Gardener posing with potted bamboo plant in nursery

9 Bamboo Plants To Grow In Pots

Bamboo plants grown in pretty ornamental pots look absolutely elegant. Growing bamboo in containers is a great way to prevent them from taking over your landscape, while still getting to enjoy the beauty of its greenery.

Bamboo grown in pots also offers you flexibility. You can easily move them from the garden to your patio or porch and back. Certain bamboos have the unique feature of growing really well in tight spaces, so you don’t have to worry about the health of your plant.

There are bamboo species that can be grown in pots of different sizes, colors, and shapes. If you are an enthusiast of these beautiful plants, and you’ve been looking to grow your bamboo in a container for a smaller, controlled pattern, you’ve found the right place.

Growing bamboo in pots

A lot of bamboo species can be grown in pots. However, there are a few differences to growing these in pots versus in-ground. Leaves may not be as green or dense as with bamboo grown in the ground. New shoots may not appear frequently, and the culms do not grow in height and width as expected.

Some people grow bamboo in pots to transplant them to the ground later. But if you want to grow them in pots permanently, you must select an ideal species and ensure proper care.

In addition, you should know that bamboo roots can break pots due to their structure. To prevent this bad surprise, utilize a container made of sturdy material. You’ll find more on this later in this article.

9 Bamboo species that thrive in pots

So, let’s look at all the bamboo species you can grow in pots. Keep in mind, the heights and diameters are for in-ground bamboo. When you grow them in pots, they will not get this tall or big.

1. Drepanostachyum khasianum (Purple Jade Bamboo)

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 10-20 ft (3-5 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.3 in (1 cm)
  • USDA zones: 6-11
  • Hardiness: 17°F (-8°C)
  • Light: Light shade, full shade, part sun
  • Soil: Fertile, moist but well-draining soil
  • Watering: Regular, requires plenty of water, fairly drought-resistant when mature

Purple Jade Bamboo is a garden specimen that’s impressive and colorful. It has long, dark, glossy leaves, and outstanding culms with stunning features. It is native to the highlands of northern India.

This species stands out as an amazing potted bamboo that thrives in both indoor and outdoor areas. The culms of this plant are slender and elegant. They have both purple and white rings around their internodes.

Learn more about growing bamboo indoors here!

Leaves of the Dwarf Whitestripe Bamboo plant with green and white variegated leaves
Pleioblastus variegatus

2. Pleioblastus variegatus (Dwarf Whitestripe Bamboo)

  • Type: Running
  • Height: 1-3 ft (30-91 cm)
  • Stem diameter: 0.25 in (0.6 cm)
  • USDA zones: 7b-10
  • Hardiness: 10°F (-12°C)
  • Light: Full sun, partial shade
  • Soil: Fertile, moist but well-draining soil
  • Watering: Regular, needs plenty of water

Dwarf Whitestripe Bamboo is popular among most bamboo enthusiasts in North America due to its unique appearance. It’s striking and easy to grow, making the perfect outdoor or patio bamboo you’ll love. This bamboo has upward-pointing green leaves that are strongly variegated with white.

Pleioblastus variegatus only gets up to a few feet tall. It has an aggressive root structure, but it’s an ideal option for pots. Planting this species in containers will prevent it from spreading and not affect its height.

Sasa veitchii bamboo hardy plant portraits green white edged edges
Sasa veitchii

3. Sasa veitchii (Kuma-Zasa Bamboo)

  • Type: Running
  • Height: 3-5 ft (0.9-1.5 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.5 in (1.2 cm)
  • USDA zones: 6a-11
  • Hardiness: 5°F (-15°C)
  • Light: Full sun, part shade, full shade 
  • Soil: Average, moist but well-draining soil
  • Watering: Regular, average watering needs

Kuma-Zasa, also known as Broad-Leaved Bamboo, is a dwarf bamboo with dark green leaves. In fall and winter, the leaves form bold, creamy white bands around the margins.

This is one of the most beautiful bamboos you’ll find. It’s a shade lover that can light up any landscape. This bamboo is compact, so it looks great in pots. Just like other Sasa species, it is cold-hardy and tolerates moist conditions.

