The Q&A Archives: Bamboo

Question: We have an interesting mirco-climate on a 20'x20' 5th floor rooftop garden receiving about 75% of normal sun during spring & summer and limited fall direct sun light. After a little research, we purchased one of your Golden Godess Bamboo plants. We planned to bring the plant indoors this fall as we have a lot of natural light. I have a outdoors auto watering system installed and can control the amount and frequency on watering.

After our recent planting in a large thick-walled terra cotta pot, some of the plant's leaves have turned yellow. We question if we are overwatering or if the new planting is not fairing well given the early season heat (deck temps have exceeded 100).

Any advice to save our $60 investment.

Answer: Bamboo is just like giant grass and will grow well under the same conditions; full sunshine, water when the top inch of soil is dry, lightly fertilize every 2 months during the growing season. Terra cotta pots are lovely, but they can pose some problems for plant roots. Unless it is glazed inside, Terra cotta tends to wick moisture out of the soil which means you'll need to water more frequently. If exposed to direct sunlight, Terra cotta can absorb and radiate heat - much like an over - which may cause some stress for your bamboo's root system. With that said, if you keep the soil moist by watering as often as necessary, and try to provide some shade from hot afternoon sunshine - other pots lined up on the sun side, for instance, you'll keep the roots of your bamboo happy. Yellowing leaves are not necessarily a cause for alarm. I think your bamboo is trying to adjust to its new home. Just keep it well watered, fertilize lightly (use a half-strength dilution of liquid fertilier), and try to shield the Terra cotta from direct afternoon sunshine and your bamboo should be happy enough to grow well for you. Best wishes with your bamboo plant!

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