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What Are the Different Methods for Bamboo Propagation?

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  • Written By: J.S. Metzker Erdemir
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 December 2014
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Bamboo is a strong, fibrous plant with a variety of uses. It can be made into textiles, musical instruments, or be used as building material. It can also be eaten or used as an ornamental plant. In recent years, bamboo has become a popular substitute for wood and plastic in laminate flooring because it is a more sustainable option. Bamboo grows quickly and is relatively easy to propagate. There are three main methods of bamboo propagation.

The most difficult method of bamboo propagation is growing it from seed. Most species of bamboo tend to flower and produce seeds only at the end of their lifetimes, if at all, and some species of bamboo can live up to 120 years. Flowering is unpredictable and inconsistent, which makes it challenging to collect seeds. Bamboo seeds have a short life, and must be kept under carefully controlled conditions to keep them viable.

Another approach to bamboo propagation is called clump division or rhizome offsetting. A rhizome is an underground stem that produces both roots and shoots. When a rhizome with a budding stalk is cut off from the main rhizome, it is capable of growing into a new plant. There are two approaches to this type of vegetative propagation. One way involves cutting single budding rhizomes from the parent rhizome and re-planting them. The other method is to cut the parent rhizome into two or more parts and plant them separately.

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The third type of bamboo propagation involves growing new plants either from cut branches or from culms. The culm is the hollow stalk of the bamboo plant that grows above ground. In both of these methods, the resulting plant is a clone of the parent plant, making this propagation method useful for selecting plants with desirable qualities. The cut branch, or culm, is usually placed in water with a rooting enzyme to encourage fast root growth, and then the cutting is placed in the ground.

One challenge of bamboo propagation is that the grower needs to know the exact age of the plant. A rhizome cut from a parent rhizome will only live as long as the parent, so it is not effective to plant rhizomes from older plants. Cuttings taken from immature bamboo plants less than a year old are weak and less likely to thrive. A bamboo farmer must keep careful records of the ages of all plants in order to propagate them effectively.

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Mykol
Post 4

Do you have to live in a tropical place to grow bamboo outside? I live in a place where we get cold winters and am wondering if this is too cold to grow something like bamboo?

honeybees
Post 3

I like to give bamboo plants to friends and started all of this with just one plant. A potted bamboo plant is something that is very easy to take care of and most people enjoy having in their home or at work. Just looking at a bamboo plant makes me feel good.

Many times I will just cut off a branch from an existing plant and stick it in some water. You can leave it like this for a long time, and if it is in a clear glass, it is kind of fun to see the roots growing. I have never had anyone tell me they can't keep the bamboo plant alive, so that is another reason I enjoy sharing them with people.

sunshined
Post 2

I have propagated a lot of my favorite plants from seed and find this is a very economical way to increase my garden. At the end of the season, I like to go around and collect the seeds from my favorite annuals to plant again in the spring.

I am usually very successful with this, but have not had luck propagating bamboo this way. After reading this article, I now understand why this was never successful for me.

The easiest way I have found to propagate this wonderful plant is by clump division. This is very similar to the way I also propagate my hosta plants. Before long, you have twice as many plants as you started out with.

golf07
Post 1

I am glad to hear that bamboo is being used more often and is seen as an effective product. A couple great advantages of using bamboo products is that bamboo is environmentally friendly and is a renewable source.

I have never planted bamboo outside but have a lucky bamboo plant on my desk at work. This was given to me by a friend, and I have been surprised at how fast it grows. I don't know if this brings me good luck, but it is a welcome addition to my work environment.

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