Only certain bamboo will grow well in a planter box. As a general rule, if you plan on using a planter box for growing bamboo it’s best to pick a clumping bamboo species, although some small running species will grow okay in containers. A couple good clumping species include Phyllostachys nigra and Phyllostachys aurea. The best overall genera for running plants is Fargesia although groundcover-type bamboo plants will also make good container plants.
When picking out the species you want to use, keep in mind that the bamboo will probably only grow ½ of its potential height and will be less tolerant to heat and cold, meaning it will need extra water in the summer.
As a general rule planters, should be no smaller than 20” by 20”. The smaller the planter the more often you will have to divide the plant to keep it healthy. For this reason it is really best to start running bamboo in planters at least 30” by 30”. Clumping bamboo grown in a 20” by 20” planter and running bamboo grown in a 30” by 30” planter should have to be divided and transplanted about every five years.
Raised planters are, in my opinion, the best option for planting bamboo. When looking for a good planter, recycling wooden pallets and barrels can be a great way to make one for cheap. Another option though is concrete with rhubarb. If you’re buying a commercially made planter watch out for metals as they can end up roasting your plant. I haven’t used this one before, but it looks like it would good.
If you chose a wood container it’s not a bad idea to line it with a polypropylene root barrier-especially for running bamboo plants.
Once you have your planter you will want to make sure that it has good draining holes and that you use a soil high in sand such as this one so that it drains well.
Overall, this can be a great way to grow bamboo, especially if you live in a rental or if you want to spruce up the outside of a business! Even if you’re planting bamboo in a container it’s also not a bad idea to check out the bamboo plant care page!