The Q&A Archives: Golden Bamboo

Question: I have placed 2 of your bamboo trees in my japanese garden and, since i must take them inside for the winter, have left them in their pots from the garden store. They are placed in full sun and we have had a dry spell so I water the pots frequently - but they still look somewhat dry. What steps should i take for their good health this summer until I take them in in the Fall? Should i repot them? What kind of soil should I put in the containers? How much water? I really like these nice bamboo trees and want them to succeed. Thank you. your help.

Answer: If you think of bamboo as a giant grass, you'll understand their need for water and ferilizer. Although you water frequently, you may not be watering enough. Plants in pots can become pot-bound and the entire pot can be filled with roots. As a result, although you're watering a lot, not enough water is reaching the roots. Another common problem with plants in pots is that air pockets form within the root mass. Again, water can run out of the drainage holes, yet the potting soil might still be dry in places. I think I'd repot the bamboos. Use the next sized pot, make sure there are lots of drainage holes in the bottom, fill the pots with moistened regular potting soil and replant your bamboos. Then water thoroughly to help settle the soil. Every week or two, immerse the pots in a larger container of water to make sure you drive out any air pockets. In between soakings, check the soil moisture by sticking your finger into the pot; if it's dry one inch below the surface, it's time to water. As for feeding, use a half-strength dilution of liquid ferilizer and apply every 2-3 weeks during the growing season. This will supply an almost constant source of nutrients to the roots of your plants.

Best wishes with your bamboo!

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