The Ultimate Guide to Growing Bamboo for Privacy

Team McFly Sep 18, 2023
9 People Read
Table of Contents
  1. How to Grow Bamboo for Privacy
    1. Planting Location
    2. Soil Preparation
    3. Watering
    4. Fertilizing
    5. Pruning

How to Grow Bamboo for Privacy

If you're searching for a way to add privacy to your garden, bamboo is an ideal choice. It's fast-growing, lush, and easy to care for - the perfect combination!

When selecting a species for your garden, there are plenty of options to choose from - especially those native to your region. Popular choices include Gracilis, Seabreeze Bamboo, and Chinese Fountain Bamboo.


Planting Location

Bamboo is an ideal choice for creating a privacy screen in your garden. It's an attractive, low-maintenance plant that adds an eye-catching flair to the landscaping.

When selecting bamboo for your project, there are many varieties to choose from. Be aware of environmental sensitivity, temperature tolerance, and care requirements before planting anything so you get the most out of your bamboo endeavor. Consult a professional before planting to guarantee the best results from your bamboo endeavor.

Clumping bamboo is a popular choice for privacy screens due to its non-invasive nature and tight clumps that can grow up to 5 feet across. Compared to running bamboo (known as a rhizome), which tends to spread out of control more rapidly, clumping bamboo tends to stay within control.

If you're planting a clump of bamboo, dig a hole twice the size of its root ball and mix in composted manure at the base before setting the bamboo in place.

Once your bamboo has been placed, refill the trench with fresh soil. Quality soil can make a significant difference in your plants' health and growth rate.

When selecting a location for your bamboo, it's essential to take into account how much light the species requires. Some species require plenty of exposure while others do better with minimal exposure to the sun.

Fargesia murielae, for instance, thrives in shade and dry conditions. However, it should be protected from overexposure to sunlight during summer or when there is concrete nearby.

For a longer-lasting solution, growing your bamboo in containers is an option. These containers can be utilized on patio gardens, courtyards, and balconies alike.


Soil Preparation

Bamboos require well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, as well as a pH level between neutral to slightly acidic. Furthermore, the bamboo must be planted under protection from the direct sun.

When planting bamboo, the ideal time is either spring or fall unless your climate is very cold. In warm climates, however, planting can take place any time of year provided the soil hasn't frozen solid.

When prepping the planting site, dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the rootball of your bamboo plant. Then mix generous amounts of compost into the soil for increased nutrition.

Next, fill the planting hole to a depth of two to three inches and backfill it with soil. Make sure there are no air pockets or hollows in the soil as you go, as this will prevent your plant from taking root too early.

Add plenty of water crystals, gels, or bentonite clay to the top layer of soil for additional nutrient benefits and drainage. When your planting is complete, make sure to water it thoroughly afterward.

In addition to prepping the soil, you should mulch around your bamboo to maintain even moisture and protect it from harsh weather conditions. You can do this with compost, manure, sawdust, chipped wood, leaf litter, or bark.

If your soil is heavy, it's essential to eliminate any loose soil or air pockets. Doing this can reduce the risk of transplant shock during the first season and eliminate invasive rhizomes.

If your bamboo is clumping, you can divide it by lifting it from the ground and cutting it into several clumps. Doing this mid-spring, before the growing season begins, will reduce transplant shock and encourage healthy, vigorous new growth.

watering bamboo


Bamboo makes for great privacy, but it's essential to water them properly to ensure their growth. Newly planted bamboo requires frequent and liberal watering if the weather is dry or windy; for the first month or so, give them a deep soak every day; this helps the bamboo roots settle into the soil and eliminates air pockets around their root ball.

Once established, they don't need as much watering. However, it is still wise to water them two or three times per week during mild weather and again when temperatures rise or the wind blows.

Screening bamboo species generally adapt to a range of sunlight conditions. Some thrive in deep shade, while others require full sun. With prolonged exposure to the sun, they will grow faster and develop more fully.

If you are planting in pots, a container with drainage holes will ensure the plants get enough water. Additionally, add one inch of gravel or broken clay pot to the bottom of the container to retain moisture and prevent root rot.

It's essential to remember that bamboo grows rapidly and will fill in any gaps left behind. This makes it difficult to control their spread if they cross over your property line.

Be mindful that when a plant dies, it can leave an unsightly hole in your screen. That is why burying a rhizome root barrier is so essential for keeping the plant from spreading elsewhere in your yard.


Bamboos typically experience a spring and summer growth cycle that allows them to expand rapidly, producing new shoots in just a few months. To maximize the number of new culms produced by your bamboo, be sure to fertilize it regularly.

Fertilizing bamboo plants with a slow-release nitrogen-based plant food will promote healthy, vigorous growth. Many types of fertilizer exist; you should be able to find one suitable for your bamboo.

Generally, bamboo should be fertilized twice annually: once in early spring (February through April) and again in the summer. For optimal results, use a fertilizer that has low levels of phosphorus to promote good growth and higher rates of nitrogen to keep your bamboo looking vibrantly healthy.

Fertilizing your bamboo not only promotes its growth, but it also helps absorb waste materials that could otherwise be detrimental. Most temperate bamboos thrive in soil that has a pH neutral to acidic balance, though they're tolerant of various sunlight conditions.

To protect your bamboo from frost, snow, and ice, wrap it in horticultural fleece, sacking, or bubble wrap before winter arrives. This will help insulate the plants, keeping them warm enough for optimal growth.

Most running varieties of bamboo, such as Phyllostachys bissetii , can survive in Zones 6 to 10, though some varieties are more cold-sensitive than others. When planting a running type, make sure to cultivate an area along its length rather than digging individual holes for faster root development and even water penetration.

Bamboo plants possess rhizomes that store carbon which is then transferred to newly grown culms. This promotes rapid growth of these culms and fills in gaps, making them perfect for screening purposes.

pruning bamboo


When planting bamboo for privacy, it's essential to prune them carefully. Doing so will keep your plants healthy and attractive while stimulating new growth.

When pruning bamboo culms (the plant's "canes"), try to keep your cuts clear and straight. Doing so will help avoid making a sharp cut that could damage the bamboo or cause it to break.

Pruning can also be beneficial to remove canes that have reached their lifespan or no longer serve a purpose. On average, these canes last about 10 years so it's important to remove them in order to promote new growth.

Pruning a bamboo grove should be done when it has finished growing for the year or after it starts producing new shoots in spring. This will stimulate cane growth and prevent overcrowding or overlapping among culms.

Another way to maintain the aesthetic and health of a bamboo grove is by trimming back its stems at the desired height. This can be done during either winter or early spring.

Bambusa multiplex

Limbing up the culms is an attractive method for displaying the vibrant colors and structure of bamboo. This practice is especially popular with striped varieties like Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonse Karr' or Bambusa nana striata 'Candy cane bamboo', as well as unusually shaped species like Square Bamboo (Chimonobambusa quadrangularis) or Buddha's Belly.

When trimming bamboo, it is best to use hand clippers or blade sharpeners for small canes and heavy-duty loppers for larger culms. Wearing gloves and eye protection will help minimize any accidents.

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Table of Contents
  1. How to Grow Bamboo for Privacy
    1. Planting Location
    2. Soil Preparation
    3. Watering
    4. Fertilizing
    5. Pruning