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How to grow bamboo plants [Stem and Rhizome Cuttings]

Yellow Bamboo UK Phyllostachys Sulphurea Viridis

This article is about how to grow bamboo plants.

The plants are of two different types – Running Bamboo and Clump-forming Bamboo plants. The preparation techniques for growing Runner Bamboos are different from the Clump-forming bamboo plants.

Grow bamboo plants from cuttings

Take care when separating bamboo rhizomes. Use a hacksaw (or a pair of garden loopers) and cut at 45 degrees angle, 5 – 10 cm away from the node.  Avoid splitting them.

  • The best time for planting bamboo cuttings is in early Spring as the new bamboo shoots sprout during this time.
  • Take extra care when taking the new cuttings off an old bamboo plant to preserve the parent plant.
  • Treat the new cuttings delicately for them to grow. Read on to find out how to grow bamboo plants from the cuttings.
best soil for growing bamboo in pots and garden

How to grow bamboo plants [Stem and Rhizome Cuttings]

Read about the bamboo best plants to grow in pots

Preparing and planting new bamboo cuttings

The new cuttings will die if you do not put them immediately into water, or plant them in pots and containers.

It is perhaps important to have the following tools and materials available before taking the bamboo cuttings of bamboo plants.

Preparation: Tools you need to prepare bamboo cuttings

  • Watering can
  • Spade for shifting the soil.
  • Pickaxe or garden fork for digging the rhizomes.
  • Hacksaw or a pair of secateurs for cutting the culms and rhizomes.

Planting: Materials you will need to plant bamboo cuttings

  • Soil
  • Bark or organic materials for mulch
  • Pots and containers for planting the bamboo cuttings.
  • Rainwater or tapwater (avoid using chlorinated water)

Hand tools/Uses


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Wrecking bar: Provides leverage for removing tough rhizomes, roots or blocks.

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Pickaxe: Dismantles rhizomes and clumps.

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Handsaw/Loppers: Cuts culms to propagate.

Gardening Tool Offers

Sharp garden spade: Digs/cuts small rhizomes and roots, clears dirt.

Pedigree spade is ideal for narrow spaces.


Garden rake/hoe: Clears soil and dirt around the work area.

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Pair of secateurs/garden loppers: Cuts large rhizomes and culms.

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Prepare and grow running bamboo cuttings

When growing bamboo plants, you need to separate the cuttings from the parent plant after they reach full growth, usually before Spring. You can take the bamboo cuttings from the rhizomes, culms or even the base of the parent plant.

  • Rhizomes cuttings: Cut the rhizomes with 4 – 6 buds long, use a pair of secateurs or garden loopers. The best tip is to look for new shoots at the buds. The shots have a high chance of germinating.
  • Clump (stem) cuttings: Cut the culms 5 – 10 cm away from the node. Plant them deep in rich soil, either in a container or directly in the ground.
  • New culms: This is my favourite because they grow every time. Check for new culms that have a couple of branches. Carefully, dig them up and prepare them for growing in pots.
  • Water the new cuttings/plants thoroughly.
  • Mulch the new bamboo plant using bark or other organic materials.

Prepare and grow clumping bamboo cuttings

Clumping bamboos have roots and rhizomes packed around the base forming a clumped base. When separating the clumps, take care to preserve the parent plant.

In fact, the rhizomes clusters can be difficult to separate from the main plant. To Preserve the main plants, dig on one side of the bamboo plant, exposing the clump roots.

  • To uproot the whole plant, dig around the plant, exposing the clump roots.
  • Pull the whole bamboo plant out without destroying the roots.
  • Remove soil clusters around the roots.
  • Use a pair of secateurs to separate the new clump bamboo shoots, ensure that each cutting has 2 or more culms/stems.
  • Cover the parent plant with soil immediately.
  • Put the new Clump-forming Bamboo cuttings straight into a pot or container.
  • Cover the new plants with nutrient-rich soil and mulch, ready for propagation.

non-invasive clumping bamboo UK

Recommended: The bamboo varieties that grow well in the UK. Find out.

5 factors affect bamboo plants cuttings

Growing bamboo plants is a long-term affair. Take these 5 factors into consideration when growing your bamboo plants.

1. Where to plant new bamboo plants

The two bamboo plant varieties in UK gardens are tough plants. They can adapt to the four seasons. New bamboo plants grown from cuttings, should be grown in locations where there is a good amount of sunlight.

You should not be worried if you are growing bamboo in pots and containers is always a choice. They can be moved around when they need sunlight.

2. Choosing the bamboo cuttings

Running Bamboo plants are ideal for growing in the garden, whereas the Clump-rooted Bamboo plants are suitable for pots and containers. Read about the features and cost of the two bamboo varieties and 13 types of bamboo grown in the UK.

3. Soil for growing bamboo cuttings

Bamboos are tough plants. They can endure poor soils, but it is better to grow the new cuttings in nutrient-rich soil topped with mulch. If you’re growing in a container, use potting mix or well-sieved soils and fine sand.

4. Early-stage care for your bamboo cuttings

The new bamboo cuttings will need the right amount of water and attention in Spring as the roots start to develop and the leaves come out. Pay extra attention when planting the bamboo cuttings in late Spring or early Summer.

Mulching is highly recommended as it will help to retain water in soil or pots and containers ( where the cuttings are planted).

5. Monitoring the growth of your bamboo cuttings

While the bamboo cuttings are growing, you should regularly check them for any signs of wilting, bug infestation, weeds, and lack of sunlight.

Taking good care of the new bamboo cuttings/plants will give you a 100% success rate.

Bamboo plants are perennials

Bamboo plants are useful. You can grow the plants as a decorative feature in the garden or as a privacy screen. They are perennials and thrive anywhere, in beds, borders and pots.

They have dense foliage and hardy stems that are evergreen all year round.

If you already have matured bamboo plants, then you can use the cutting from the branches, culms (stems) or rhizomes (roots) to grow a new plant.

The tips below will help you to prepare bamboo cuttings for growing in pots or in the garden.

Key points for growing bamboo cuttings

The practical tips for bamboo growing are highlighted in this article. To summarise them, here are the key points.

  • New plants need some attention.
  • Water generously to keep the soil moist.
  • Running bamboo plants are ideal for outdoor gardens.
  • Clump-forming Bamboo plants are ideal for indoors, in pots and containers.
  • Grow cuttings in spring, use nutrient-rich soil and mulch to grow cuttings.
  • New plants need constant attention. Water generously, keep the soil moist.

Growing bamboo plants/cuttings checks

The new cuttings will require care and attention when you see the signs of new leaves. So, check for the following.

  • The soil remains moist, but not waterlogged. (Read about the best soil for growing bamboo)
  • Check for unusual paleness on the culm and leaves, as any change in colour will reveal the condition of the cuttings.
  • Move the new plants to a safer location IF the temperature drops or rises dramatically.
  • Do not place them under big trees, when placing the cuttings in shades, as the falling branches will ruin your hard work.

Enjoy the growth and development of your new bamboo plants because they are amazing plants. Their growth is super fast, but they are hardy and evergreen for many years. Incredible!

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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