Bamboo for the Interior

A few types of bamboo can tolerate indoor conditions, though most prefer to be grown outside. Indoor bamboo takes extra TLC, but once you get the knack for growing the plant, it can be the center attraction in your houseplant world. Bamboo is very diverse; some species are airy and tall, others short and striking. The foliage ranges from a bold green to golden variegation.  Bamboo needs as much light as possible when grown indoors.  They do present challenges and often need to be rotated outside for a period of time to maintain good health. The margin of error is much more narrow for interior bamboo, however in areas of higher humidity, such as an atrium or greenhouse, bamboo will usually flourish.

Our standard three month guarantee is void for any bamboo that is grown indoors.
See the bottom of this page for detailed interior care information.
The bamboos listed below, we have found, are most tolerant of dry, warm conditions indoors:

Bambusa multiplex
'Alphonse Karr'

Click for larger picture

Bambusa multiplex 'Riviereorum'

Bambusa ventricosa

Bambusa ventricosa 'Kimmei'

Chimonobambusa marmorea 'Variegata'

Chimonobambusa quadrangularis

Chimonobambusa quadrangularis
'Yellow Groove'

Hibanobambusa tranquillans ‘Shiroshima’

Phyllostachys aurea

(all forms)

Pleioblastus pygmaeus

Pleioblastus viridistriatus

Pleioblastus fortunei

Pseudosasa japonica


Sasaella masamuneana ‘Albostriata

Sasaella ramosa

Semiarundinaria fastuosa

Semiarundinaria fastuosa ‘Viridis’

Cultural Notes

   In general, bamboos are not considered an easy plant to grow indoors. They are more along the lines
of ficus or bromeliads. The most important challenge is humidity, or rather, the lack of it. We suggest the use of a
pebble tray, which is a tray of rocks that is placed under the plant container. This tray must contain a small
amount of water at all times. As the water evaporates it raises the humidity around your plant. Make sure the base
of the container sits on top of the pebbles, and is not submerged in water.
    It is important to keep indoor bamboos a little on the dry side, especially during the winter months. Over-watering often causes root rot, and once root rot has occurred, the plant can rarely be saved. It is easier to remedy plant stress due to underwatering than to reverse root rot. This does not mean that the plant should be allowed to completely dry out. Like most interior plants, bamboo will take more water in the summer months and less water in the winter months, the "resting" period.
    Often the best way to revive an unhealthy interior bamboo is to transplant it into a larger container with fresh soil and move it outdoors into a partially shaded area. If this is done in mid to late spring, by mid summer your bamboo will most likely be healthy again.
    You can feed your indoor bamboo with a well-rounded fertilizer during the spring and summer months. You may want to use a fertilizer with trace minerals in it, to make sure the bamboo receives all essential minerals.
    For narrow window sills, ground cover or bonsai bamboo is ideal, as they can flourish in long narrow troughs.
Examples are Pleioblastus pygmaeus, P. fortunei  and Sasaella ramosa.
    We hope you have fun with growing bamboos indoors.

Indoor Bamboo Maintenance Checklist:

Growing bamboo indoors can present challenges, but with the right tools and a bit of extra care it is quite simple.

Supplies: 1 spay bottle

small oscillating fan
watering meter
high-nitrogen slow release grass fertilizer (any brand will do)
hand pruners

General Instructions and important information:

Bamboo does not like the mostly dry air typical of indoor environments, using a spray bottle a few times per week to wet the foliage will create more moisture in the air.

Because air can get stale and stagnant indoors, a small oscillating fan will mimic the breeze of the outdoors. Leaving it on a low setting for a few hours a week is plenty. It will also help to create more humidity around the bamboo when used with the spray bottle.

An over-watered bamboo is just as easily killed as a under-watered bamboo. To keep things simple use a water meter to check the moisture level. It should have three basic settings, you want to try and keep the moisture level in the middle range. Make sure you are taking the reading from 4-6 inches below the surface of soil. Do not ever let it dry out for an extended period of time (more than 3-5 days) The goal is to keep the soil from staying soggy or desert dry. Mature bamboos may need more water as there will be more roots and less soil to retain moisture in the pot. Eventually dividing the plant or transplanting into a larger pot will be necessary.

Fertilizing with a high- nitrogen slow release formula in the spring ensures the bamboo is getting proper nutrients. Apply according to the manufactures dosage and pot size.

Over time bamboo will look best if pruned, cutting out older canes at soil level or removing heavy branches will make for the best looking plant- it's just like a hair cut!

In conclusion the early observation of stress, usually curled leaves, can help prevent the demise of your plant. Some yellowing of the foliage is normal especially during the Spring and Fall.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.   503-647-2700

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