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Growing Bamboo in your Garden

Growing Bamboo in your Garden

Growing Bamboo in your Garden
Growing Bamboo in your Garden



Bamboo was introduced to Europe about half a century ago; thinking of its origins, it was first grown in a greenhouse as a subject of study or curiosity. Later, we noticed that among the many varieties, the some required a lot of heat, but others grew perfectly in temperate climates; we then began to cultivate bamboo, for ornamentation, especially in many public gardens.

Botanical characters

Bamboo, which should not be confused with the reed common (Arundo donax) or cane de Provence, belongs to the family of grasses, which includes all our cereals; at this title there, it looks like them for the duration of its period of growth (about 2 months) but it differs on the one hand, because it is a perennial, on the other hand, by its mode of multiplication (asexual and non-sexual) In terms of classification, there are 3 main types “Grown in the metropolis”.

– The genus Phyllostachys, grouping the majority of cultivated varieties in Europe; the rhizomes or underground roots extend always horizontally and emit from place to place, stubble or other underground stems.
– The kind Arundinaria, similar to the previous one, as to the mode multiplication, but differing in the appearance of the stem Aerial; indeed, while in the Phyllostachys, the ramifications, or small branches, develop at the same time as their stem, in the Arundinaria, they develop only when the stem has reached its final size and are grouped at its end.
– The genus Bambusa differs from the two previous ones by the do, on the one hand, that their rhizomes do not grow horizontally and on the other hand, that the culms carry ramifications able to send roots to each node; their appearance is bushy.


By sowing

a process which is not used much because of great difficulties:

a) for obtaining the seeds, the bamboo flowering very rarely;
b) for the conservation of the seeds: under our climate, they do not arrive only rarely at maturity; on the other hand, the seed keeps, without special care, its germinative capacity for about 6 months. However, when we have seeds, we sow them around 5 mm deep in lines spaced about ten centimeters; when the plant has 15 or 20 cm, it can be put in a pot, then transplant it in the ground when it reaches about 80 cm.

By sectioning the rhizomes:

this is the mode of multiplication running under our climate. During the vegetation stop, rhizomes are dug up and cut into pieces of 30 to 40 cm with at least 5 or 6 eyes well constituted; these rhizome fragments are arranged horizontally in channels 5 to 10 cm deep, realized in particularly soft ground, at about 2 meters each other. We cover the rhizomes with good soil and we water them abundantly and regularly until the shoot. Rooting takes place after 2 months and development is observed stems in the normal period of the planted variety.

Special precautions:

collect young rhizomes, mainly 2 years and avoid letting them air dry before transplantation.

By division of Tufts

this process makes it possible to obtain immediately, in the ornamentation of gardens, interesting results. Before or after the big frosts, we choose 3 or 4 stems together, that is pulled out by means of a spade making a mound of the soil of varying volume depending on the diameter of the stems. These clumps are then transplanted to the sites intended to receive them. We finished filling the holes, prepared in advance by the good soil and we water abundantly until the shoot if it is necessary. In wind-exposed areas, it will be necessary to put guardians to prevent tuft spilling and for following, the failure of their recovery. Sometimes, despite the care provided, we notice the drying out


only saw them and rooting is done normally rhizomes will emit, either during the same year, the next year, many stubbles that will develop perfectly.

By cutting the basilar portion of the stubble with or without rhizome:

It is a process analogous to the previous one and also very used. We cut the stubble about 50 cm high – above 3 knots from the base – pull out the bamboo of ten kilos and transplant everything with the same care as those described in the previous process. 50 Cuttings: this is a process used only for the genus “Bambusa”: we cut a ramification of the stem as short as possible from the stem and take 30 cm cuttings we plant in nurseries; they leave after 4 to 6 weeks subject to abundant watering. We will be able to transplant young plants six months later. The best time of cuttings seems to be the month of January.



Bamboo, a fairly hardy plant, grows in soils of very different nature, both on the hillside and on the bank’s rivers; however, the quality of the terrain will obviously depend vigor and development of stubble. It seems that the most suitable soil for bamboo is Soil whose pH is close to neutrality. What is more important is to choose a “land susceptible to be irrigated, because of bamboo needs about 1,200 mm of water per year, it should be possible to artificially which will not have been given to him naturally.


the optimum time is the time to expect rain, after planting, to keep the soil moist. It is recommended to plant in deeply broken ground, where the roots will find fine earth. At the bottom of the line (for rhizome multiplication) or at the bottom of the holes (for the multiplication by tufa division or sectioning of the basilar part of thatch), we put about 5 cm of manure well decomposed, then rhizomes or tuft; in this last case, the upper level of the tuft must exceed the ground level surrounding 5 to 7 cm. After planting, it is advisable (if it does not rain) to irrigate until the moment of the development of the stems.

Cultural care of bamboo

Only during the 2 or 3; first years after planting can be done weeding; thereafter, any work soil is, on the one hand, fatal to the development of bamboo because of the presence of rhizomes and their roots, on the other hand, made impossible because of the entanglement of rhizomes.

The only care to bring is:

The manure

Organic manure consists only of decomposition bamboo leaves; it is completed at the end of the winter, by complete chemical fertilizer. Tests are currently underway to determine the needs of bamboos in each element.


Bamboo needs water and heat, so is it good when summers are dry and there is not enough water in the soil, irrigate the bamboos. In Prafrance, Mediterranean climate, bamboo is irrigated every summer; it is obvious that young bamboos and especially those of the year, which do not have leaves yet, suffer a lot more drought than old bamboo. 3 ° The cleaning: Removal during the winter of dry, aborted, broken bamboos by wind or snow.


