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How To Plant Bamboo Seeds In 7 Simple Steps

How To Plant Bamboo Seeds In 7 Simple Steps

I love cultivating my own lush bamboo plants, and it is easier than you may think.

There is something magical about watching the dark earth break as fresh green shoots rise from below to tower as tall bamboo stalks that can reach as much as 90 feet in some varieties.

People often ask me how to plant bamboo seeds, and I gladly share my secret.


How To Plant Bamboo Seeds

You need to soak bamboo seeds for 24 hours before you plant them. Seed them in a general-purpose potting mix or appropriate growing medium. Ensure the soil is warm enough to plant in before adding the seeds, then cover them, and water enough to ensure the soil stays damp. Within 10-15 days, you should see the sprouting of green growth.


Step-by-Step Guide to Planting Bamboo Seeds

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of planting bamboo seeds. It’s easier than you think!


Step One: Soak the Seeds

Early in spring is the best time to plant bamboo seeds. Place your bamboo seeds in a bowl with tepid water, soaking them for 24 hours prior to planting.

I like to give them a gentle stir once or twice during this time, but be sure not to disturb the seeds too much.


Step Two: Prepare the Growth Medium

If you are planting outdoors, you will want to prepare your garden bed to receive the seeds with a good layer of general-purpose compost.

In pots, which is what I prefer, simply add your compost or growth medium to a pot or growing tray. Do this while your seeds are soaking.

Cover the pot or garden bed with plastic sheeting. Ensure it receives enough sunlight to heat up the soil without drying it out.

I check the soil temperature with a kitchen thermometer. Simply place it in the soil for 5 minutes, check the temperature, and if you reach 70-80℉, you’re good to plant.


Step Three: Placing Seeds in the Growth Medium

Place your seeds about a quarter-inch apart, cover with about an eighth of an inch of potting soil or compost, spray with water, and cover with plastic.

Ensure the soil is damp but not waterlogged.


Step Four: Wait Patiently

This is the hardest part: waiting! I am always so eager to see the new shoots break ground, but each bamboo species has its own growth rate.

On average, you can expect to see growth around days 10-15. However, if you don’t see any growth yet, just remain patient.

Each seed has its own timing, and digging them up will be more harmful than beneficial.

During this time, you can continue to check the soil temperature, ensuring it remains at a nice warm 70-80℉ to ensure germination can take place.

Keep the soil damp, and spray when you notice it begins to dry out. The seeds don’t like dry soil, especially when they are fragile and have just begun germinating.


Step Five: Make a Bigger Hothouse

The fresh green bamboo shoots are particularly fragile, and you should avoid watering them from the top of the shoot. Spray water on the ground rather or use a dropper to water the area around the new growth.

Since the bamboo seedlings will be growing, you need to raise the plastic sheeting that covers them with bamboo sticks or a planting grid. If the top of the shoots touch anything they will die.


Step Six: Protect the Bamboo Seedlings

Since you will be planting in early spring, there may be inclement weather or cold snaps, which can easily kill newly sprouted bamboo seeds.

An untimely frost can undo all your efforts as the seeds can freeze and burst into the ground. This is why I prefer to plant my bamboo seeds in pots, giving me the choice to bring them indoors once the weather gets cold.

Another way to protect the seedlings is to add mulching over the last layer of compost as this will give the young shoots some protection against cold winds and early morning temperature drops.


Step Seven: Transplant the Survivors

Do note though that not all bamboo seeds planted will germinate. Sadly, bamboo seeds can be quite difficult to please, and some may simply rot in the ground or remain dormant.

After about a month, you should have some success and will have several bamboo shoots that are big enough to transplant.

I like using a shallow 1.5-inch pot or tray to plant the new seedlings in as this gives them the highest chances at surviving.

In a garden bed, you may need to clear out the bed and create a new prepared surface.

Alternatively, you can plant the seedlings in planting bags with the appropriate compost mix and then plant these in the garden bed. It is a great way to support the fragile root structure of the new seedlings.

Ensure your potting mix is high drainage by mixing in 50% mulching or bark chips. Bamboo loves water, but the roots quickly rot, so having high-draining soil is essential.

Water your bamboo seedlings generously.

When the bamboo seedlings I have cultivated indoors or in my hothouse have reached a height of about 12 inches, they are strong enough to plant outdoors if I haven’t done so already.

I prefer seeding and growing healthy bamboo plants indoors before I plant them outside as this ensures they have a greater chance of survival.


Frequently Asked Questions about How to Plant Bamboo Seeds


Can you plant bamboo seeds directly in the ground?

Depending on the weather zone you are in, you can plant bamboo seeds directly in the ground. Bamboo seeds require some protection, so add an inch of mulching to help keep them warm during chilly seasons. If the plants are still young during their first winter, you can pot them and move them indoors to help boost them during the cold season.


Which way do you plant bamboo seeds?

You will need to germinate the bamboo seeds by soaking them in lukewarm water, planting them in compost or peat, and then covering them with plastic or mulching to let the seeds grow. This is the correct way to plant bamboo seeds.


How deep to plant bamboo seeds?

Plant bamboo seeds at a depth of half an inch. If you plant them deeper, the seeds may not be able to grow towards the light, and if you plant them too shallow, they may dry out and spoil before fully germinating. When planting bamboo seeds at this depth, you will see the first green shoots break the surface of the soil after 1-3 weeks. If nothing has happened after three weeks, there is a chance the seeds didn’t germinate.


The Last Shoot

Bamboo plants in a garden are a real centerpiece, and while they may take some TLC, they can be grown from seeds by following the above process.

Be careful about overwatering young seedlings, spend some time creating the right temperature for a seeding bed, and you will soon enough have a great crop of new bamboo seedlings greening up your garden.