Indoor Bamboo, Attractive But A Challenge
If you're interested in having an indoor bamboo plant, or perhaps more than one variety, knowing the basics of caring for the plant is obviously important. Different varieties have sometimes different needs of course, so if you purchase a specific variety, you'll need to find out what special needs, if any, that variety has.
Size Matters - In addition, unless you're purchasing an established indoor bamboo plant that has more or less reached it's normal size and shape, you'll want to know just what that size and shape is going to be. Otherwise, you'll spend way too much time cutting and pruning back, and the appearance of the plant may suffer as a result. Of course you won't want to plant an outdoor type in your home. If it does well at all, you may have to do some heavy duty pruning, or cut a hole in your roof. Indoor bamboo comes in all sizes of course, from window-sill or bonsai sizes, to plants what will look awesome when situated in a great room with a cathedral ceiling. Without too much of a problem, you should be able to find an indoor bamboo that will fit in either a small or a larger container, look good by a picture window, or be at its best in a darkened secluded corner of your home or office. A smaller plant, growing to a maximum of 2 or 3 feet tall, will be much easier to care for than a 15 or 20 footer. You won't have to be bringing in the ladder once a week to prune it back, or constantly putting into larger containers. Smaller is sometimes better.
Different Plants Like Different Lighting - The variety you choose may be dictated by where you wish to place it, in terms of the light the plant will receive or requires. If the indoor bamboo plant is to be located in a brightly lit location, three good varieties are Bambusa multiplex 'Riviereorum', Bambusa ventricosa, and Bambusa ventricosa 'Kimmei'. In an area of low light, such as a darkened corner, try Yushania anceps 'Pitt White', Pseudosasa japonica, or Pleioblastus variegatus. For something somewhat in the middle, you might go with Pleioblastus distichus, Pleioblastus pygmaeus, or Sasaella masamuneana ‘Albovariegata’. It probably goes without saying, you should either see the plant up close and personal, or at least look at a picture, to find out what you're getting, even though you've made the right choice in terms of lighting.
Humidity And Watering – The Challenge - The bamboo is a grass plant, and one typically growing in warm, somewhat humid locations. Taking them indoors suits the plant perfectly well as far as temperature is concerned but humidity requirements can be a problem, at least for some varieties. Depending upon the variety you choose, it pays to find out what its needs are in terms of humidity, and see if your home will be able to meet those needs. A humidifier may be needed, or simply a large bowl with water may suffice. Don't confuse humidity with watering. Bamboo can do well in slightly dry soil, in fact over watering can cause root rot which is almost always fatal to the plant.
Bamboo likes an occasional dose of fertilizer. For most varieties, a general purpose fertilizer will suffice. Some varieties need certain trace minerals and will require a special fertilizer. Note that the different bamboo plants are native to a wide range of different locations, having wide ranging climatic conditions. The plant you get would like a climate, even if it's in your home that bears some resemblance to "back home". Once you find out the needs for watering, soil condition, fertilizing, and lighting, taking care of your indoor bamboo will soon become a matter of course, and should not be difficult. This is a nice choice for anyone who has a love of showy indoor plants, bamboo, or ornamental grasses. You can turn your office into a tropical paradise, if your boss doesn't object. If so, get your boss an indoor bamboo plant he or she can call his or her own.