Bamboo is an exotic plant that people enjoy growing in their homes and gardens all around the world and is a beloved plant species that is easy to grow and propagate.
Because outdoor bamboo has a reputation of being difficult to control, even the most enthusiastic fans are sometimes hesitant to add it to their landscape. Are there other possibilities?
Can you grow bamboo indoors? Although it is not typically considered an indoor plant, bamboo can be grown indoors. With the right conditions and proper care, some bamboo species, like arrow and dwarf green stripe, will adapt well to life inside. Large-leaved bamboo in particular is known for thriving indoors.
Read on below and discover how to grow bamboo inside, including general guidelines, the best varieties, and more.
Guidelines for Growing Bamboo Indoors
Bamboo is a beautiful houseplant when grown indoors, however, it isn’t among the easiest species to grow indoors.
If you want to grow bamboo indoors, you must follow a few guidelines:
- Use the correct type of pot for the plant.
- Provide plenty of light (sunlight or artificial light).
- Water and fertilizer the plant properly.
- Keep your bamboo in an ideal temperature range.
- Make sure the plant has enough humidity to thrive (consider adding a pebble tray- we show you how here).
- Take your bamboo outside from time to time for fresh air and sunlight.
Below, we touch on each of the main guidelines for growing bamboo indoors in more detail.
Choosing the Right Container for Indoor Bamboo Plants
Bamboo requires much larger and stronger containers than ordinary houseplants. Not only are bamboo pots bigger, they must be stronger as well.
Bamboo roots are capable of breaking through nearly anything, so forget about plastic materials. Metal and hard wood containers are recommended for growing bamboo indoors.
This hand-hammered metal container, for example, would be ideal. It’s sturdy enough to contain those persistent roots, but it looks classy enough to fit with any decor.
Ceramic pots with glossy finishes (as found commonly in Asian gardening/culture) may also be suitable for indoor bamboo.
Best Soil for Bamboo Grown Indoors
The best soil for indoor bamboo is quick-draining, rich soil that stays moist but not soaking wet.
Potting soil may be used for growing bamboo. However, a mixture of peat moss and perlite with potting soil (⅓ each) is the best practice.
Bamboo Lighting Requirements
One of the greatest benefits of growing bamboo indoors is that it has the ability to survive under a diverse range of light exposure.
In low-light settings and indirect sunlight, bamboo stays stable but doesn’t grow much.
Bamboo requires at least six hours of light per day, but it does better with a bit more. When exposed to greater light and direct sunlight most bamboo really takes off and thrives.
(Not exactly sure about the difference between direct and indirect sunlight? Our article here explains it all.)
Bamboo Watering Needs
The bamboo plant requires a good deal of water, around an inch or so per week.
The catch is that the plant needs the water to drain quickly and sufficiently. Hence, rich soil that drains well is preferred.
Humidity Levels When Growing Bamboo in Pots
The level of humidity that your indoors bamboo needs is dependent on the exact species you’re growing.
That said, for the most part, bamboo thrives in high humidity levels (over 50% humidity).
Ideal Temperature for Indoor Bamboo
The ideal temperature for indoor bamboo is between 65°F and 95°F. Again, this factor is dependent on the specific species of bamboo that you’re growing in your home.
Fertilizing Indoor Bamboo Plants
Bamboo should be fertilized no more than once every month or two, depending on the species and health of the plant.
Organic compost is the most preferred type of fertilizer for bamboo.
Diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer (I like this organic plant food), aquarium water, and other forms of fertilizer and nutrients for houseplants may also be suitable.
Repotting Indoor Bamboo
Indoor bamboo requires repotting from time to time for various reasons.
The main reason for repotting bamboo indoors isn’t because it outgrows its pot, but rather repotting helps to prevent the plant from becoming rootbound.
To repot your indoor bamboo, simply dig it up, shake the soil from its bottom, and gently pull the roots apart.
Replant with care, making sure to keep the roots spread out while filling the new pot up with soil.
Best Types of Bamboo To Grow Indoors
There are over 1,575 species of bamboo. Most types of bamboo can be broken down into two categories; clump and runner.
Furthermore, there are 13 types of clump or runner bamboo that are preferred for growing indoors.
Let’s have a look at them below:
Pseudosasa japonica, or arrow bamboo, originates from Japan and Korea. This shiny green bamboo species grows up to 20 feet tall with nearly 10-inch leaves.
The name arrow bamboo stems from the fact that this bamboo was sought after and heavily used for making arrows.
