You should not need to water for the first week. After that, remove the plastic bag and water whenever the top inch of soil feels dry.

Growing On

Your new plants should develop roots in about six weeks. Harden them off by exposing to outdoor temperatures for at least a week. Transplant to their new containers or growing beds and water in well. Be careful not to over-water. Don’t fertilize until they are at least three months old.