Fargesia nitida sprouts with leaves
Fargesia nitida

4. Fargesia nitida (Chinese Fountain Bamboo)

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 10-12 ft (3-3.5 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.75 in (1.9 cm)
  • USDA zones: 5-9
  • Hardiness: -20°F (-29°C)
  • Light: Full sun, part shade, full shade 
  • Soil: Moist but well-draining soil
  • Watering: Regular, requires plenty of water

This is a robust bamboo species with slender, green-purplish culms that bend outwards forming the shape of a fountain. The leaves are quite small and are slightly grey-green.

Fargesia nitida is quick-growing and it makes an elegant potted bamboo. It’s easy to grow, hardy, and shade-tolerant. This is an ornamental bamboo that’s attractive and popular amongst bamboo enthusiasts in northern Europe.

This species hates the heat of summer. If you live in a hot climate, they’ll do fine in full shade, and you can expose them to indirect sunlight in the morning.

5. Pseudosasa japonica (Arrow Bamboo)

  • Type: Running
  • Height: 12-18 ft (3.6-5.5 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.75 in (1.9 cm)
  • USDA zones: 7a-11
  • Hardiness: 0°F (-18°C) 
  • Light: Part-shade, full sun 
  • Soil: Average, moist but well-draining soil
  • Watering: Regular, require plenty of water in full sun

This bamboo thrives both outdoors and indoors. It is a commonly grown species in the U.S. The leaves get greener and glossy in full sun and darker in partial shade. It has upright culms. This is how it got the name: Arrow bamboo.

Arrow bamboo tolerates salty and windy conditions. It’s easy to grow, is shade-friendly, and beautiful addition to any home.

Find out more about Arrow Bamboo here!

6. Fargesia murieliae ‘Rufa’ (Umbrella Bamboo)

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 10-14 ft (3-4 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.5 inch (1.25 cm)
  • USDA zones: 5-9
  • Hardiness: -20°F (-29°C)
  • Light: Part-shade, full shade, part sun 
  • Soil: Average, moist but well-draining soil
  • Watering: Regular, needs plenty of water

This species is popularly known as Umbrella Bamboo due to its unique canopy feature. The evergreen leaves form an umbrella shape at the top. Fargesia murieliae is a non-invasive bamboo that loves shade. It doesn’t do well when exposed to intense heat.

This bamboo is drought-tolerant and wind-resistant. Its shoots emerge light blue and then turn yellowish-green when mature. Umbrella bamboo is regarded as the cold-hardiest bamboo and one of the easiest to maintain.

7. Otatea acuminata (Mexican Weeping Bamboo)

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 20 ft (6 m)
  • Stem diameter: 1.5 in (3.8 cm)
  • USDA zones: 8b-11
  • Hardiness: 20°F (-6°C)
  • Light: Part-shade, full sun
  • Soil: Sandy to clay, moist but well-draining soil
  • Watering: Regular, needs normal watering, drought tolerant

Mexican Weeping Bamboo is an attractive bamboo that is drought tolerant. It has very fine evergreen leaves that are long and thin.

Although this plant is drought-tolerant, it should be protected from hard frost. When exposed to cold winters, its leaves could be damaged temporarily.

8. Himalayacalamus hookerianus (Himalayan Blue Bamboo)

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 12-20 ft (3.6-6 m)
  • Stem diameter: 1 in (2.5 cm)
  • USDA zones: 8b-9
  • Hardiness: 20°F (-6°C)
  • Light: Part-shade, part sun (curls up in full sun)
  • Soil: Sandy to loamy, moist, well-draining soil
  • Watering: Regular, needs normal watering 

This is one of the most popular and elegant blue bamboo. The blue films of this species come with a hint of purple or red. As the plant matures, they usually turn olive green and ultimately becomes golden.

This bamboo is not suitable for sunny locations or hot southern climates. It’s a shade lover, so it prefers filtered sun. Himalayacalamus species has thin leaves that are impressive and it grows well in medium-sized pots.

two tiny bamboo plants in two pots next to each other with the text: What Bamboo Grows Well in Pots?

9. Bambusa multiplex (Hedge Bamboo)

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 20-30 ft (6-9 m)
  • Stem diameter: 1.5 in (3.8 cm)
  • USDA zones: 6b-10
  • Hardiness: 15-20°F (-21°C)
  • Light: Part-shade, part sun, full sun
  • Soil: Light sandy, loamy, and heavy clay; acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) moist, humus-rich, well-draining soil.
  • Watering: Regular, needs normal watering

This bamboo tolerates cold temperatures and it’s quite useful. It thrives in the Northern California climate. It has thick foliage and a dense growth pattern.

