I’m in central Florida. I know you will think I’m nuts but I have been on this computer for three hours to try and find an answer to this question. I took my dogs for a walk very early this morning and I saw a clump of a bamboo trees, and I would like to grow some. Is it possible to cut a stalk and smother it in rooting hormone and start a new one? Or is this one of those that have to be uprooted?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Kathi in Florida: There are several species of bamboo and some are considered invasive, so keep this in mind before adding it to your garden. The most reliable way to propagate bamboo is through division. You will have to use a spade and dig up a chunk of the canes as well as the underground rhizomes. Bamboo can form a thick underground mat so it may be difficult to get your spade in the ground, but you will have a better chance of starting a new plant this way as opposed to taking a cutting and dipping it in rooting hormone. The best time to do this is early spring before the new growth begins. It is important to not damage the roots when you dig up the bamboo. You want to keep as many of the roots attached as possible. This will help reduce transplant shock. Treat the bamboo as a new planting and make sure it has enough moisture throughout the hot summer months. If you want to try taking a cutting from the bamboo and rooting it, take your pruners and cut a 4-6 inch piece off the new growth. Remove all the foliage except for the top leaves and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Pot the cutting up in a small container filled with a well-drained potting soil. The container should be no larger than 4 inches. Keep the cutting out of direct sun and do not allow it to completely dry out. It should root in four to six weeks. After it has rooted you can bump it up to a larger container so it can develop more roots and then plant it in the garden. If this bamboo is in someone else’s garden you should ask permission before you attempt to propagate.