Frequently Asked Questions
CAN I TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT MY BAMBOO QUESTIONS?
Yes, you can. We are very happy to take your call and give you our expert advice on the bamboo you choose to buy. We can also give you hints and tips on how to get the best out of your bamboo as the key is in the preparation of your garden bed or what type of soil to use in a planter box. Call Mike on 0419 871 844; see our opening hours on our website via our ‘Contact’ section.
HOW FAST DOES MY BAMBOO GROW?
Your bamboo growth debends on what type of bamboo you have chosen, how you have prepared your garden bed or what type of soil you have used for your planter box. Growth also depends on the weather and how much water it is getting. But generally, you can expect your bamboo to reach it’s full height within 2-3 growing seasons.
CAN I EAT MY BAMBOO?
All bamboo species produce shoots, however they are only edible if carefully preparing them first by boiling the shoots multiple times and changing the water in-between. The boiling reduces the bitter taste and breaks down the potentially toxic chemical toxins. Generally the larger bamboo species are more palatable than the smaller varieties.
CAN I PRUNE MY BAMBOO TO REDUCE THE HEIGHT?
Yes you can. But within reason.
Removing the canopy foliage will allow more light to penetrate to the ‘heart’ of the bamboo – facilitating foliage growth from the inside of the clump. The result will be a much denser foliaged plant. But there are limits as to how much you can remove from a bamboos’ height and still maintain a good, healthy and happy plant.
Perhaps it is best you keep in mind you could always select a shorter species; that way no pruning is required.
Go to our ‘Bamboo Facts’ section on our webpage and select ‘Care and Maintenance’ for more information.
HOW MUCH SUN DOES MY BAMBOO NEED?
Most bamboo, with a few exceptions, prefer to grow in full sun. Because of this, bamboo will produce most of its foliage where there is maximum sun exposure, which is obviously at the top of the bamboo. If the bamboo is free standing with a good amount of sun reaching the base of the bamboo, then it will also have good bushy foliage all the way down to the ground.
However, when bamboo are planted in close proximity to each other, or in shade of other trees, there will be little sun reaching the lower parts of the culms, which then causes less foliage growth at these lower levels. The bamboo will only put energy in growing foliage in places where there is good sunlight, and thus maximum possibility of photosynthesis.
Another growth characteristic caused by bamboo growing in shade is that it will grow taller than what it would otherwise grow to in full sun. Since the bamboo wants the light, it will try to get it by growing taller. A bamboo growing in shade will always grow taller than the same species grown in full sun.
These two growth characteristics are important to understand, as a particular bamboo species can look quite different depending on the amount of sun it receives. If planted in shady areas, or close together, then they will be taller and less bushy at the bottom. If planted in full sun and spaced well apart, then they will be shorter, with thicker bushier foliage all the way to the ground.
If you want to promote more foliage at the lower levels of the bamboo, then you can facilitate this by cutting the tops of the bamboo, thus letting more light reach the bottom. Also, simply thinning out the bamboo by removing old culms (cutting them off completely at ground level), will also help in letting more light ‘into’ the clump. This can be a little bit of a catch 22, since you will be removing culms (and thus reducing the amount of foliage). The additional light reaching the remainder of the bamboo culms will however more than compensate for this, with the extra foliar growth that it will encourage.
DOES ALL BAMBOO CREATE HAVOCK IN MY NEIGHBOUR’S GARDEN?
No, definitely not! Only the running bamboo is invasive and can grow out of control and create a headache for you and your neighbours. All the bamboo we stock (except one – Nigra Black) is a clumping species and therefore only spreads within it’s typical footprint. Go to our ‘Bamboo In Stock’ page on our webpage which contains the description of each species we sell.
Clumping bamboo have very tight, shallow and non-invasive rootballs so they are quite safe to plant near fences, pipes or pools. As bamboo are in the ‘grass family’, bamboo roots do not expand like tree roots do. If there are existing leaks in your pipes, bamboo roots will not enter the pipe and expand their roots to worsen the crack. This problem is ONLY caused by tree or palm roots, not clumping bamboo roots. Bamboo has a fine surface root system that will not seek out drain pipes and block them.
The root ball is generally only 500mm deep or less and they have no running roots.
