Growing bamboo plants on a balcony is easier than you might think. Famously the fastest-growing plant in the world, there’s very little you need to take care of bamboo.
But, getting it to do your bidding is where the challenge comes in. Below, we look at how to grow bamboo on a balcony and offer some tips for the best results.
Generally, you’ll probably want to grow bamboo as a privacy hedge. It’s perfect for this, although it’s also good as a decorative plant. There are some important things to consider before you get planting, though.
Most species of bamboo thrive in warm, tropical climates. If you live somewhere cold or very dry, you’ll need to buy a particular species. You can compensate for a lack of humidity by watering more regularly.
If you’re planting bamboo for privacy, you’ll need to allow a few months for it to reach maturity. Some species grow faster than others, but pretty much all of them grow quickly in the right conditions.
If you have a tiny balcony, you’ll need to opt for a dwarf variety. That said, you’ll have plenty of control over the plant’s growth if you choose the right pot. There are numerous other varieties of bamboo depending on your goals, so check out our separate article for more in-depth information.
Planting out bamboo is super easy. Like any other plant, do this in either spring or fall so the plant can be ready for its growing season. You’ll need a large pot made of concrete, wood, or stone, as bamboo roots can break through plastic.
1. Put 2-3 inches of gravel or rocks in the bottom of your container to improve drainage.
2. Use a peat-free 50/50 or multipurpose potting compost and sprinkle a thin layer in the bottom of the pot.
3. Remove the bamboo plant from its pot, knock off soil and loosen the root ball. You can be fairly rough, but be careful not to break the roots.
4. Put the plant into its new container and ensure it’s deep enough that there’ll be a 1-inch layer of new soil over its original surface.
5. Backfill the pot using your compost and firm down (but not too firm).
6. Arrange on your balcony as needed depending on whether you want privacy or decoration.
Growing bamboo in pots is easy, but you need to provide more care than if you were growing them in the ground. Bamboo plants like moist but well-draining soil. In the height of summer, you might need to water every day or two if it’s hot.
The easiest way to check is to stick your finger about an inch into the soil. If it’s dry, you should water. You’ll be able to ease off in the winter, but still keep up a good watering routine.
Don’t prune the plants in their first year of growth. In early fall of the second year, prune off weak, short, or thin canes, and repeat once a year after that. If the plant gets too tall, simply trim the tops off.
You’ll need to repot every 2-5 years into a bigger pot. If you don’t want to use bigger pots for your bamboo, divide the plants instead. It’s pretty easy and means you’ll have double the number of plants!
Growing bamboo on a balcony is easy enough, and it won’t get as out of control as growing it in the ground. Make sure you choose the right variety for your needs and give it plenty of space to reach its full potential.