A couple of bamboo trees in a garden.

How to Plant Bare-root Bamboo in Your Garden

Bare-root bamboo plants are significantly cheaper than those grown in pots, and are a good option if you need several to create a screen, as shown here. You may also get a bare-root plant if a friend has sections to spare. Plant them as soon as you get them home to prevent the roots drying out.

When to plant: Autumn.

At their best: Summer.

Time to complete: 1-2 hours.

You will need: Bare-root bamboo, Plastic bag, Spade, Compost, Watering can, Root barrier, Garden moss.

Keep roots moist

Because the roots are not in soil and will dry out and die very rapidly, you must keep them moist before planting. Place a plastic bag filled with moss around the roots, and keep the moss damp until the last minute, when you are ready to plant.

Add organic matter

Dig a hole larger than the rootball and break up the base using a fork. In the bottom, add a layer of well-rotted organic matter, such as garden compost or manure, and mix it in lightly. Add more organic matter to the excavated soil from the hole and mix this together also.

Place bamboo into hole

Unwrap the bamboo, gently tease out the roots, and carefully lower it into the planting hole. Keeping the plant upright, add the organic matter and soil mix, firming down as you go to make sure there are no air pockets between the roots.

Plant and firm in bamboo

Fill in the hole around the stems, making sure the plant is at the same level as originally planted. To do this, look for an earthy tidemark on the stems, showing where the soil had previously come up. Firm well and water.


Keep the immediate area weed-free while the plant is establishing. Water regularly during dry spells to ensure that the plant roots do not dry out. Thin out and tidy established clumps every two years in early spring, before they begin shooting. Cut any dead or weak stems down to ground level.

Tips: Controlling bamboos

Some bamboos are “runners” and once established will send out roots all over the garden. These plants need to be contained with a root barrier made from a nonperishable material, such as rigid plastic or slate. Dig a narrow trench around the clump and insert your barrier. Cut and remove all peripheral roots, then fill in with soil.