Bamboo, real bamboo, has over 1400 documented species. This plant is a popular and fast-growing addition to any garden and its timber has been known to grow nearly five feet each year!
So, can bamboo be grown indoors? Yes. While most types of bamboos thrive best outside, there are many bamboo varieties that flourish indoors as well. Given that you provide them with the right conditions and proper attention.
Most people think Lucky Bamboo when it comes to indoor bamboo plants. It is a great option for anyone seeking a minimal care plant. It does well in warm indoor settings with minimal sunlight and can grow in water or soil. Despite its name, lucky bamboo is not actually bamboo, so we won’t be discussing it on this page. But, if you’re interested in learning more about lucky bamboo and how to care for it as an indoor bamboo plant, check out our lucky bamboo plant page!
What bamboo species can grow indoors
These bamboos listed below are varieties that can be grown indoors. However, keep in mind this list isn’t complete. There are about 1700 bamboo species and I am sure you can grow more than these below indoors.
|Species||Type||Average Height (ft)|
|Phyllostachys Aurea ‘Golden Bamboo’||Running||15-30|
|Phyllostachys Nigra ‘Black Bamboo’||Running||20-30|
|Pseudosasa Japonica ‘Arrow Bamboo’ or ‘Yadake’||Running||18|
|Bambusa Multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’||Clumping||12-20|
|Bambusa Multiplex ‘Chinese Goddess’||Clumping||6-7|
|Bambusa Ventricosa ‘Buddha Belly’||Clumping||12|
|Bambusa Ventricosa ‘Kimmei Buddha’s Belly’||Clumping||5-15|
|Chimonobambusa Marmorea ‘Variegata’||Running||6|
|Chimonobambusa Quadrangularis’ Suow’||Running||25|
|Chimonobambusa Quadrangularis ‘Yellow Groove’||Running||8-10|
|Hibanobambusa Tranquillans ‘Shiroshima’||Running||16|
|Indocalamus Tessellatus ‘Giant Leaf’||Running||5-10|
|Pleioblastus Pygmaeus ‘Pygmy Bamboo’||Running||2|
|Pleioblastus Viridistriatus ‘Dwarf Greenstripe’||Running||2-4|
|Pleioblastus Fortunei ‘Dwarf Whitestripe’||Running||2-4|
|Sasaella Masamuneana ‘Albostriata’||Running||6|
|Sasaella Ramosa (groundcover)||Running||1.5-3|
|Semiarundinaria Fastuosa ‘Temple Bamboo’||Running||20|
Growing conditions of indoor bamboo plants
Bamboo plants make a stellar addition to any home – with the proper attention and care. While bamboo tends to be hardy outdoors, it is also sensitive to levels of sunlight, moisture, and humidity, and it requires proper soil and drainage. While it can be a bit of a challenge to get them going, once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be glad you did.
Water is first on the list because it is the single-most-important factor in keeping a bamboo healthy. Bamboo is a moisture-loving plant, but an over-watered bamboo will not survive. If the soil is constantly oversaturated with water, the roots will suffocate and can rot. Good drainage is the key to healthy bamboo.
Erring on the side of underwatering is best. Once established, bamboo is fairly drought tolerant. But like all newly planted plants, it requires more frequent watering at the start. Water in small amounts, two to three times per week at first, allowing the top 2-3 inches to dry out between waterings.
Keep a close eye on your plant’s leaves. Are they curling up, drying up or dropping off? These are signals that your bamboo needs more frequent watering. Most importantly, if your soil is aerated enough, even too much watering won’t cause you too much stress.
To simplify things, you may consider the purchase of a moisture meter. Most have three basic settings, ranging from dry to wet, and you want a reading right in the middle. Check with your local garden center or growing guide in order to find any details relevant to your particular bamboo variety.
Proper drainage goes hand-in-hand with moisture. And it’s quite simple to achieve:
- Use a pot with drainage holes. Place it in a larger pot or on a tray. If this is impossible, follow at least the steps below.
- Start with small rocks or pebbles at the bottom of the pot.
- Use a light potting mixture of 1/3 soil, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 perlite.
Light and placement
Most types of bamboo love light – the more, the better. They will thrive with a few hours of sunlight.
But bright, all-day indirect natural light will suit them very well. Less light won’t necessarily harm a bamboo, but growth will be slower.
The light requirements vary for the species you picked. So, it’s best to check this individually. Below you’ll find a short list of the indoor bamboo plants that we have mentioned earlier.
