Garden scene with bamboo that droops over a path

Why Bamboo Droops & How You Can Help It

I know exactly how it feels to find your precious bamboo plants drooping after a few months or years. It gets so frustrating and you keep wondering if it’s normal.

Bamboo droops for many reasons. Certain bamboos like Phyllostachys nigra have the habit of leaning over when they get new growth. Some lean over to find light, and others are growing in an overly tight space.

How exactly can you help your plant get back to the amazing established look you’ve always admired? When this happens to your plant it needs human help to get back on track. In this post, I’ll be revealing several reasons why your bamboo is leaning over and how you can get it upright again.

Why does bamboo droop?

Bamboo plants start drooping due to a quick growth spurt, or lack of proper care. Bamboo with thin canes that have smaller diameters tends to droop more.

This is common with bamboo that generates a lot of foliage. The thin culms are weighed down by their leaves. You’ll find this with species that have smaller culms like some Fargesia species. Things get worse in certain seasons when the weight of rain or snow can weigh down the thin canes even more.

Drooping bamboo in a garden with the text: Why is your bamboo bending over? Learn how you can help it!

Bamboo plants with really large foliage will bend over with the slightest downpour or snow. Bamboo groves that have less gap between culms accumulate more snow on their foliage and eventually lean over.

In addition, bamboo in shade also tends to droop in search of light. This is an unavoidable circumstance with species that are not shade-tolerant. For example, species such as Black Bamboo, and Phyllostachys bissetii tend to bend over when grown in low light conditions.

If you grow bamboo in very tight spaces, you may also have to deal with droopy culms once in a while.

Is this normal? Will my bamboo plant be upright again?

Yes, your bamboo is still fine as long as the culms are not broken. There are several ways to support your plant and make them straight again. You can still manage to have that amazing look you’ve always enjoyed.

Many bamboo growers wonder if their bamboo is normal, or if they’ve bought the wrong bamboo seeds once they find their plant weeping. This is nothing to worry about. You can get your plants off that driveway or pathway easily.

If this is the first time you’ll be dealing with drooping bamboo, read to the end of this article to learn how to stop your bamboo from leaning.

The tip of the bamboo leaning towards the wind

How to stop bamboo from leaning

Bamboo leaning over is a sign that it needs some sort of additional support. Most people wonder if they’ll be harming their plants by performing any kind of extra actions. As long as you follow my guide, your plant will be happier and healthier than ever. Below, I’ll mention a few methods to help stop bamboo from drooping without hurting them.

If your bamboo weeps and gets in the driveway or covers up other plants, it’s a good idea to support them and get them upright with any of these techniques.

Tying the culms to stakes

If you have a few culms bending over, it’s a good idea to tie the canes to stakes to help keep them straight. You can use metal or wooden canes to achieve this.

Tie your bamboo to the stake. Make sure to attach the entire group of culms. Allow your plant to stay this way for a few months, and your culms will turn out fine.

Attach the leaning culms to other upright culms

You can tie the entire bamboo groove together into one bundle. This is a very simple way to help your plants stay upright. The culms will support each other and stand straight. You’ll need a very strong chord. It could be a copper electric wire or a rope.

Make sure the loop is long enough to encircle the entire grove. Ensure you secure them well, but be careful not to tie the canes too tightly. Free up the branches if they are bound by the wire, this will make your plant look natural as though it wasn’t tied.

This is a great option for you if you’ve got bamboo species leaning over on driveways. You can easily clear your pathways completely.

Man cutting a bamboo with a scissor
Man with a scissor chopping a bamboo

Trimming the top of your plants

To prevent your bamboo from being top-heavy, you can trim the top part of your plant. Most bamboo plants lean over because the top part is too heavy.

Trimming the tall shoots will not harm your plants. When you find weaker culms in the groove shaded by new culms, you can cut them off entirely to let in more air and light.

Learn more about trimming & pruning bamboo here!

How to prevent bamboo from leaning over

As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes bamboo plants bend over for a multitude of reasons. So it’s important that you get things right from the start.

Make sure you plant the right bamboo for your region or try as much as possible to create the perfect conditions for your bamboo. If you have sun-loving bamboo, make sure it gets sunlight for at least 8 hours daily.

If you have extreme weather conditions like a harsh winter, and your bamboo isn’t hardy, there are different ways you can handle it. Cover them up with a bubble wrap if they are in-ground bamboo, or move them indoors if you’ve planted them in pots.

Avoid planting bamboo in overly tight spaces, they’ll eventually lean over. Your plants should have enough space to grow tall and wide.

If your bamboo is already growing in a tight space, you should prune and trim them occasionally. Remove dead canes and cut out old ones once there’s new growth. You’ll want to remove as much as possible.

Fertilizing your plant is a good idea, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want to get your culms weighed down with huge greenery.

Have you dealt with drooping bamboo before? What method did you use? Share your experience in the comments!

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About Us

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

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

We want to give you the best information possible on bamboo. Get inspired to grow bamboo or to switch to natural bamboo products!