However due to the variation in growing width (also known as the footprint) of clumping bamboo species, it is essential that you use the correct species to suit your planting area. We can let you know what species is best suited to your area.
IS BAMBOO A HORRIBLE WEED?
Bamboo has a bad reputation due to the running/invasive bamboo species. Melbourne has been cursed with the highly invasive Golden Bamboo for many decades now. If it is planted with no boundaries, it will fulfil its duties to invade the whole area. However, this is a good looking indestructible plant, fantastic for screening or even a stand alone specimen plant in just about any condition. If planted in a controlled area and inspected every few months for rhizomes escaping and removing them, you will not have any problems with it. Clumping variety bamboos are a completely different plant and do not deserve the bad reputation given to the running type. Their roots form a clump and do not run away. Many people do not understand there is such bamboo plant with non-invasive characteristics. In fact, clumping bamboo is far less intrusive than most trees and shrubs that are planted in any garden.
DO YOU DELIVER?
Yes we do.
We can arrange for delivery of your plants Australia wide.
Prices and delivery times vary depending on location and size of your order.
Our web page lets you calculate the shipping cost when adding an item to your shopping cart. Or you can call us to get a quote!
Once delivery has been organised, please be patient as it may take a few days before we can despatch the delivery.
Please note that Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have strict quarantine regulations which incur additional costs.
WILL MY BAMBOO FIT IN MY CAR?
You would be surprised how many pots of bamboo will fit into a standard sized vehicle! Most bamboos are very flexible and can therefore be bent/curved and laid down to fit into a small space, without affecting the plant in any way, especially if you can fold your rear seat down. You may even be able to create a larger storage surface if you have a fold-down boot compartment. We can certainly help you with packing your bamboo into your car if you like.
Larger pot sizes and more mature plants can be more difficult to fit so if you are after big plants, we recommend a ute or trailer for ease of packing and make sure you have a tarp or sheet to cover them to stop windburn when travelling home.
CAN YOU HELP ME TO PLANT MY BAMBOO?
We do not currently offer landscaping services, however you can go to our handy and informative ‘Planting Preparation’ section on our website. It explains how to prepare and plant your bamboo so you get the best out of your plant. You are most welcome to hand this guide out to any landscaper you hire to ensure you get a great result!
IS BAMBOO A TROPICAL PLANT?
There are over 1200 varieties of bamboo throughout the world, they grow from very cold temperate climates to the hot tropics. Most of the cold growing varieties are running types. There are not a lot of clumping varieties which will thrive in this climate.
However, our stock only contains bamboo that is best suited to Melbourne’s climate and all except one (Nigra Black) are the clumping variety.
WHY IS BAMBOO SO EXPENSIVE?
Bamboo very rarely produces seed, so most propagation procedures are by division or culm cuttings, both which are labour intensive and slow to achieve a successful result.
Also, it takes a lot of time and effort for us to look after our stock and ensure it remains healthy and ready for you to plant it.
CAN BAMBOO BE AN INDOOR PLANT?
We do not recommend growing bamboo indoors. Yes, it can be done but there are many things to consider:
- Light: lots of natural light, but not direct sun through glass.
- Soil: an open mix which holds moisture and nutrients.
- Watering: very difficult to retain the right amount of moisture content in the soil. Over watering will damage a plant quickly, drying out will damage it even quicker. Water may spill onto your floor/carpet.
- Humidity: indoors in Melbourne is usually dry air. Bamboo loves high humidity.
- Air flow: an open window nearby is very beneficial
- Bugs: thrive on an indoor plant. Spider mite, scale, mealy bug, etc. are difficult to control
DOES BAMBOO NEED A LOT OF CARE?
Once planted in the right position and made sure of adequate water and nutrition for the first few months, your bamboo can be cared for like any other garden plant. A quick tidy up of shabby older culms is recommended to keep your bamboo looking its best.
IS BAMBOO GOOD FOR SCREENING OUT MY NEIGHBOURS?
Bamboo is an excellent screening plant. Thick, tall hedges are achieved quickly as bamboo is the fastest land-growing plant in the world. Semi mature plants can be purchased and can screen off your neighbours instantly, or if you have some patience, smaller younger plants can be planted and after one or two seasons the job will be complete. With its small foot print and rapid growth, nothing else compares.