How to Grow Bamboo Indoors: 7 Essential Tips for Success

Love a good houseplant? Me too!

Greening up your indoor space is one of the most powerful things you can do for your health and mood when you’re working inside all day. So, it makes sense that bamboo would be pretty high on the list, right?

Right!

But how to grow bamboo indoors? Is it even possible?

I’m not going to lie, it’s challenging to grow bamboo indoors. Let’s talk about why and how to overcome these challenges.

Is Bamboo a Good Indoor Plant?

The answer to this question depends on what you mean by ‘good’. If you mean low maintenance, then probably not. But if you mean good in terms of the health and mood benefits of growing bamboo indoors, then yes!

Bamboo helps to clean the air by removing toxins, it produces an abundant amount of oxygen, and its lush, green foliage is ideal for making your indoor environment feel alive and wholesome.

bamboo in pot at home

Bamboo is also believed to bring good fortune in Chinese culture and ward off bad chi when the principles of Feng Shui are used.

But before we talk about how to grow bamboo indoors, we should talk about why it’s not ideal for bamboo plants to be kept inside. Once you know the reasons, you can decide whether you’re up for the challenge or whether you might choose a different plant instead.

Fast Growing

Bamboo is notorious for being a very fast-growing plant. When growing outside in ideal conditions, a plant with an established root system can send up a new cane to reach its full height in a matter of weeks.

But even a young plant grows quickly, making it less suitable for indoor growing as it will likely outgrow its pot pretty quickly.

Large, Spreading Root System

On the same note, the extent that bamboo roots like to spread out can mean that the plant can quickly become root-bound and choke itself in a pot.

Requires Lots of Light

Unlike most houseplant species, which originate in shady, tropical forests, bamboo isn’t used to competing for the sun. It likes a lot of light, more than can easily be provided in most indoor settings.

Unless you have a very sunny spot where you can position your bamboo, it will most likely struggle.

Requires Fresh Air

Contrary to what most people think, indoor air quality is usually lower than outdoor. Bamboo likes clean air, so your office building with its enclosed air conditioning system is not the ideal environment.

Is Adapted to Fluctuations in Temperature

Bamboo is used to the temperatures dropping at night and rising again during the day. It’s also used to changing seasons. Keeping it housed in your artificially heated home with minimal temperature fluctuations is not a natural state for bamboo.

How to Grow Bamboo Indoors Successfully

So with all this in mind, can you grow bamboo indoors?

With a little care, yes you can. Keep reading to find out how.

Select the Right Variety

Your biggest ticket to success is to choose the right variety of bamboo plants to grow inside.

An important factor is to choose a clumping variety and not a running variety. Clumping varieties form roots that cluster together while running varieties send off runners far and wide under the ground. Clumping varieties will live more happily enclosed in a pot than running varieties.

It’s also a sensible idea to choose dwarf varieties that will be easier to keep to a manageable size.

Good varieties to choose from include Buddha’s Belly, Mexican Weeping Bamboo, and Japanese Arrow Bamboo.

Provide Good Quality Soil

Gardening Soil

Providing soil with good drainage (but not so much that it can’t hold on to any water!) and a healthy supply of nutrients will be key to keeping your bamboo plant happy.

Soil quality isn’t as important when a plant is outside, but when it is confined to a container, it’s a key detail.

Fertilize Regularly

Bamboo is a pretty hungry plant and appreciates a good supply of nutrients. Being confined to a container means that it will need a little helping hand with getting all the food it needs.

Be Vigilant with Watering

Bamboo thrives in subtropical conditions so it does like regular watering. But indoor plants can easily be overwatered so avoid falling into this trap.

To ensure that this doesn’t happen, make sure the pot you choose has large holes in its base (also be sure to sit it in a large tray or dish to catch the excess water that drains away) and choose soil that has good drainage.

Bamboo also appreciates a little humidity. You can either spray it every now and then with a little water, put it in your shower and give it a little drink that way or put it outside when it’s raining. This comes with the added benefits of washing off any dust or pests that might accumulate indoors.

Provide Lots of Light

Lack of light is probably the biggest challenge when it comes to bamboo. Choosing a sunny spot in your house is best. Unlike most houseplants, bamboo prefers direct sunlight. It can handle a little shade but with no direct sun, it will suffer.

Be sure to rotate the pot regularly to ensure that all sides of the plant get enough light.

White spectrum grow lights

If you live somewhere with limited sunlight during certain times of the year, you can help out your green potted friend with some LEDs in the form of grow lights. If this is an overwhelming prospect, have a read of these articles on LED and HID grow lights.

Trust me, it’s easy once you get started! And if cost is a concern, there are plenty of cheaper grow light options available too.

Open a Window

Opening a window helps tick the fresh air box. Allowing some air circulation will help to emulate the outdoor environment a little better and may help to keep pests at bay.

Give it an Outdoor Holiday

One final way that you can ensure the long-term happiness of your bamboo plant is to put it outside for a few months of every year (probably in the warmer months). Let it get some unfiltered sunlight and feel the wind through its leaves and it will thank you.

Good Alternatives

If you’ve read through all this and you’re not sure whether indoor bamboo is for you, there are some alternatives.

For example, did you know that lucky bamboo isn’t actually bamboo but a Dracaena? They are super easy to grow and make excellent houseplants. Purchasing yourself a lucky bamboo plant means you get similar aesthetics to real bamboo without all the hassle.

Other plants that have a similar vibe to bamboo but are super easy to grow indoors include Parlor Palms, Bamboo Palms, and Giant Cane Grass.

If you’re determined to go with real bamboo (and I understand, there’s something alluring about the real thing) but can’t provide the ideal conditions naturally, using a grow cabinet could be an option.

Last but not least, why not plant your bamboo plant outside your window? This way, you can still see it, but it will require little to no maintenance and will likely thrive.

Summary

I hope you’re not too put off?

As you can see, there are challenges when figuring out how to grow bamboo indoors. But, it can be done, and the result will likely be very rewarding.

Take care of its light requirements, provide ample food and open a window. Hopefully, your bamboo plant will provide years of enjoyment!

Have you grown bamboo successfully at home? I’d love to know what tips and tricks you put in place to keep your plant healthy! Let me know in the comments below!

Andy Gibson

My name's Gibson. Andy Gibson. I like to think of myself as the Bond of the backyard, that is if yard work ever became sexy. I write about everything about indoor and outdoor gardening and the dread-it-but-still-need-to-do-it chores around the yard, like cleaning out the gutter guards.

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