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How to Grow Bamboo in Pot and Container Planters

Grow Bamboo in Pot: Bamboo plants in pot and container planters are great for instant privacy screening. Besides, you do not have to worry about the bamboos’ invasiveness because the planters are barriers. They also provide the benefit of moving them around to optimise on space available, perfect for small and narrow spaces.

The bamboo plants come in different sizes and shapes, the options are endless. Some tall and slender bamboo varieties are perfect for privacy screening the porches, patios, decks and balconies.

Grow Bamboo in Pot and Container Planter Boxes

There are more benefits and options for using the plants. However, growing bamboo in pot and container planters requires extra care and attention, unlike the garden hedging bamboo screens.

In this article, we share tips for bamboo varieties that thrive in pots and containers. You will find out about how to:

  • choose the best bamboo for small outdoor spaces,
  • select the best planters to grow bamboo and
  • provide long-term care for the bamboo plants.

Benefits of growing bamboo in pot planter boxes

There are two groups of bamboo plants to grow in pot and container planters – the running bamboo and the clumping bamboo. The former has horizontal stems called ‘rhizomes’ that can grow up to a metre away from the parent plant in just one growing season. The latter forms a tight base around the parent bamboo, forming dense clusters of canes (culms) and tend to expand in time.

Growing bamboo in pots and containers is an effective way to stop the invasion and or expansion of the running and clumping bamboo plants. They provide a  formidable barrier, restricting the rhizomes from spreading.

How to move heavy bamboo pot and container boxes?

The bamboo plant pots containing soil, water and heavy plants are practically immovable. You can move the smaller bamboo pots by using old cardboard boxes to slide them across the floor. If you need help moving the heavier bamboo pot and container boxes, the Hand Truck will make the heavy work easier.

With some help, you can arrange (and rearrange) the bamboo pots and container boxes neatly to suit your design and liking. In some cases, you may have to move the bamboo in pots to a site where there is enough sun. The bamboo varieties prefer sun to shade or part shade. By doing this, you can get the best out of your plant.

In other cases, your bamboo may not grow well in the planters. These bamboo plants will need to be removed. In fact, it is half the work removing bamboo that is growing in the pot than the bamboo growing in the garden.

In all cases, growing bamboo in pot and container planters is a great way to provide privacy screening for a small space, home, office or rented place.

Black Bamboo Phyllostachys nigra
Black bamboo – an ideal pot plant

Limitations of growing bamboo in pot and container planter boxes

Most bamboo plants are tolerant of pests and diseases and thrive in variable outdoor conditions. This group of plants are, in fact, tough and hardy but are limited to the size and conditions present in the pot and container planters where they are growing.

Here are likely limitations for growing bamboo plants in pots, containers and planters.

  • Bamboo plants will succumb to environmental stress in containers.
  • Tall bamboo in pots will sway and fall in breezy conditions.
  • Bamboo roots and rhizomes are exposed to cold and heat above the ground.
  • Running and clumping bamboo will outgrow the planters in 2 – 5 years.
  • The plants will not grow to the maximum height and will not attain the maximum spread.

To grow bamboo in pot and container planters, you should create (and maintain) the best possible conditions for the plants in the confined space. We produce this article to help our visitors who are growing bamboo plants in pots and planter boxes.

How to avoid environmental stress in bamboo plants?

Like other potted plants, bamboos in pots require attention if they were to thrive in the confined space. One of the main reasons why bamboo leaves turn yellow (more info here) is the lack of moisture and nutrient in the soil. Undoubtedly, bamboo in pots and container boxes will grow well where there is good moisture and nutrient in the soil.

Many pot and container planter boxes have a hollow bottom where the water drains out pretty quickly. Furthermore, bamboo plants tend to lose more water through transpiration through the thin and slender leaves compared to other thick leaves plants.

The poor drainage and a high rate of transpiration are often the main reasons why the soil in pot planters becomes devoid of nutrients and moisture. This is the main cause of the yellowing of bamboo leaves and browning culms.

How to improve soil conditions in bamboo pot planters?

There are two things you can do to improve the soil moisture and soil nutrients in pot and container planters.

Firstly, fill the base of the pot and container planters with pebbles, gravels or a porous pot filler to stop it from losing water. Do not block the hole at the bottom of the planters completely because the bamboo plants dislike waterlogged containers.

In addition, leave a spacing of about 10cm to 15 cm at the top of the pot and container planters after you’ve planted the bamboo. This space is very important for mulching and fertilising the plants later.