Bambusa multiplex has a clumping root system that makes it the perfect bamboo for growing in pots. It’s an ornamental plant that is hardier than most Bambusa species, but it can get damaged in the wind.

Hedge bamboo loves full sun and proper watering boosts its growth rate, but overwatering can lead to the death of this bamboo.

Picking the right pot for your bamboo

In order to grow a healthy bamboo plant, you have to select a good pot. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when picking a pot for your bamboo plant. Let’s discuss these important features.

Size of the pot

The size of the pot is the most important feature you must look out for. You must select a pot that’ll let the root of your plant develop. While it is completely fine to start with a smaller pot for young bamboo plants, you shouldn’t use any pot smaller than 20 in (50 cm) in diameter for mature plants.

If you go with a smaller pot, you’ll have to trim the roots every year. This is a lot of work because bamboo roots are quite strong. So, the larger the pot, the better for you.

Material of the pot

The material of the pot is very important too. Bamboo is a strong plant. You need a sturdy pot so the roots don’t break through the container. Thick plastic or metal are great choices.

Additionally, it’s vital to consider your weather condition before picking a pot. If you live in an extreme climate where it gets really hot or cold, and you’re growing a species that’s not fully hardy, then metal pots may not be the best option.

Metal pots heat up and cool down very quickly. Double-walled plastic pots offer the adequate insulation that your bamboo needs in such extreme climate conditions.

Shape of the pot

When it comes to the shape of your pot, you want to avoid ones with narrow tops. Look out for pots with wider openings that’ll allow you to transplant your bamboo if you eventually need to. An ideal shape would be a pot that has its top as wide or even wider than its bottom.

Drainage holes

If you’re growing your bamboo in pots, you must ensure that your pots have good drainage holes. These plants dislike waterlogged soil. To avoid this, you must make sure that you pick pots with enough drainage holes.

Your pots should have at least 2-3 drainage holes on the bottom. However, you can drill even more holes depending on the size of your pot. The size of these holes can be between 0.5-1 inch. Using polypropylene shade cloth on the inside bottom of the pot can also help to prevent the drainage holes from clogging up.

Care tips for growing bamboo in pots

Bamboo plants grown in pots require extra care. This is simply because they are less hardy in pots than in the ground and they are more prone to environmental stress. To ensure a healthy plant, provide basic needs like insulation and space.

If you’ve provided these things while planting then you don’t need to put in so much effort to adequately care for your plants. Also, keep in mind that potted plants require more fertilizing. Here are other care tips that’ll help you grow bamboo plants in pots successfully.

Soil

Make sure you get the right potting soil for your bamboo. When you have your bamboo in a pot, they are more prone to waterlogging. This makes it necessary to ensure that you are using good soil.

Generally, bamboo thrives in moist, well-draining, loamy soil, but you want to pay attention to the specific requirement of the species you are looking to plant.

Watering

You also want to make sure to water your bamboo plants regularly. They have restricted root space in pots, so they’ll easily get dry. An ideal watering routine should be twice weekly. But you would need to water more in summer.

For more details on how to properly water your bamboo, read this!

Thinning

Thinning is only necessary when you find roots emerging above the soil. You can easily use a trowel to remove a few of them. Pulling the roots out will allow your bamboo to get more water and air.

Frost protection

As mentioned earlier, any species of bamboo will become less hardy when planted in pots. Bamboos in pots are more exposed to frost as they are growing in the ground.

So, you’ll need to protect your plant from frost. In winter, you can wrap burlap around the canes and container or move them indoors.

Pests and diseases

To ensure healthy potted bamboo, you need to be mindful of pests and diseases. Bamboo growing in pots can be infected with fungal spots when you leave them in soggy conditions. You can get copper-based fungicide to deal with this disease.

Make sure to avoid mosaic viruses by sterilizing your pruning shears. If you find rotted roots, make sure to remove them. You can also wash your bamboo if you find pests like aphids and scale on them.

Did you find the perfect bamboo to grow in pots? Let us know in the comments! Have you tried growing any of these species in pots? Share your experience!

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Woman (Natalie) and man (James) in front of bamboo

We are James and Natalie – newly-weds & nature lovers!

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