This variety of bamboo does well in shade or full sun, but it thrives in shade better than most bamboo species.
Phyllostachys nigra, or black bamboo, originates from Hunan China, though it is grown around the world today.
Black bamboo grows up to 80 feet tall in nature and has lance-shaped leaves that are 2 to 5 inches long.
The canes are green for the first two or three seasons and then turn black and remains so for the rest of its life.
Black bamboo can handle temperatures as low as 0°F degrees, which differentiates it from other species.
Chusquea culeou, or Chilean bamboo, is an evergreen type of bamboo that originates from South America.
One of the most unique aspects of Chilean bamboo is that it is frost resistant, whereas most bamboo species are not.
The species grows as tall as 26 feet high with narrow leaves that reach up to a few inches in length.
Indigenous South Americans relied on Chilean bamboo for centuries to craft their spear shafts.
Dwarf Green Stripe Bamboo
Pleioblastus viridistriatus, or dwarf green stripe bamboo, is another popular bamboo variety for growing indoors that hails from Japan.
Dwarf green stripe bamboo grows to a maximum height of 4 feet tall, but it is more likely to top out at around 30 inches if grown indoors.
This version of bamboo prefers bright morning light and/or sun for up to half of the day.
One benefit of dwarf green stripe bamboo is that it is practically freeze resistant, tolerating temperatures as low as -10°F.
Fargesia is the genus name of a species of bamboo that hails from parts of China and Vietnam.
These types of bamboo are most often cultivated for ornamental purposes, and they make great indoor plants.
There are over 80 subspecies of Fargesia bamboo in cultivation around the world today.
Guadua is a genus of bamboo that originates in Mexico, Uruguay and the surrounding area. It is considered a neotropical bamboo species.
In Columbia and Ecuador, Guadua bamboo is used for building homes in rural areas.
Guadua bamboo is very fast growing at several centimeters per day and reaches heights of 90 to 100 feet.
Arundinaria appalachiana, or hill cane, is yet another type of bamboo that is commonly grown indoors.
Originally, this bamboo comes from the Appalachian mountains in eastern North America.
Hill cane bamboo grows no higher than 1.5 to 3 feet tall, making it a perfect houseplant. It is the shortest and thinnest of the most well-known bamboo species.
The leaves of hill cane bamboo may reach lengths between 3.5 inches and 9 inches.
Bambusa oldhamii, or Oldham’s bamboo, is another North American variety of bamboo. It grows up to 65 feet tall, the largest in the United States.
Oldham’s bamboo may grow up to 4 inches thick (cane-wise) and has many slender leaves up to a few inches in length.
This species is often mistaken for Bambusa atrovirens, another popular bamboo type from China.
Additional types of bamboo that may be grown inside but may require extra-special care include:
- Giant bamboo
- Giant thorny bamboo
- River cane bamboo
- Many other clumping and runner bamboo species
Common Questions When Growing Bamboo Indoors
How Tall Do Indoor Bamboo Plants Grow?
Indoor bamboo plants grow to heights of 5 feet to 8 feet tall. The maximum height of bamboo plants varies from species to species.
How Fast Does Bamboo Grow Indoors?
Bamboo are some of the fastest growing plants in the world. Some grow as much as 90 feet tall in just 5 years in nature. Indoors, bamboo may grow around 3 inches per month.
Is Bamboo Easy To Grow?
Bamboo isn’t the easiest plant to grow indoors, but it isn’t exactly hard either. Growing bamboo indoors simply requires making sure the right environment is provided for the plant.
How Do You Grow Bamboo in Water Indoors?
Bamboo is simple enough to grow indoors in a vase or tall skinny container filled with water.
As long as you keep the water level low, as bamboo doesn’t require that much, the bamboo should thrive. Add a few inches of pebbles to help the plant remain upright.
Does Bamboo Regrow When Cut?
Bamboo regrows when cut but not right away. Soon after cutting bamboo canes, leaves regenerate from the cut area.
After a longer period of time passes, new shoots may appear from the base of the plant.
How Long Does a Bamboo Plant Live?
Potted and indoors bamboo may live anywhere from 7 to 15 years if properly cared for. Outside in nature, if growing in a grouping or groves, bamboo may live for a century or more.
A Final Word About Growing Bamboo Indoors
Growing bamboo indoors is both challenging and extremely gratifying. Bamboo provides a calm and exotic atmosphere in your home and makes an excellent centerpiece as well.
If you’re thinking about taking a shot at growing some bamboo indoors, feel free to refer back to this guide as often as necessary!