Secondly, use nutrient-rich loam soil and or potting compost when potting bamboo plants into containers to give them the best start. Here is the right mixture of clay to sand to silt to create an ideal loam for growing bamboo. Alternatively, a 50/50 mix potting compost contains the right nutrient and moisture for new bamboo plants to thrive in the pots.

If you need more information on how to grow bamboo, check out the Instructional Guides from YouGarden.

How to stop tall bamboo in pots from falling down?

Ominously, the tall bamboo plants will sway in the wind and topple to the ground if the pots are unstable. When this happens, you are likely to have a damaged plant, or pot, or both.

To avoid bamboo in pots falling to the ground, choose a pot or container planter with good stability.

A regular occurrence is when the tall bamboo culms lean out of the bamboo cluster or grove. In this case, use the garden ropes to tie them back. Alternatively, just stick the misbehaving bamboo culms back into the fold, they’ll stay put there 🙂

best pot and container planters for growing bamboo in the UK

Protect potted bamboo roots and rhizomes from cold and frost

The bamboos in pots and container planters require insulation in Winter when the temperature falls to negative values.

Although the bamboo plants are tough and hardy, the roots and rhizomes are above the ground level and are directly exposed to the weather, unlike the plants in the ground. The bamboo plants in the planter pots are prone to frost, frozen soil and, even, the Winter’s chill.

The best way to protect the bamboo in the planters is to add mulch and cover the base of the pots with an insulating blanket, bubble wrap or special plant insulation fleece.

Do these when bamboo in pot and container planters grow big

The running and clumping bamboo plants will reach full growth in the pots and containers within 2 – 5 years. That is the period when the plants are at their peak. They’ll display evergreen foliage, shiny culms and beautiful leaves – an ideal time to enjoy the beauty of your bamboo plants.

The plants will thrive for more than 5 to 10 years in large pots planters under the right conditions and care mentioned in this article. To continue to enjoy them, there are a couple of things you can do to keep the plants in the pot longer.

Choose a larger pot or container planter

You can move the bamboo into a larger pot or container planters. It is going to be a tedious operation getting the bamboo out. However, if you are using the square and rectangular container box, you’ll find it easier to uproot the plant and repot it while saving the old container box.

In a case where it is difficult to remove the plant from the container planter, you will have to decide whether to keep the plant or keep the planter box. That means that you will have to destroy one and save the other.

The best time for repotting a bamboo plant into the container planters is early Spring when the new growths are prominent.

How to grow bamboo in pot and container planters?

In the case where you decide to keep the bamboo plants, here is what you can do to repot them into larger pots or additional containers.

  • Separate the plant into even clumps, careful not to destroy the root hairs and or rhizomes.
  • Prune the old culms (canes/stems), leaves, and excess roots.
  • Select a good (open-top & stable) pot or container planter.
  • Lay the base with porous sheets, pebbles or gravels.
  • Fill the pot with a 50/50 potting mixture or loam soil.
  • Put the bamboo into the pot, compact the soil into the pot leaving 10cm to 15cm space at the top.
  • Add mulch,
  • Water generously.

To separate the bamboo, you’ll need the right tools. An electrical saw is the best tool to separate the bamboo. However, a hacksaw is an ideal hand tool to use when separating the bamboo for replanting.

How to care for the bamboo plants in pot and container boxes?

Growing bamboo in pot and container planter boxes for privacy screening home or office might seem like hard work, but it is frankly not. These stunning plants, like other privacy and hedging plants, will need just the right attention to thrive in contained spaces.

The bamboo plants require watering, feeding and mulching. They’ll also demand separation and repotting. As mentioned, bamboos will thrive in container planters for 5 – 10 years. All the while, producing the evergreen foliage and providing natural privacy screens.

The benefits of growing bamboo in planters outweighs the cons. In fact, it is less demanding compared to growing bamboo plants for hedging in the garden. Bamboo growers do not have to worry about the plant invading the neighbour’s side or creeping into the garden. Effectively, the running and spreading habit is confined to within the growing container.

What bamboo varieties grow well in pot and container planters?

The common running and clumping bamboo plants in the UK will grow well in large planters. Recent cultivators of both bamboo plants are notable for their tolerance to small spaces and less demanding.

Many bamboo growers have opted to go for the clumping bamboo. But there are also great running bamboo that you can grow as pot plants for privacy screening the balcony, porch, deck or patio.

Notably, the small to medium bamboos are great pot and container plants. The small to medium bamboo plants range from a height of 2 metres to 6 metres. We have featured the popular bamboo plants in the UK here: Small Bamboo and Medium Bamboo Plants.

How to select the best bamboo to grow in pot and container planters?

