Skip to Content

Propagating Bamboo: A Green Guide for a Zen Garden

If you’re looking for a new way to bring some zen into your outdoor space, planting bamboo is a great place to start.

However, feng shui-ing your outdoor space can be quite an endeavor.

Maybe you don’t want to spend too much money establishing bamboo, or the bamboo you have isn’t covering as much ground as you hoped.

Luckily, there’s a great solution to both those problems: propagating bamboo!

To learn more about different bamboo propagation methods and take one more step towards the zen garden of your dreams, keep reading!

Propagating Bamboo

How to Propagate Bamboo


If you’re interested in propagating bamboo, there are a few different methods you can try.

The first technique involves replanting cuttings in soil. This method requires a mature bamboo plant with healthy offshoots.

From those offshoots, you’ll need hardy cuttings with nodes and internodes.

Another bamboo propagation method uses water to propagate new growth cuttings.

The third method uses the rhizomes of the plant to propagate new bamboo growth, keeping them warm and moist in the soil.

All three of these methods work wonders, but depending on your time, the size of your space, and your location, one method might be a better fit for you than the others.

What You Need to Get Started

Propagating bamboo can be a bit more involved than some other propagation projects.

There’s a few extra tools you’ll need to be fully prepared to propagate bamboo, including:

Tips and Tricks

Regardless of the propagation method you choose, it’s important to prepare your materials well beforehand.

Cleaning and disinfecting any tools you might use, such as a spade or shears, in between plants is crucial so as not to pass any diseases from pot to pot.

Bamboo dries out very quickly, so make sure you have everything you need set out and ready to go so you can work fast!

It’s also wise to take a few cuttings at once (but still less than one-third of the plant) just in case one doesn’t root. That way, you can be sure you aren’t doing all this hard work for nothing.

Propagating Bamboo: Cuttings in Soil

Cut Bamboo Piece

To begin, you first need to select and carefully cut the bamboo pieces you want to propagate at a 45-degree angle.

Take a few cuttings from your mature bamboo plant offshoots with at least one node and one internode.

Bamboo Cutting

A node refers to the part of a bamboo plant that looks like a seam, and the internode is the section of the plant between nodes.

Once you’ve chosen and removed your cuttings, pick off any leaves and ensure the cutting is clean.

Apply Wax and Rooting Hormones

Next, to encourage growth and healthy rooting, apply a rooting hormone to the cut end of the bamboo cutting.

After you’ve applied the rooting hormone, you’ll want to dip that same cut and exposed end in a soft or melted plant-safe wax. This will seal off the bamboo to help keep it from rotting or drying out.

When applying the wax, make sure you don’t cover the hole in the bamboo end. You just want a light, even layer of wax around the edge.

Plant and Cover Cuttings

Once the rooting hormone and wax have been carefully applied and dried down, dig a hole in the potting mix inside the containers you’re using to propagate the bamboo.

Carefully plant the cuttings deep enough to cover one node and press the soil back in place to keep the cuttings upright and eliminate any large air pockets.

Water or mist the soil thoroughly. Bamboo like a humid atmosphere but not oversaturated soil, so don’t water them too much!

Take a clear plastic bag and loosely cover the cuttings with it, then place the pots in a warm area out of direct sunlight.

Propagating Bamboo: Cuttings in Water

Identify and Cut New Growth

For propagating bamboo in water, you want to specifically locate new growth offshoots to work with.

At a 45-degree angle, take a cutting about 10 inches long with at least two nodes and two internodes.

Apply Wax and Place in Water

When propagating bamboo in water, you want to dip and seal both ends in wax and ditch the rooting hormone.

Once the wax has dried, place your cutting in a glass or clear container of distilled water and leave it in a warm area where it can get plenty of indirect sun.

Bamboo Cutting in Water

The first node should be completely submerged, leaving the rest of the cutting dry.

Change the water every two days to ensure the bamboo cutting continues to get all the nutrients it needs to root.

Once the roots have reached about two inches in length, the bamboo is ready to be replanted!

The great thing about using a clear container to propagate bamboo in water is you can see exactly how far along your bamboo cutting is.

Propagating Bamboo: Growing From Roots

Locate and Cut Healthy Rhizomes

Bamboo is technically a grass, and as such, it grows and spreads the fastest through its underground root system.

For this reason, propagating bamboo using this rhizome method tends to be the most successful.

To find healthy rhizomes, use a spade to dig around the base of the bamboo stalk carefully.

Rhizomes with new growth are perfect for propagating, so keep an eye out for softer, smaller, and lighter rhizome offshoots.

Once you’ve cut away some rhizomes, cut it further into small pieces about five inches long with a few shoots on each section.

Plant and Cover With Soil

Plant only one section per pot and lay them horizontally, with the new shoots pointing upwards. Cover each rhizome section with 3 inches of soil.

Because the rhizomes aren’t protected by wax, they’re much more likely to rot than the culm cuttings, so make sure to keep the soil moist without overwatering.

Keep the rhizomes in a warm spot with plenty of indirect sunlight. In a few weeks, you should start to see some shoots sprout up through the soil.

Post Propagation Care

After a few weeks, you should notice your cuttings start to grow, regardless of the propagation method you choose.

After about four months, some new roots should be well established, and you can transplant your cutting outside or move it to a larger pot inside.

Bamboo are hardy, fast growers and relatively low maintenance, so the likelihood that you would need any kind of fertilizer or plant food is slim.


They can tolerate a lot of different soils and climates. As long as they have warmth and moist soil, they should flourish just fine.

If you’re concerned about creating the right atmosphere for your bamboo, they really thrive in a greenhouse!

One big thing to watch out for after you’ve transplanted your bamboo, especially if you’ve moved outside in your lawn or garden, is spreading.

Like other grasses, bamboo spreads incredibly fast and can quickly take over the space where you’ve planted them.

Putting up a barrier of some kind, like a small fence, iron sheets, or raised bed, can help to contain the spread.

Bamboos don’t always flower or produce foliage, but it’s good to keep an eye on the growth when they do. Too many leaves or flowers will drain the bamboo of its resources, causing the canes to brown and weaken.

Propagating Bamboo: FAQs

How long does it take to propagate bamboo?

Different bamboo propagation methods will vary, but you should start to see visible growth in two to four months.

Once the cutting is established and growing consistently, you can safely transplant them.

What is the best time to propagate bamboo?

The best time to cut, propagate, and plant bamboo is in the spring.

Like many other plant species, bamboo goes dormant in the winter, and its growth slows down.

This means they are hanging onto and storing energy all winter long. So, when you go to propagate bamboo in the spring, they have a lot of energy to grow and establish new roots!

Wrapping up the Guide to Propagating Bamboo

Now, you have three different methods for propagating bamboo in your gardening toolbox. Bamboo is a lovely ornamental plant and an asset to any garden. So, what are you waiting for? Go and find yourself a healthy mother plant and start propagating!

For a more organic approach to propagating bamboo, check out our guide to making your own homemade rooting hormone.