Secrets For Growing Potted Bamboo
Growing potted bamboo isn't really all that difficult; in fact those to try it for the first time often make it more difficult than is really necessary. When we grow house plants, especially the larger tropical types, a rule of thumb seems to be, the larger the plant will be the larger the container needs to be. This makes a lot of sense and is generally true. True for most plants that is. It is only partially true as far as potted bamboo is concerned.
Instead to getting a container that is much larger, and heavier, than it really needs to be, the first time bamboo grower may go in the opposite direction, and grow only the very smallest types of bamboo. There's nothing wrong with this, and it just may be that a smaller plant fits in better with the overall home decor, but to think that growing potted bamboo that extends to the ceiling is just not possible or practical is a mistake. It's not only possible, but relatively easy to grow a large bamboo plant indoors inside a container that is a manageable size.
The reasoning behind all of this is that almost all types of bamboo have shallow roots. Those of us who have placed a few bamboo plants in the garden know all to well the creeping nature of these shallow roots, and how some types of bamboo can easily become invasive and tough to get rid of. A large potted bamboo doesn't present that kind of a problem of course, as the container defines the boundaries of the plant's domain.
Think Shallow - Envision a 10' high clump of a half dozen bamboo stalks, growing on a patio, or in a great room, or hotel lobby. Then envision this clump of very attractive bamboo growing in a shallow container, a container that is around 24" wide at the rim, 12" to 14" wide at the base, and no more than 10" deep. The container, once filled with soil would be too heavy to lift by a single person, but could still be moved if necessary. The shape of the container is attractive, and it is very stable. Its depth is quite sufficient to meet the needs of the plant, which requires food, but not deep soil, as the roots will only penetrate a few inches. A large "pot", as deep or deeper than it is wide, would not only be less attractive, but the soil near the bottom would serve no useful purpose, and if kept moist would only tend to produce mold or fungus, and after awhile begin to smell bad. Such a container would also be much heavier to move should the need ever arise.
Since almost all bamboo grows rapidly, in fact some species are regarded as the world's fastest growing plant, it obviously needs a regular feeding. A slow release fertilizer that contains a number of trace elements makes good sense. Otherwise, if you feed your shallow-potted bamboo regularly but lightly, and keep the soil moist but not soaked, it should be a very happy plant.
There Are Many Choices - Since the choice of a potted bamboo is really not all that challenging, one can look for a species based on its attractive appearance without having to worry too much about size or height. Still, it's always a good idea to talk to someone in a plant store or nursery who in knowledgeable about growing bamboo in containers. That person will most likely agree that a shallow container will work just fine, and help you in selecting a nice specimen for your home or office.