Bambusoideae

Bamboo

Bonsai care and maintenance

Bamboo is a very diverse plant with a strong historical and cultural significance. Though its potential to be shaped as a 'tree' is limited, it is a popular plant among Bonsai enthusiasts for use as accent plants as well as for creating forests.

SELECTING TREE SPECIES

Bamboo Bonsai Care guidelines

Placement

Bamboo should be kept outdoors, year-round. They are strong plants and can survive in most places, but more light usually means denser growth.

Watering

Bamboo grow fast and like most grasses they are rather thirsty. Keep them moist at all times. Continue reading about watering Bonsai trees.

Watering

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Fertilizing

Use a mild and balanced fertilizer for basic plant health, speeding up growth is not our goal with this plant. Best is to fertilize the Bonsai bamboo during the entire growth season, usually from early spring til late fall.

Pruning

Forget about wiring and focus all your attention to pruning. Regular pruning will aid in creating a more dense and delicate growth. The warmer your climate, the faster your Bonsai Bamboo will grow and hence the more pruning you will need to do. Some species of Bamboo grow incredibly fast, which means pruning becomes even more important to maintain the shape and size of your Bamboo forest. Continue reading about pruning Bonsai trees.

Repotting

Most Bamboos grow roots rather fast, which means you might have to repot yearly. Check the root system in spring, when you see roots crawling around the inside of the container it is time to repot your Bamboo Bonsai tree. Use a well draining soil mixture, like Akadama, Pumica and Lava rock in equal parts. Continue reading about repotting Bonsai trees.

Propagation

Most bamboos can be grown from cuttings quite easily. You might also be able to buy young bamboo plants in local nurseries. Again, try to get your hands on dwarf species which are most suitable for Bonsai purposes.

Pests and diseases

When healthy the Bamboo is a strong plant, not very susceptible to pests. With enough light and proper watering you should not experience too many problems with the health of your Bamboo bonsai. For more detailed information on these techniques, check out our Bonsai tree care section.

Bamboo Bonsai
Bonsai forest at the Bonsai San show in France.

Bamboo Bonsai
Bamboo bonsai in Baihuatan Park, Chengdu, China, photo by Felix Andrews.

Bamboo Bonsai
Bamboo Bonsai tree by Swindon Bonsai.

Bamboo Bonsai
A Bamboo forest Bonsai on display at the Bonsai San show. Photo by Mario Komsta.

Bamboo Bonsai
Lucky Bamboo is in fact the Dracaena sanderiana - strictly speaking not a bamboo species.

General information about the Bamboo Bonsai tree

Bamboo is a diverse group of evergreen plants in the grass family - with internodal, hollow and very strong stems. Some species grow incredibly fast but there are plenty species that grow slower and hence are more useful for Bonsai purposes. When selecting a bamboo variety try to get a dwarf cultivar, like for example the Bambusa multiplex. You also want to make sure to select a 'clumping' bamboo rather than a 'running' bamboo. The growth of clumping bamboos (such as the Bambusa) is easier to control. If you need help identifying your tree, take a look at our Bonsai tree identification guide.

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Fertilizing

Fertilizing

Learn how to fertilize your tree

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Tree species

Tree species

Find species-specific information on your tree

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Repotting

Repotting

How to repot your tree

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