How To Propagate Clumping Bamboo

There are two basic categories of bamboo plants commonly indoors: running bamboo and clumping bamboo. You might have heard that running bamboo should be avoided, and this is good advice for most gardeners. In this article, you will learn how to propagate clumping bamboo.

Simply put, running bamboo spreads much broader and faster than bamboo clumping, and is considered an invasive plant. There are ways to contain bamboo running and bamboo clumping, which also spreads, but it is best to stick to one of the clumping types unless we use the aggressive habits of bamboo growth.

how to propagate clumping bamboo

The Difference

All bamboos propagate through rhizomes, stem-like extensions that run horizontally underground and sprout down roots, and new plants shoot up. The bamboos running are a monopoly and have long rhizomes, which spread horizontally quickly. Bamboo clumping is sympodial. It has shorter rhizomes that remain closer to their point of origin and not spread so quickly. While bamboos clump out of a central plant, running types spread over the lawn or the garden. It can also pop up when you don’t want them.

In this respect, it is easy to understand why running bamboos are often classified as invasive plants. It is also easy to understand why most new people choose to grow bamboos.

Clumping VS Running Bamboo

how to propagate clumping bamboo

If running bamboo took the world, it would have done so thousands of years ago. There are running species of bamboo (temperate cold hardy, leptomorphic, etc.) we love, and there are clumping species (pachymorphic). These species are usually defined by their characteristics of rooting (rhizome). There are two main types of rhizome development for simplicity. There is a lot of other things like long neck versus short neck pachymorphs and even hybrids.

The bamboo clump shows a rhizome structure with pachymorphs or sympodial components. That means that every rhizome turns up to form a summit. Bamboo running has leptomorphic or monopodial rhizomes. This is characterized by an autonomous underground from which aerial climbs develop. 

The clumping bamboo has never impressed us with their appearance or growth rate. There are some nice Bambusa multiplexes with a height of 8 to 12 feet less than ten years. They were killed top each winter for many years but finally got the root structure to stay evergreen until it died entirely in the cold 2008 winter.

Running Bamboo

For most of the climate zones, there are running species. From climate cold Zone 5 to tropical warmth, there are running species suitable for all applications.

Running bamboos can provide a calm privacy screen or a lovely bamboo grove through which to walk. Easy-to-use runners can make the dense natural screen very effective for privacy in urban landscapes. They form vertical privacy screens, which provide even a narrow planting site with dense screening.

Clumping Bamboo

Clumping bamboo leave a lot to be desired because they are narrow at the base and weep at the top, leaving huge gaps between each bamboo planting. To the right are photos of bamboo clumping planted in zone 8 at the beginning of the 1950s.

Clumpers are very restricted to the areas they can grow, although cold, hard, and tropical clumping bamboo is present. In the climate zones in which they can live, the cold-hardy species (mostly mountain bamboo) clumps are very limited. It takes years to reach a mature height of 8 to 12 feet. Clumping species in climate zones seven and warmer struggle to survive and usually die because of summer warmth and humidity. 

More Information

They will do well in colder climates if you want a slow-growing bamboo that ripens at the height of 8 to 12 meters. They leave much to be desired for screening purposes as they are narrow at the basis and weep on the tops leaving huge gaps between each bamboo planting.

Tropical clumps can only be cultivated in very warm climates such as Zones 8 and 9. The tropical clumps are giants and can grow like running bamboo very quickly. The problem is the limited climatic areas and the spacing of the canes. Most specimens are very unsightly due to a large number of dead canes and limbs inside the clump between the culms (canes). These dense dead canes and limbs can not be reached without first cutting off some of the exterior canes.

How To Propagate Clumping Bamboo

how to propagate clumping bamboo

Bamboo makes an effective living screen that grows much faster than a traditional hedge to its maximum height. Clumping of bamboos is the easiest way to maintain and control the countryside — instead of wildly running through the yard and under fences. You may want to spread more of these plants to give friends or create additional borders because of their compact nature. The principal form of propagation is the division of rhizome as bamboo rarely and unreliably places seeds. Here’s how to how to propagate clumping bamboo!

1. Check outside of the bamboo clump to see if you are interested in spreading small shoots on edge. Remove bamboo from its pot if a potted bamboo is spreading.

2. Plunge the shovel around 8 inches into the soil and separate the rhizomes from the clump between the mature bamboo and the shooting on a stand’s perimeter. See the bamboo around 1 foot above ground on the outside edge if you need more room to work – some clumps will spread wider than others. Cut a potted bamboo into four pieces depending on the clump size, either with the shovel or with a hand screw.

3. Immediately transfer the divided rhizomes to the new bedding area or replant them into large pots at the same depth from which they were removed. Don’t let them dry out. Thoroughly water the bamboo until it is restored.

How To Propagate Clumping Bamboo: Method A

A division is one of the easiest ways to propagate a clumping bamboo. This simply means digging one or two culms from the parent plant than either potting it up or directly putting it in a new place in your yard. If you want to develop a bamboo display, that is by far the easiest and cheapest way to do it.

How To Propagate Clumping Bamboo: Method B

A second method of spreading bamboo clumping is by cutting the peaks. This involves choosing a cliff, usually 2-3 years old, and then cutting it into pieces. Nearly every existing branch is cut apart from one or two small ones, and the cuttings are then buried in pots past the node. New roots will be formed in the area of the culmination of the branches in only a few weeks to a few months.

The success rates vary with this method, and the variables include the season, the bamboo type, the part of the culm of the cuts, and the treatment of the cuttings. It is also said that putting them in the muddle will increase success rates.

A change of this involves using two-node cuttings, in which a hole is poured into the area between nodes to fill it with water and a mild rooting hormone sometimes. This hole is then plugged in, and the whole cut is buried, and only the branches and leaves are exposed. Neither do I have to try this yet.

How To Propagate Clumping Bamboo: Method C

A third method for propagating bamboo clumping involves the entire burial of peaks. Just as the name sounds, the parent plant’s whole culmination is cut and similar to double node cuttings. Branching is again cut at every node before burying the summit under the ground, to ensure that some of the branchings remain above the ground.

The clump can be split into individual plants, potted or transplanted elsewhere in your yard after new shoots have developed. A change of this consists of the soil’s culmination gently, then bend it over and bury each node in a pot filled with dirt.

How To Propagate Clumping Bamboo: Method D

A fourth method of spreading bamboo clumping involves air layering. It simply means scoring the area around the summit node and putting something around the node to hold a potting medium. The potting medium is kept damp, and the node develops roots over a few weeks. Once you have developed enough roots, you can cut the peak, and here you have a new bamboo plant.

How To Propagate Clumping Bamboo: Method E

Of course, the final method is the seed bamboo, but the chances of getting your hands on bamboo seed can be quite slim once every 60 to 100 years. Best to adhere to one of the other four methods of bamboo propagation listed above.

Final Words

The bamboo shootings’ growing tip is very shallow, close to the surface, physically only one hill per rhizome, not like a running bamboo spreading everywhere. Bamboo clumps can not run physically and will stay in the clump where the original bamboo is planted.

There are many different types of clumping bamboo, and all of them vary in clump size, height, color, and culm thickness. For instance, some species form a clump of one meter round in diameter, so they are great for narrow screening, in contrast to some larger or loose species with a footprint of up to four meters in diameter. 

You must have the right advice to choose the right bamboo for your needs! Clumpers produce excellent plants and also form very dense screens, but slower than runners. With the exception of Fargesia, clumpers are less cold-hard than runners.