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LeBeau Bamboo Nursery      Medford, Oregon 541-499-4992

Soil and Mulch

Bamboo is not as picky as other plants when it comes to soil. Soil ammendments should be added when planting the bamboo to encourage strong root growth. Each year, two to four inches of mulch - such as compost, woodchips, or leaves - should be added around the base of the canes. Additional mulching is helpful in the fall to help protect the roots in cold climates.

Read more about mulching bamboo here.

This newly planted bamboo is surrounded by a 6" deep leaf pile. By spring the leaves will have broken down and will probably be only about one inch deep.


Bamboo plants in the ground require about two to three inches per week, up to five inches during hot periods (if the temperatures are around or exceeding 100 degrees). Plants kept in containers need to be watered far more frequently, up to once per day during the hottest part of the summer. Like with most plants, the amount of watering required really depends on your soil and climate. Plants in full sun will need a lot more water than plants in the shade, and plants in well drained soil will need to be watered more frequently than plants in poorly drained soil.

Over the course of the summer your ideal watering schedule will change, starting with light in the spring, heavy in mid summer, and light again in the fall. With bamboo (and most other plants) you want to irrigate for long periods of time and let the water soak deep into the soil rather than watering for only a few minutes. You would often be surprised that after watering for twenty minutes and your yard has become muddy, if you dig down five inches you wil find parched soil! Dirt will usually take a long time to soak up water and so ideally you want to water for a hour or more. After an hour or two of watering your soil should be well soaked several feet down, not just on the surface. After a few days the soil will dry out on the surface but remain moist several inches down.

Watering deeply like this will encourage much better root structures in bamboo and other plants because the roots will travel down deeper to find water rather than just growing out close to the surface. Remember, some necessary nutrients are typically found deeper in the soil but not near the surface so encouraging deep roots not only helps make plants more drought tolerant, but healthier overall.

With bamboo and most other plants, after watering deeply you want the top of the soil to dry out. Just the top inch or so, with the soil deeper down retaining moisture but not being soggy. Once this happens then water again. For most people in most climates, this will involve watering about once per week. But during very hot weather this might be twice per week. And remember, it is better to water your plants in the early morning because watering at night attracts slugs and other pests while watering during the heat of the day is wasteful and can stress your plant's roots.


Bamboo plants are in the grass family and like other grasses use a lot of nitrogen. Your plants will perform their best when fertilized in early April with a slow release pellet such as Osmocote. Osmocote is the brand we use for bamboo and almost all other plant groups, the specific formula we have the best results with is Osmocote Plus with micro-nutrients. Each version has a slightly different release rate so follow the directions on the bag, they will provide some ratio like "one tablespoon per square foot" so just give your plants that much based on the total square footage of the grove.

We have tried lots of brands of slow release fertilizer and Osmocote is by far superior to any we have tried. The pellets release fertilizer much more evenly than most other brands which is important for preventing root burning, where high spikes in nitrogen damage the root tissues and can weaken or even kill your plants. And because Osmocote is more expensive than other brands we have tried a lot of alternatives and each time saw poor results.

If you are growing your plants in containers then fertilizer becomes more important as plants in the ground have much better access to a continual supply of nutrients and minerals. Apply a slow release pellet every April using the dosage listed on the bag just like plants growing in the ground. Just be sure to fertilize every year because container-grown plants need it far more than plants growing in the ground.

LeBeau Bamboo Nursery       Medford, Oregon       541-499-4992       Privacy Policy