The growth of the aerial part:

Like other grasses, bamboo reaches its dimensions definitive (height and diameter) in the space of approximately two months, which, for a stubble of about twenty meters, corresponds at a 35-year shoot in 24 hours. After that, bamboo does not grow, but the wood hardens.

The diameter of the culms depends on the varieties (in Prafrance, Phylîostachys Pub scene gave us bamboos 65 cm in circumference), but also the age of the rhizomes: the more the rhizome is older, bigger is the stubble that it emits, but also rarer. All stubble leaves do not develop completely; some are probably arrested for lack of elements, the others by the cold (especially among late varieties such as Bambusa Qu Adran mistletoe arts).

The output of bamboo depends on the fertility of the soil, the humidity of the latter (in 1953, low output of Phyllostachys Quiloi due to a particularly dry spring), heat and also the density of the stand, Development of the root system: Rhizomes grow rapidly wherever they find free space and intertwine each other. 80% of the roots are located in the top 30 cm of the soil, some roots can go down to 1.20 m deep. However, in case one wishes to protect a variety of bamboos from the invasion of another variety, a ditch 1 m deep and 60 cm wide effectively isolate. Such an entanglement of roots makes it possible to fight against erosion either rainwater (steep terrain) or rivers.

Flowering and fruiting:

All bamboos flourish at very different ages. In Prafranee, the flowering of:

All stems of the same variety flower at the same time.

In general, after flowering, stubble dries out and dies; it is then necessary to cut the stubble close to the ground, the rhizomes emit new stems, but sometimes the underground parts also die. The fruit is a caryopsis similar to that of oats. Factors promoting bamboo bloom and by therefore the means of artificially blooming bamboos, from where it is almost impossible to carry out hybridizations, at least under our climate where only a small number of varieties exist.

Harvesting and conservation

A bamboo reaches its maximum of hardness only by fir of 4 years old, only cut stubble with at least 4 years when they are intended for commercial manufacture so that they be sufficiently lignified; these are distinguished from young bamboos by their darker hue. The cup is made, under our southern climate, of October in April; it is better to cut the bamboo in time dry.

Depending on the use for which they are intended, one chooses in such or such variety (more or less thick wood, more or fewer internodes long) and cut bamboos of different sizes. For this purpose, we use templates formed by a small finished board by a handle, board in which we dug notches of different lengths corresponding to the diameters of bamboos usually used.

The selected bamboo (considering its age – at least 3-4 years)

– its shape as straight as possible and its diameter), the saw is flush with the ground with a handsaw and is taken out of the wood on an area where we cut, with a pruner, the ramifications of the stem. Then, on a bench, bamboo is cut to length desired.

Once cut, the bamboos are, or kept in a shady, aerated and slightly humid place (slow drying), or packaged and shipped. The packing of stubble is constituted only with wire, while rhizomes and clumps are placed in crates surrounded by wet moss, grass fresh and straw. The only flaw that we see on bamboo during its conservation, is its splitting whose cause is still hypothetical. Personally, without eliminating secondary causes of order microbiological, I consider that the main cause is ordered physical.

Tests that we have done to mitigate this evil (drilling bamboo partitions by means of a red iron, immersion, for about a month, stubble, either in ordinary water, in water with sea salt or in the muddy water), we have retained from the practical point of view and efficiency, the process of drying the culms with their leaves about 4 weeks.

Enemies of bamboo The enemies of bamboo are not very numerous


Currently, while in France we do not know any disease, it is reported in the West Indies a beetle, the “Dinoderus minutus” who digs tunnels in cut bamboos.


We have already reported the need for bamboo water and the need absolute to water or irrigate the bamboos mainly at the time of transplantation and during the summer.


Bamboo is generally very resistant to cold, however, low temperatures can stop stubble development, we found it on late varieties (Phyllostachys Quadrangularis for example). In Prafranee, adult bamboos have borne very well temperatures between -10 ° and -150.


If the bamboo resists cold, it fears the snow a lot which hurts him a lot by his weight; indeed, the snow sticky to the leaves, forces the stems to bend and these are broken; if the snow is abundant, it entails entanglement inextricable broken bamboo stems.

Uses Bamboo is very widely used around the world.


The young roots are used for food; is the extracted from their formation, otherwise, they quickly become fibrous, remove the protective sheaths, cut into small pieces and they are boiled for about half an hour. Rhizomes are then eaten mainly in salads.
– The adult rhizomes are used for the manufacture of sleeves umbrellas, canes, knife handles, bread saws, chopping, salad, hors-d’oeuvres, spreaders, shovels pie, ballpoint pens, cigarette holders, frames.


The bamboo stem, smooth and flexible, its wavy foliage, of beautiful light green, give this gigantic grass an air elegant and majestic which has long been appreciated as ornament plant and theatrical or cinematic scenery in Prafrance was used by H.C. Clouzot in his film: “The salary of fear “).
– The leaves falling on the ground constitute an excellent manure organic; they could also be used as litter.


Thanks to its lightness (a bamboo loses 40 to 70% of its weight in one year), its resistance to humidity, its indifference to variations temperature, its resistance to voltage (comparable to that of steel), bamboo lends itself to innumerable uses: manufacture of many light and durable furniture, chairs, sofas, stools, complete furniture for terraces and gardens, coat hangers, etc.

The stems are also used to make all the dimensions stakes, ladders, very light tool handles, spears sprayers, supports for putting tobacco in schools, ski poles, saplings for electricity. The Paul-Emile expedition VICTOR had used it to mark his roads. Split bamboo can be used as channels for irrigation; slats 1 to 4 cm wide, they are used for the manufacture of shading trays or fences. Bamboos are also used for the manufacture of articles basketry and knick-knacks; for making blinds, pergolas

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