Clumping bamboo, also known as non-invasive bamboo, is a popular choice for gardeners due to its controlled growth habit. Compared to running bamboo which can spread aggressively, clumping bamboo tends to stay within a limited area.
However, it still requires some maintenance to keep it healthy and prevent it from becoming unruly.
Tips for Clumping Bamboo Maintenance
Choose a suitable location for your clumping bamboo. Consider its mature size and make sure it has enough space to grow without becoming crowded. Ideally plant it in well-drained soil. Popular varieties such as Gracilis and Goldstripe varieties are adaptable to a range of soil types as well as shade or sunlight. Each plant normally wants to get to a footprint of 1m in diameter or slightly bigger. The footprint can be kept tighter if desired, using a range of methods. Bamboo can be planted anytime of year as long as watering is adjusted for seasonal conditions.
Clumping bamboo generally requires regular watering, especially during dry periods. Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot. Mulching around the base of the bamboo can help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature. Sugar cane mulch can be effective at the time of initial planting. Ongoing, the leaf litter created by the bamboo should provide adequate foilage.
Fertilisation for Bamboo
Apply a balanced fertiliser in the spring to promote healthy growth. Use a slow-release or organic fertilizer to enhance growth. We recommend poultry manure or grass fertiliser as a granular solution. Alternatively, liquid fertiliser can also be used. Charlie Carp or Seasol tends to work well. Always follow the instructions on the fertiliser package for the recommended application rate. Make sure you don’t cook your plants with too much fertiliser.
Pruning is an essential maintenance task for clumping bamboo. It helps to control its height, remove dead or damaged culms (stems or canes), and shape the plant for aesthetics. Prune the bamboo in late winter or early spring before new growth emerges. Cut back the older canes to the desired height, leaving the younger canes to continue growing.
While clumping bamboo does not tend to need to be contained, if you are planting in a restricted space or want to limit the footprint of the plant it is still a good idea to create a physical barrier to prevent it from spreading beyond its intended area. Install a root barrier made of thick plastic or metal around the bamboo, sinking it at around 400-500mm into the ground.
By following these bamboo maintenance practices, you can keep your clumping bamboo healthy, contained, and aesthetically pleasing in your garden.
We provide more details in our planting and care guide.
Contact us if you would like to make a bamboo order today.