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Make Best Soil for Growing Bamboo Plants

    Most runner and clump-forming bamboos that grow in the UK will thrive if they are planted in well-prepared soil with good moisture. In this article, we identify the best soil for growing bamboo and how to make them.

    We also suggest what you can do to improve soil fertility if the soil lacks nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).

    Best soil for growing bamboos – loam soil

    Although bamboo plants can grow well in any soil type when grown in the garden, growing them in pots requires some attention to detail.

    The bamboo roots and rhizomes dislike waterlogged pots, soggy soil and dry-compacted soil. Do not use sandy and porous soil because water passes through it very quickly. Also, avoid using hard and compacted soil high in clay.

    The best soil to grow bamboos in pots and containers is loamy soil topped with a humus-rich layer 5cm– 10cm. A loam soil contains a mixture of clay, sand and silt; not too much clay or sand and are fertile and well-drained.

    How to prepare loam soil

    Humus and loamy soil are best for growing bamboo plants in pots. The mixture of clay, sand and silt creates the right condition for retaining moisture without waterlogging and is ideal for growing new bamboo.

     The loam soil is not easily available, but you can make a good mixture using sand, silt, and clay in the ratio of 1 : 1: 1. As a general rule, loam soil should consist of equal parts of all three soil types. For example, 3kg of sand to 3kg of silt to 3kg of clay.

    The best time to plant bamboo is early Spring because new shoots and rhizomes grow at this time. If you are re-potting an old bamboo plant, make sure that the root hairs and rhizomes remain intact for the plant.

    6 steps for growing bamboo in loam soil

    1. Choose a decent size pot for your bamboo plants.
    2. Lay the bottom of the pot with pebbles or a porous sheath to prevent the potting mix from falling out and making a mess.
    3. Add the loam soil into the pot or container.
    4. Plant the soil in the pot or container and firm down the soil, careful not to break the new shoots and rhizome tips.
    5. Add hummus, and use compost or mulch around the bamboo to a depth of 5cm – 10cm.
    6. Water generously.

    Three requirements for growing healthy bamboo plants

    Soil with good moisture content and rich in nutrients are ideal for growing new bamboo in pots or containers. But how do we know that the soil is fit for the new bamboo to grow?

    Although matured bamboos are not fussy about where they grow, the new bamboo plants are. They must grow in soil rich in nutrients and moisture in order to survive their first year.

    If you want to give your new bamboo plants a good start, you must consider the three requirements.

    • Use well-prepared soil rich in moisture and nutrients: use loam soil, topped with mulch to reduce water loss.
    • Choose the right variety of bamboo: Select the variety that grows well in pots and containers in the UK.
    •  Select the right size pot or container: Choose a large pot with proper drainage holes. As the bamboos reach the first or second year of growth, you do not need to worry about them because they’ll thrive when they establish a good root system, strong culms (stems) and leaves.

    Bamboo plants that thrive in UK soil

    The table shows the common varieties of bamboo plants that thrive in the UK. It shows the average height and spread (diameter) and where they grow well (suitability). Hope it helps to choose the plant you want to grow.

    Variety and Common Name 


    Fargesia murielae Simba

    Umbrella Bamboo Simba 

    Small gardens, pots and containers

    Fargesia murielae Winter Joy

    Umbrella Bamboo Winter Joy 

    Gardens, pots and containers

    Phyllostachys nigra

    Black Bamboo 

    Garden, driveway and privacy screen

    Phyllostachys Aureocaulis

    Spectabilis Bamboo

    Garden, driveway and privacy screen

    Bambusa Textilis Gracilis


    Privacy screen, hedge, garden feature, pots and containers

    Fargesia Murielae

    Green bamboo Jumbo

    Privacy screen, hedge, garden feature, pots and containers

    Giant Timber Bamboo Phyllostachys Bambusoides

    Ideal for a walkthrough, large garden, or woodland forest

    Improve soil for better bamboos

    The first 5 – 12 months of a bamboo’s life in a pot or container is crucial. It will need care and attention to ensure the soil remains moist and the condition is perfect for the plants to grow. best soil for growing bamboo in pots and garden

    • Water: Bamboo plants in pots will require more water than those grown in the ground. Give the plant a generous amount of water, but not too much that it runs out the bottom.
    • Feed: Bamboos in pots need nitrogen-rich organic liquid feed (such as Universal Granule Fertilisers). Add mulch such as small barks or grass cutting mixed with small twigs and branches if necessary.
    • Check: No pruning is necessary for the first 12 months after planting your bamboo. Check and remove weeds, insects, and dust on the leaves.
    • Care: monitor the leaves of the bamboo as they are good indicators of the plant’s health.
    • Soil condition: If you think that your bamboo plant is struggling, push a stick or small metal through the top (10cm – 15cm) layer of the soil to get an idea about its condition.
      Bamboo genera for pots, shade or part-shade

    Grow new bamboo plants

    Check out this article on Bamboo Plants that Thrive in UK Gardens, it is an insightful take on how to identify and grow new bamboo plants.

    We hope this article inspires you to grow your own Bamboo plant in the garden and enjoy the beauty of this amazing plant.

    If you have any questions, comments, corrections or requests feel free to reach out to us via our social media pages or comment below. We would be delighted to hear from you.

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