- Bambusa Multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’
- Phyllostachys Aurea ‘Golden Bamboo’
- Phyllostachys Nigra ‘Black Bamboo’
- Bambusa Ventricosa ‘Buddha Belly’
- Bambusa Ventricosa ‘Kimmei Buddha’s Belly’
Moderate to bright light:
- Pseudosasa Japonica ‘Arrow Bamboo’
- Chimonobambusa Quadrangularis’ Suow’
- Chimonobambusa Quadrangularis ‘Yellow Groove’
- Pleioblastus Pygmaeus ‘Pygmy Bamboo’
- Pleioblastus Viridistriatus ‘Dwarf Greenstripe’
- Sasaella Masamuneana ‘Albostriata’
- Semiarundinaria Fastuosa ‘Temple Bamboo’
Low to moderate light:
- Sasaella Ramosa (groundcover)
- Pleioblastus Fortunei ‘Dwarf Whitestripe’
- Chimonobambusa Marmorea ‘Variegata’
- Indocalamus Latifolius
- Indocalamus Tessellatus ‘Giant Leaf’
While your watering can is important, moisture isn’t only absorbed through the soil. Bamboo likes – and needs – some humidity. The interior of a house can get a little dry and you may need to compensate for that. To put some water into the air, give the leaves a mist each day.
Other ways to introduce humidity into the room:
- A small water feature nearby, such as a recycling fountain
- If your plant has a drip tray, fill it with small rocks and water
- Run a humidifier in the house
Since your plant is indoors, it is more than likely at room temperature. Which is fine for bamboo, as long as you are paying attention to watering, draining, humidity, and light.
Always pay attention to the change of temperature in the room as natural lighting and its intensity change with the seasons. You may have to adjust other environmental factors with those natural changes.
More helpful hints for the care of indoor bamboo
Now that you’ve learned the essentials, you are well on the way to taking good care of your indoor bamboo.
Here are some other things to consider as you strive for your plants’ optimal health.
- Rotate your plants outside in warm, sunny weather. They love to soak in the sun and air.
- Revive an unhealthy bamboo by transplanting into a larger container with fresh soil.
- Feed with a well-rounded fertilizer during the spring and summer months.
- Bamboo tends to drop leaves with the change of season, even when perfectly healthy. This happens for most species in spring.
Tools for growing bamboo indoors
Growing bamboo indoors can present challenges, but with the right tools and a bit of extra care, it is quite simple. The following list of items can be purchased at any garden supply store and will help create a healthy environment for your bamboo.
- 1 spray bottle to mist the foliage
- A small oscillating fan on low, just a few hours a day for airflow
- Watering meter, to check the level of moisture in the soil
- High-nitrogen slow-release fertilizer
- A pair of pruning shears
Pruning and trimming indoor bamboo
Over time, bamboo may need a freshening up to cut out older canes and remove any unhealthy bits of foliage. Before you get out those pruners, it’s important to learn a bit about bamboo anatomy and proper technique.
Learn Before You Prune: Bamboo Anatomy
Odds are, that neatly jointed shoot of bamboo is a familiar sight. The shoot itself is called a culm. The horizontal lines along the culm are called culm nodes. Shoots that branch out from the culm are called, quite fittingly, branches and the horizontal lines along branches are called branch nodes.
This terminology is important because it will tell you which places are safe to cut when pruning. Once any part of the bamboo is cut, it will not grow back. So, you want to make sure you know what you are doing.
To prune, the optimal place to trim is just above the nodes. Placing the cut there ensures that you won’t leave an unsightly exposed stub behind that can rot. Make a clean, horizontal cut with sharp pruning shears.
Pruning isn’t an absolute necessity. It’s a way for you to control the look, size, and shape of your plant, and maintain the dimensions and aesthetic you like. It can benefit the health of the bamboo by directing the plant’s energy toward a limited number of culms and branches.
Bamboo can grow quite tall. If you want to be sure your bamboo doesn’t outgrow your living space, you will have to ‘top’ it or, prune it to maintain a certain height. New shoots will emerge over time, so this is something you’ll have to take care of each year.
When to top and why
Late summer or early fall is the best time to prune your bamboo. This is when the shooting season of your bamboo ends and coincides best with its natural growth cycle. When pruned during the shooting season, the bamboo’s energy is diminished, and this can negatively affect its ability to produce new shoots. So put those shears away until then!
Kids or Pets and indoor bamboo
There are a lot of things around the house that are dangerous to our pets or little ones. But bamboo is not one of them! Bamboo is non-toxic to dogs, cats, and humans, among living things. Some pet chews and toys are even made from bamboo. In fact, with a little preparation (and boiling), some types of bamboo are even edible.
These bamboo species are reported as not only edible but delicious:
- Acidosasa edulis
- Chimonocalamus delicatus
- Gigantochloa levis
Check out the full list to see if the indoor variety you’d like to grow is on the list. Maybe your indoor bamboo will have a purpose beyond just looking beautiful!
It is always a good idea to personally check anything new you bring into your house – especially before it is purposefully or accidentally ingested. Before welcoming a new type of plant into your home, ask your veterinarian or pediatrician what they know about it.
And before boiling up your newly-harvested bamboo, do your research to ensure yours is edible – and learn how to properly prepare it.