Bamboo plants come in various sizes and shapes. The giant bamboo can grow to 20 metres in height, whereas the Dwarf Bamboo that grows in the UK can reach just 0.5 metres. The Giant Timber Bamboo or the Dwarf Fargesia Bamboo may not be ideal for home and office privacy screening. Below is a suitable list of 10 bamboo plants that can grow well in planters.

The 10 bamboo plants are popular for their qualities and features. We covered these plants, extensively, and found them to be ideal to grow in the garden and as pot plants.

However, they may not grow to their full potential in contained spaces. The best way to help these bamboo plants thrive in the planters is to use nutrient-rich (well-drained) moist soil.

So, here are the popular bamboos to grow in pot and container planters.

10 Small Garden Bamboo Suitable for Outdoor Privacy Screens

Fargesia murielae Luca, Umbrella Bamboo, Dwarf Umbrella Bamboo Luca

  • Height: < 1m, small bamboo

  • Spread: 0.5 – 1.5m, clump-forming (grows well in pots and containers)

  • Use: Porch, Veranda

Fargesia murielae Lava, Umbrella Bamboo, Small Bamboo Lava.

  • Height: ~2m, small bamboo

  • Spread: 1 – 2m, does not spread, well-behaved bamboo (grows well in pots and containers)

  • Use: Porch, Veranda, Balcony

Fargesia Murielae Bimbo, Muriel’s Bamboo, Umbrella Bamboo

  • Height: 2m, small bamboo

  • Spread: 1.5 – 2m, clump-forming (grows well in pots and containers)

  • Use: Porch, Veranda, Balcony

Fargesia Robusta Pingwu, Green Screen, Umbrella Bamboo

  • Height: 3 – 4m at full height

  • Spread: 1.5 – 2m, clump-forming, (grows well in pots and containers)

  • Use: Porch, Veranda, Balcony, Terrace

  • Height: 2m, small bamboo

  • Spread: 2 – 3 m clump-forming, (grows well in pots and containers)

  • Use: Porch, Veranda, Balcony, Terrace

Phyllostachys nigra (Black Bamboo nigra. Clump-forming bamboo)

  • Height: 4 - 6m, medium height bamboo

  • Spread: 2 – 3, running bamboo (contain on in pots and containers)

  • Use: Patio, Deck

  • Height: 5m, upright bamboo

  • Spread: 2 - 4m, clump-forming (contain in  pots and growing containers)

  • Use: Patio, Deck

Phyllostachys aurea (Fishpole Bamboo, Golden Bamboo)

  • Height: ~ 4m, medium to tall bamboo

  • Spread: 2 – 3 m, running bamboo (Must grow in pots and containers)

  • Use: Terrace, Patio, Deck

Fargesia murielae Rufa (Bamboo Rufa, Chinese Fountain Bamboo, Dragon Head Bamboo)

  • Height: Height: 2 - 3m, small bamboo

  • Spread: 2 – 3 m clump-forming (grows well in pots and containers)

  • Use: Porch, Veranda, Balcony, Terrace, Patio, Deck

  • Height: 2 - 4m, small bamboo

  • Spread: 1 - 2m, non-invasive, clump-forming (grows well in pots and containers)

  • Use: Veranda, Balcony, Terrace, Patio, Deck

How to select the best pot and container planter for growing bamboo plants?

There are a lot of recommendations for larger and bigger bamboo planters, but these are not often the best recommendations for narrow outdoor areas like the deck, patio, balcony or porch. Unless, of course, use a bigger planter if the outdoor area has enough space for a bigger plant.

When choosing a pot or container for growing bamboo, size, weight and stability matter!

That begs the question what is the best pot or container for planting bamboo plants? The three-pointers will help you to identify the bamboo planter that suits you.

  • A strong and durable frost resistant pot or container planter will act as a root barrier and protect the plant against the cold. Avoid the thin plastic pots because they do not stand a chance against the bamboo rhizomes and clumps in compacted space.
  • Avoid growing bamboo in containers that have small openings and heavy tops. If you use these planters, it will be hard to remove the bamboo plants for repotting, or the tall plants will topple to the ground.
  • Choose a container or pot that is stable, well insulated and has holes underneath. Here are options for stable square and rectangular pots and container planters and boxes that you should consider when growing bamboo for an apartment balcony, home or office.

Space matters

Perhaps the important point to consider when selecting a pot or container for growing bamboo is the space available on your porch, patio, deck or balcony. Most of these spaces are usually narrow.

Ideally, the narrow rectangular heavy-duty containers are best for this kind of space. For the corners, you may want to choose a heavy-duty square container planter.

