Is it possible to grow tall bamboo indoors?

tinanSeptember 19, 2010

I know *nothing* about bamboo, but I would love to grow a type of bamboo that looks similar to lucky bamboo (mostly stalks) but 8-10' tall. Can this be done indoors?

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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Just to be clear from the start, "Lucky Bamboo" is not bamboo, but an imaginatively marketed houseplant whose real name is Dracaena sanderiana, so you won't find actual bamboo that looks or grows like that.

Now that I got that off my chest, yes, you can grow bamboo indoors...if you have it near a window so it gets some light, if you mist it some in the winter when it gets dry indoors, and if you pick a suitable species. Most bamboo are moderately leafy for their whole height, but, if you want most of the foliage to be near the top, you can trim off lower branches without hurting it. Just be aware that bamboo doesn't grow like other plants: if you prune it, it won't regrow, and it typically puts up new growth once year, and that new growth will reach its permanent height in 1-2 months and never get taller. Any bamboo will continue to put up new growth which is bigger than last year's until it gets to whatever the norm is for that species. There aren't a lot of bamboo that only get to 8-10' tall and then stop, but growing bamboo indoors will cause it to size up more slowly.

Finally, not all bamboo are suitable for growing indoors due to their light requirements, so you should take a look at the link below before buying any.

Here is a link that might be useful: Indoor bamboo

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 5:44PM
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tinan

Thank you so much for that information - especially setting me straight about the "lucky bamboo"! The reason I am interested in having few leaves near the bottom is that I have a very silly cat who chews on ANY houseplant and even though i am careful to choose nontoxic-to-cats plants, he swallows bit of leaves and then throws them up.

So I am trying to satisfy my desire for green in the house without harming our cat or at the very least having kitty puke everywhere... and I have a husband who finds many indoor plants "creepy" - anything fleshy-leaved like an American rubber plant, which would probably at least be safe from my cat and if nontoxic, cleans the air etc, my husband does not like.

From what you describe it sounds like bamboo would be difficult for a novice like me to maintain indoors, though we have tons of light in the loft which has 2 story windows. We have been living in a small cottage which didn't have enough light to support most indoor plants and we had a backyard where I could garden, not I only have a balcony but all this light and space indoors!

Maybe I'll just have to get some dried bamboo stalks and put them in nice floor vases to fill in that vertical space, then get some smaller house plants - if I can find ones that satisfy all the household residents (sigh).

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 11:41AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The most beautiful choice would be Chusquea coronalis. I have seen that sitting in a pot on a cabinet in a below-street-level Seattle office, so it can't be too fussy. Would probably be purchased comparatively small, tend to have low foliage even when bigger - and not lend itself to being limbed up (new stem growth of all bamboos starts at the base anyway) but maybe you can grow it inside a protective enclosure.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 12:30PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

tinan-
Sorry tf I discouraged you as that wasn't my intention. In fact, I have a daughter who lives in SF who is not much of a plant person, and she was able to grow a black bamboo just fine by setting it near the one window in her small apartment in the Haight.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 12:57PM
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plaidbird

Wow, that Chusquea coronalis is absolutely beautiful ! Although it does look like something a cat would put on their Xmas list. All those pretty weeping branches to bat at. An endless source of amusement. ;) Maybe a bamboo with the more traditional upright culms would be a better choice.

Tinan,

I have indoor kitties and over time I do track bamboo leaves in on my feet when I'm outside gardening. They are a different texture than the leaves our kitties normally bite , chew and swallow. Bamboo leaves are quite stringy and tough. I've often wished I had a reason to write a note on one, as it would work quite well. My cats do find one now and then, and they do play with them, but they remain toys.

That reminds me.. I really should get organized and plant the little devils some kitty grass. They need their veggies after all.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 3:32PM
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alan_l(6)

My cats eat bamboo leaves. I don't think there's any toxicity issue.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 11:32PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Remember that pandas eat bamboo, though there are different species.....

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 7:53PM
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plaidbird

So you guys are telling me I need to upgrade my housekeeping skillz ?
Didn't realize I lucked out with good cats. Plus they're black and white pattern is just like a panda. Oh my...hahaha...

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 2:52PM
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bambooplantsheadquarters

It is possible to grow tall bamboo indoors. When most people think of indoor bamboo, they're actually thinking of lucky bamboo which is actually not a bamboo plant! But, if this is what you're interested in growing lucky bamboo, it can indeed grow 8-10 feet tall. In most cases the lucky bamboo plants you see in the stores have been cut and a wax applied so that they maintain a certain height. You can however buy a not-cut plant from some nurseries or take a clipping from a store bought plant and grow the clipping to its' full potential (recorded somewhere around 20 feet!). If you're actually interested in planting bamboo plants indoors I would recommend you check out this page called indoor bamboo plant!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2015 at 2:24PM
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