What's Wrong With My Bamboo?

PacNWbalconyGrowerAugust 23, 2013

Hey all, I'm a brand new member and this is my first post actually. I have come to you for help with my plants. For this post, it's my bamboo; in the Japanese Garden board I'm going to post a thread about my Japanese maple.

So I live in downtown Portland Oregon and reside on the side of a hill where my balcony faces east. My balcony gets unobstructed sunlight from sunrise until about 1-2PM, then the sun passes over the hill and it's only indirect light until night.

I'm unsure of the exact species of my bamboo, but I believe it's of the clumping variety, although it's never been out of the pot so I'm not positive. It should be 3-5 years old. I bought it from a private grower 3 years ago when there were only five or six stalks, little dinky things. It's grown a lot since I've had it and repotted once. When I repotted I just took the whole root ball, centered it in the current pot with new soil and done. That was probably last year, maybe a year and a half ago. Anyways, I've always had it looking beautiful bright bamboo green and super healthy. For maybe six months now it's looked kinda yucky. Yellowing and dead leaves amongst healthy ones.

What should I do to get it back to looking beautiful? It does seem a little crowded in the pot. Should I repot into a larger container, should I cut the root ball in half and put in two containers? Or is the problem not crowding? Also, I expected it to be taller with thicker stalks by now...anyway to promote that kind of growth?

Thanks for the help and advice. Pictures coming in a minute once I get to my PC.

This post was edited by PacNWbalconyGrower on Fri, Aug 23, 13 at 21:07

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    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Could be too much WATER. You live in Oregon, the picture shows standing water in the overflow of the pot.... try letting it get dryer between watering? And yes, after 3-5 years it's likely root bound.... you could divide it into four plants, just saw the root ball up, and repot one in that pot and the other three elsewhere. Good luck. (P.S. Some expert here will probably have better advice but that's my two cents)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 1:13PM
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Thank you so much for your input. I doubt it's overwatering. I tend to let it dry out completely between watering. The reason you see standing water in the reservoir is because I had just watered it and the soil drains quite well. In the evening after sundown or early morning before sunrise, I mist the entire plant. (My logic being bamboo is a tropical plant and would benefit from the humidity) Contrary to typical belief Portland actually receives quite little rain during the summer, however, fall is approaching and natural rain should take the place of my manual watering. I think the max I could do is two pots as the purpose of the bamboo is a privacy screen from my next door neighbor's bay window and can't fit four containers in that corner.

would now be a good time to repot and cut the rootball in two? Or do I need to wait until spring or something?

Or rather than two separate pots, get one larger, approximately double the size, but still cut the root ball either in halves or quarters and separate them to opposite sides of the container?
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 2:57PM
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Looks like too much water, too little water, and/or it is rootbound and needs transplanting.

Rootbound plants need a lot of water.

One other thing, here, we have had several weeks of severe heat, above 95F up into the 100's and some bamboos cannot tolerate high heat, so this may also be a problem.

If it were mine, I would re-pot it, or divide it and then re-pot it.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 10:49PM
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Beside too much water, may be a combination of ambient heat and heat from that grill; on a balcony, the grill heating (and radiation) may become severe. Unless you notice that the leaves are often folded (to reduce H2O loss) looking dried out, probably not too little water.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 5:53PM
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BBQ hasn't been on hardly at all this season. When it is I move it away from the plants. I'll check for the curling, thanks ;-)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 11:59PM
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I'm having the same problem with my potted clumping bamboo, but the tips of all the healthy leaves got brown when I sprayed white vinegar between the pavement stones to kill weeds nearby (not on the plants or near the pots). Could the smell make the bamboo sick??

    Bookmark   March 17, 2015 at 10:42AM
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Nah I don't think the little bit of fumes would hurt it. Must be something else going on. Brown tips means it's to much sun and to dry usually. Water a little more and give it some more shade. If it's to big for it's pot it could be potbound too and time to repot. All roots with no soil doesn't hold water well and it would dry out really fast.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2015 at 11:39PM
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