Bamboo is a grassy plant that can be found all over the world. Its native area encompasses warm, humid tropical, temperate, and chilly mountains, with over 1,400 known species. Some types of bamboo bonsai may withstand temperatures as low as USDA Zone 4. Bamboos range in height from one foot tall to more than 50 feet tall, and most types grow relatively rapidly.
While there are over 10,000 types of bamboo trees, there are several plants that sound like bamboo trees but aren’t. For example, heavenly bamboo, as well as lucky bamboo, are not bamboo plants at all! It is possible to cultivate a bamboo plant as a bonsai, but this is not the same as developing a regular bonsai tree.
Bamboo trees are the world’s fastest-growing plant, making them difficult to handle in small containers. Since these trees lack actual limbs, styling them is a little more brutal than styling conventional bonsai.
Pseudosasa owatarii is a cold-hardy running bamboo native to Japan that grows about a foot tall and has lush green foliage. This species is easy to nurture in a small bonsai pot because it grows so little naturally.
Most other plants are more difficult to bonsai than bamboo. It has shallow roots that can bear pruning and are remarkably hardy. Compared to miniaturising a tree-like elm or a cedar, caring for a bamboo bonsai is a breeze. However, it is essential to choose an appropriate species.
How long does it take to grow Bamboo Bonsai?
Bonsai is a kind of plant which can live for hundreds of years. Prepare to spend five to ten years limiting the growth of a bonsai from seed or sapling before it’s ready for more aesthetic trimming and training.
Indoors, tropical bamboo trees must be put to get more than enough light. They could also be used outside in places where the weather is hot all year. Your plant may require lighting to thrive inside. This must be done every day for about 10 hours.
Temperate bamboo will have to be grown outside. In the summer, your climate should be warm, and it should be chilly in the winter. These trees will most likely fall into dormancy over the winter, which means they will stop growing to survive the cold months and prepare for spring growth.
Tropical bamboos require a constant temperature throughout the year. To attain dormancy, temperate bamboos require a time of “cold.” Temperatures of 100°F (38°C) during the day and 70°F (21°C) at night are excellent for heat-loving bamboos. Temperature for subtropical bamboos can range from 60°F (16°C) during the day to 40°F (4°C) at night, and rarely even lower. To enhance air circulation, use a tiny fan.
Watering Always examine the soil when watering a bonsai, and never water regularly. Watering on a timetable can result in your plant being under- or over-watered, which will harm it. On the other side, Bamboo prefers consistent moisture, so water frequently, especially in the summer. You can water outdoor bamboo less regularly in the winter. These trees will start drying out.
Although bamboo needs a lot of water when actively developing, it absolutely can not stand wet soil—only enough water to keep the earth warm. Temperate bamboos should be permitted to “rest” in the fall and winter, and water should be lowered to avoid root rot. On the other hand, tropical bamboos will continue to develop in the winter if given enough warmth and light; their amounts of water remain unchanged. Misting or using trays packed with rocks and water can help to boost humidity.
Bamboo trees thrive when their leaves are trimmed. The leaves can be pruned at any time of year. Roots must be cut yearly. The origins of tropical trees can be cut more frequently.
Bamboo flourishes on aerated, light-structured soil that is rich in natural nutrients. The earth should be able to drain well while still retaining moisture. Water is essential for bamboo growth, but the roots should not become soggy or saturated.
How to plant and grow Bamboo Bonsai?
Are you looking to grow a bamboo bonsai at your home? Before that, you must learn about the various types of bamboo bonsai trees and their specifications. Listed below are the most common bonsai trees.
- Chusquea culeou ‘Hillier’s form’: It has small stems and tiny leaves, making it an excellent bonsai specimen when it comes to proportions. The culms of the Chilean variety are incredibly thick and easy to keep neat and compact.
- Pleioblastus pygmaeus: Pygmy bamboo, Pleioblastus pygmaeus, is another notable dwarf bamboo species with firm, vivid green leaves. It can go up to a height of around 2 feet, but it may be cut to a considerably shorter size, making it an excellent choice for bonsai. Tiny fibres on the leaves give aesthetic appeal on a small scale.
- Pseudosasa owatarii: It is a cold-hardy running bamboo native to Japan that grows about a foot tall and has lush green foliage. This cultivar is easy to nurture in a small bonsai container because it grows so little naturally.
- The dwarf type of Phyllostachys aurea ‘Waminita’ is a common but possibly spreading Golden Bamboo. This smaller variety is easy to keep in a small container and has a beautiful appearance.
- Buddha’s belly, also known as Bambusa ventricosa. This species could reach up to the height of more than 50 feet in ideal conditions, and the dwarf variation can reach a height of more than 20 feet. It can, though, be kept in a pot and miniatured. The stress of being potted encourages some of the Buddha’s Belly’s more fascinating traits. The short internodes occasionally swell out, giving the plant a cute, belly-like appearance, hence the common name. When stressed or under-watered, a section of the culms will develop in an irregular, zig-zag pattern that is rather beautiful.
Now that we learned about the different species, let us know how to plant, nurture and grow your bonsai plant.
Bamboo is tolerant of trimming and benefits from a haircut now and then. Cut off unwanted or withered culms at the soil level to remove them. A culm’s height can be controlled by cutting away above a node; it will not regenerate. Cutting branches from the culms can allow plants to look better and make coloured or patterned culms more attractive. Cutting branches from the culms can allow plants to look better and make coloured or patterned culms more attractive.
Bamboo, like any other houseplant, will ultimately become root-bound and require repotting. Remove your plant from its container, cut the roots, and replant in new soil. Trim the root ball back by about one-third and replant it with the fresh ground if you want to use the same pot. Running bamboos grow more rapidly and require repotting at least once a year.
Ignore about wiring and focus purely on pruning. Pruning frequently will help you achieve a more dense and delicate growth. The quicker your Bonsai Bamboo grows in a warmer area, the more pruning you’ll have to undertake. Because some Bamboo species grow pretty rapidly, trimming is even more vital to preserve the size and shape of the Bamboo forest.
Most bamboos can be quickly grown from cuttings. Young bamboo plants may also be available in local nurseries. Once again, try to have your hands on dwarf species that are better suited for Bonsai.
How to care for your Pseudosasa Bonsai
Trying to take care of a bamboo bonsai can be a challenging but rewarding task. Bamboo plants can be grown both indoors and outdoors. They need to be watered often and fertilised on a regular basis. Trim the root once every year and trim the leaves all year. Wiring can be conquered at any time of year. A few pests can infest your plant, but there are ways to get rid of them. A bonsai is a beautiful place to call home.
All year long, tropical vegetation must be treated with a balanced fertiliser. Because they grow at a steady speed throughout the year, they should be fertilised at the same time. Fertilise temperate species during their growing period.
This period of growth lasts from spring to autumn. In the winter, don’t fertilise. Follow the instructions on the packaging for both. Once a week, liquid fertiliser should be applied, but solid manure should be used once a month.
Bamboos are grasses, so they should indeed be regarded as heavy feeders. Fertilise bamboo in the same way you would a lawn (you can even use the same fertiliser). Organic fertiliser with such a high nitrogen content and low potash content is a good choice. When watering the plant, use a water-soluble 30-10-10 NPK that has been diluted to half strength. The soil can be fertilised using a delayed fertiliser like 28-14-14 or 17-6-10 NPK.
Pests and diseases
Red spider mites and scale are frequent animals you come across. Red spider mites are more native to tropical bamboo cultivated indoors. Insecticides or pest sprays could be used to eradicate these pests. Consider enhancing your plant’s living conditions as well.