Some DIY wooden and metal containers are great for other plants, but not ideal for bamboo plants. Furthermore, the metals pots do not have good insulations as they either absorb or lose heat pretty quickly in Summer and Winter, respectively.

If you still wish to use DIY wooden containers to grow bamboo, the best thing to do is to use the treated timbers that can last longer than 5 years. As for the metal containers, ensure that they are well insulated from heat and cold.

In all aspects of choice, ensure that the pot and container planters for growing bamboo are strong and stable, are well insulated, and have good drainage.

Ideas for Pot and container planters for growing bamboo plants

Here are two examples of formidable pots and containers that you can use to grow bamboo for the balcony, patio, deck or porch. They will snuggly fit into 90 degrees angles in the corners or along the narrow corridors.

Best planters for growing bamboo plants and shrubs

This is a pot planter with great stability, a solid base and is perfect for growing a tall running bamboo. Check the full details at YouGarden: Star Pot

This stunning planter will fit perfectly into the corner of a narrow space.  Check the full details at YouGarden:  
Marberry Corner Planter

How to protect bamboo plants in pots and containers?

Bamboo plants are relatively hardy bamboo and can withstand air temperatures as low as – 20 degrees Celsius in normal growing conditions. However, bamboo plants in pots and containers without the right insulations will struggle to survive at such very low temperatures.

So the first thing to do before planting them is to insulate the containers by using styrofoam which is light and great for extra insulation. In addition, the new bamboo plants are prone to slugs’ damage. Add Slugs and Snail Killer to protect new shoots and rhizome tips.

Here are some general protection measures to apply when planting bamboo in pot and container planters;

  • Apply Slug and Snail Killer around your new bamboo.
  • Add organic mulch.
  • Tie the long culms to bamboo sticks or poles.
  • Add insulation inside the pot and containers.
  • Cover the pots and containers with additional insulation fleece or blanket when the temperature drops to negative degrees Celsius.

How to take care of bamboo plants in pot and container planters?

The new bamboo in pot and container planters will need the right amount of water and attention in Spring as the roots start to develop.

Pay extra attention when planting the bamboo cuttings in late Spring or early Summer as they will need water every other day to support the new growths.

Mulching is highly recommended at this stage too, as it will help to retain moisture in the soil or in the pots and containers.

For the older bamboo plants, you will have to add NPK fertilisers, fresh organic mulch and water to keep them happy.

The best way to check for moisture in the soil is to dig out a layer of soil to a depth of 5cm. It is an effective way to inspect the soil for moisture content. The soil in the pots and containers should be nice and moist, not too dry nor too wet.

If it gets too cold in Winter, move the plant into a sheltered area like the garage, patio or veranda to keep them warm and safe from the chill and wind. Add more mulch or grass cutting to provide the added layer and heat.

‘Thinning’ bamboo in pot and container planters

Remove the old unhealthy culms (canes) to give the new shoots a chance to reach full height. In fact, the new shoots will be stronger and taller than previous bamboos, so encourage new growth if you want taller and healthier plants.

After 5 – 10 years, you will have to carry out ‘thinning’. Remove the older bamboo culms and rhizomes from the pots and containers, separate the culms into segments for repotting. This activity is best done in Spring.

At this juncture, we provided insight into how to select and grow the perfect bamboo plants in pots for the small outdoor space at home, the office or the rental place. If you are undecided, do not worry. Check out the Award Winning bamboo plants.

We hope this article helps you. Let us know what you think in the comment below.

5 thoughts on “How to Grow Bamboo in Pot and Container Planters”

    1. The ideal pot for growing bamboo should have a stable base so that it does not wobble and fall, also it must have drain holes at the bottom to prevent water-logging. Anothe factor to consider, as mentioned in this article, is the location where you are going to put the bamboo – indoor, outdoor, at the corner, close together as a mobile screen, etc…

      Check this page out for where to buy bamboo pots

  1. I like growing bamboo in pots and containers because I mostly keep them on the porch. But, why do the leaves turn yellow and keep falling off? I have had them for over five years and never had any problems until recently, is there a way to fix this problem?

  2. I can say that growing bamboo in pots and containers can be a great solution for those who want to enjoy the beauty and benefits of this plant without having to worry about it spreading uncontrollably in their yard. The article’s focus on container planting is a practical approach that can benefit both novice and experienced gardeners, and it’s great to see helpful tips and techniques being shared to help people successfully grow bamboo in a confined space.

    I also like the emphasis on sustainable and responsible gardening practices, commendable. It’s always encouraging to see more resources available to promote eco-friendly and mindful plant cultivation.

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