My bamboo isn't growing - how can that be?

ellenmarie(5)July 12, 2012

I bought a Giant Clumping Bamboo and a Blue Fountain Bamboo this spring. When I got them I re-potted into clay pots, the blue in a 4 inch pot and the giant in a 6 inch pot. They haven't really grown at all. They both seem to be just sitting there. I'm keeping them moist but not soggy. Is there something I'm doing wrong? I bought a different bamboo from Home Depot, it was in a 1/2 gallon pot to start and it has almost doubled in size.

Any help would be much appreciated.

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kentuck_8b(__)

Put them in larger pots. 3 to 5 gallon pots.

Kt

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 9:52PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

In addition to the fact that they need to be pe-potted into much larger pots, as kentuck pointed out, it may be at least a year before your bamboo put out any new growth. Bamboo growth characteristics are different from other plants. For one thing, existing culms do not get taller or bigger in diameter. You only get growth when new culms appear...usually in the late-spring.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:44AM
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ellenmarie(5)

Wow! Thanks for the info. I never would have guessed this to be the answer. I grow many things and the rule seems to be always put them in pots just slightly bigger than the last. I'm a little disappointed though, I was hoping for 7 ft. tall bamboo for my deck this year. :)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 9:20AM
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watchnerd

If you bought Bambusa oldhamii (the most common 'Giant Clumping Bamboo') it will definitely get tall enough for you, but it make take a few seasons. I used to have mine in a pot...I kept potting up until I got to 24" diameter, and it was getting too big even for that. Now it's in the ground and on its way to getting huge.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 1:26PM
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ellenmarie(5)

Do I bring them in for the winter? I'm in zone 6.

I put them in bigger containers right after the first post here. Now I just watch them everyday to see if I see any new growth. I see a tiny little thing coming up next to the Blue Mountain. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 10:37AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

ellenmarie-
Putting them in new pots will be unlikely to produce any significant new growth this year...but it will make the plants healthier. As far as bringing them in for the winter, you should do that because bamboo in pots are not as cold hardy as in the ground. Also, it would be good to know what the actual scientific names of the bamboo are. Blue Fountain" is probably Fargesia nitida, which could be planted out next year when it is more established and survive your Zone 6 winter (albeit with foliage/culm damage)...it's in-ground hardiness is about -15F to -20F. The "Giant Clumping" bamboo could be a number of varieties, probably of the Bambusa genus, but none of those will ever survive a winter in a pot or in the ground in your area. Most Bambusas typically can't survive below 20F. I'm in Zone 8 and have never had any of them make it more than 1-2 years where I live.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 2:08PM
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ellenmarie(5)

Here are the scientific names.
Giant Clumping Bamboo (Chusquea gigantea)
Blue Fountain Bamboo (Fargesia nitida)

I'm going to bring the pots in for the winter. I want to keep them in pots so I can have them on the deck.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 2:33PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

That's helpful. Well, Ch. gigantea is much hardier than the Bambusas...but still only to about 0F. The main issue with this bamboo is that it can get large, will require pretty large pots in the future to stay healthy, and may be harder to move around at some point, unless you start dividing it when it gets big.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 6:51PM
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watchnerd

Wow, I've never heard Chusquea referred to as 'giant clumping bamboo'. Usually it's 'Chilean-something'.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 10:46PM
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botanicalbill(9b SWFlorida)

The problem I have with growing bamboo in pots is the pot getting too hot and killing the roots. Shade the pots with wood, gravel, or put inside a decorative pot/planter.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 1:51AM
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