Northern California and San Francisco Bay Area Bamboo Care

The following instructions are only for the drought-tolerant species of bamboos that we sell at the nursery, and only for Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area. If you live elsewhere or have bought other bamboo species, please refer to the nursery where you made your purchase, or we recommend one of the following books: Hardy Bamboos: Taming the Dragon by Paul Whittaker or Ornamental Bamboos by David Crompton, both of which we sell at the nursery.

Bamboos are grown for food, lumber, landscape screens and garden specimens. There is much variation in the plants as they are native to all parts of the world. And Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area has many different micro-climates, soil conditions, sun conditions, and high and low temperatures. So please understand that our advice is just a guideline, and your conditions will vary. Bamboo is sensitive to many different climate variables.

Generally bamboo plants will go through a short period of transplant shock, and will lose some, or even most, leaves. However, with good care, they should re-grow leaves in a few weeks time, and be fully leafed out in 6-8 weeks.


Only a few species can be grown indoors. Make sure the container is large enough, but not so large that the plant will grow taller than your ceiling. We recommend 18″ – 24″ terra cotta pots.

Indoor bamboos will go through a period of transplant shock where they will lose leaves. The key to growing bamboo plants indoors is to provide good air circulation daily. Fertilize early spring- summer with a balanced turf-builder.

When watering, make sure the pots drain completely so that the plant is never sitting in water. If your pot does not have adequate drainage, you will have to take greater care in learning the watering regiment your plants will need so they do not drown.

In general we recommend watering drought-tolerant bamboos once per week. Black bamboo should be watered twice per week. However, your indoor conditions will vary from ours, and may even vary over the course of the year.

  • More sun or high heat = more watering
  • Low light conditions = less water


Running bamboos, with rhizome barrier protection or in a large container/trough, can fill a space within 2 to 3 years. Clumping bamboos make a great garden statement without risk of escape, forming a dense grove within 4 to 5 years.

Bamboo can take a variety of soil conditions. Dig a hole at least twice as big as the pot and fill below and around the roots with fresh potting soil. If you have clay soils you should amend to increase drainage and nutrient uptake.

Add fertilizer around the roots when planting. Fertilize early spring through summer with a balanced turf-builder. Water thoroughly through the first summer, and thereafter water and sun requirements vary by species.

While the plants are still in the plastic pots, water every 1-3 days depending on your conditions.

After planting, we recommend watering once per week the first year for our drought-tolerant bamboos, and more for the black bamboo. However, please understand that your conditions will vary.

  • More sun = more watering
  • High winds = more watering
  • Low light conditions = less water
  • Cool temperatures = less water.
  • Please take care not to overwater, as many bamboo species can drown if left sitting in water.
  • In spring, if your plants are showing winter stress (like a lot of yellow leaves) then we recommend using a liquid kelp fertilizer in addition to your regular turf-builder fertilizing.

If you have any questions about plants you have purchased from Cactus Jungle, please feel free to stop by, email us photos, or give us a call. Plants are living organisms; when they leave our care, they end up in many different environmental conditions. Cactus Jungle cannot guarantee plants, but we will make every effort to make sure you and your plants are happy and healthy.