How To Grow Bamboo From Seeds in 9 Easy Steps

The bamboo plant’s flowering cycle and the scarcity of seeds are two major reasons why most people do not cultivate bamboo from seeds. It is significantly easier for them to grow bamboo from cuttings. But the key question is whether bamboo can be grown from seeds.

The answer is Yes, so if you want to start growing bamboo from seeds, you’ll need to be prepared. It will take some time and effort on your part, but the ultimate result will be well worth it! From purchasing bamboo seeds to planting them, this guide includes everything you need to know about how to grow bamboo from seeds.

Bamboo can be grown from seeds, but the process is time-consuming. This is because the seeds are difficult to germinate. To get a few to sprout, you’d have to plant a lot of them. It is not a project to embark on if you expect immediate results; yet, it can be a very gratifying experience if done well.

If given the proper care and climatic conditions, bamboo plants can be produced from seed. Phyllostachys nigra is a beautiful black bamboo that can provide a refined touch to a plant collection or garden.

How To Grow Bamboo From Seeds
Bamboo in Containers via Flickr

Bamboo plants only mature once a year, and those particular shoots will never grow taller. Every year, new shoots emerge and grow higher than the previous year’s, resulting in a taller plant that can reach up to 30 feet in height over time. This is true if you plant your bamboo outside; but, if you plant it in a pot indoors, the bamboo plant will have a reduced growing area, resulting in fewer new shoots and a smaller plant.

Things You’ll Need

  • Seeds
  • Cup or tray for soaking the seeds
  • Warm water
  • Growing medium: Compost mix or compost, mulch
  • Small pots or seedling trays
  • Spray bottle

How To Grow Bamboo From Seeds in 9 Easy Steps

You are one step ahead if you can obtain bamboo seeds. Planting seeds usually results in a distinct appearance from the parent plant. Bamboo may now be grown from seeds in a variety of ways. Some people use a mini-greenhouse kit to grow bamboo. Let’s get down to business with planting bamboo seedlings. It’s not as difficult as you might imagine! I’ll show you simple step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Collect the Seeds

  • If you do receive any seeds, keep track of when they were harvested, especially in the case of bamboo, which rarely produces seeds.
  • If sown as soon as possible after being collected, the seeds should germinate easily.
  • If stored seed, like many other plant seeds that have been stored and hardened off, they may require some time in cold temperatures to break dormancy.

Step 2: Breaking the Dormancy

  • You can either keep the seeds in the refrigerator for a few weeks before sowing them or plant them outside during the colder winter months and hope they germinate in the spring, though this last option is a bit hit-or-miss.
  • Before sowing seeds outside in the winter, consider your climate and the individual species.
  • You won’t be able to control the temperature for germination or keep them from becoming entirely waterlogged and rotting.
  • Like many other plants, controlling the climatic circumstances is a preferable alternative for achieving success with bamboo seed germination.
  • A higher germination temperature is required, especially if the species originated from a warmer climate.

Step 3: Soaking the Seeds

  • The optimal time to grow bamboo seeds is in the early spring.
  • Soak your bamboo seeds for 24 hours in a dish of warm water to soften them before planting.
  • The water’s temperature is critical! It should not be excessively hot or cold.
  • Soaking seeds at 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) is excellent.
  • Put it somewhere warm where the temperature won’t drop too much. This step kicks off the germination process for your seeds, increasing the likelihood of a successful planting.
  • During this period, give them a slight stir once or twice, being careful not to disrupt the seeds too much.
  • This method also aids in determining the viability of seeds, as seeds that float are unlikely to be viable.
  • In most cases, a fertile seed will sink to the bottom of the water.
  • It’s entirely up to you whether you want to try the floating seeds as well.

Step 4: Get the Growth Medium Ready

  • If you’re planting outside, cover your garden bed with a thick layer of general-purpose compost to help the seeds germinate.
  • Put your compost or growing media in a container or growing tray while your seeds are soaking.
  • In the beginning, you can use plastic seedling trays or small pots. Some people even use discarded plastic cups.
  • Allow space for the seed and a second thin coating of soil. Using water, moisten the soil.
  • Plastic sheeting should be used to cover the pot or plant bed.
  • It certainly receives sufficient sunlight to warm the soil without drying it off.
  • Using a thermometer, determine the temperature of the soil.
  • Soak it in the soil for 5 minutes, check the temperature, and plant if it reaches 70-80°F.

Step 5: Put the Soaked Seeds in the Medium

  • Returning to the moistened seeds, drain the water 10 to 20 minutes before planting.
  • Make sure your seeds have ample room to grow.
  • If you’re using a large tray, space them 0.3 inches (1 cm) apart on your heated compost.
  •  Only plant one seed if you’re using small pots or seedling trays.
  • On top of the seeds, add another layer of compost, about 1/8 inch of potting soil.
  • Make sure the soil is moist but not soggy.

Step 6: Place the Pot in Proper Sunlight

  • Place your pot in a location that receives bright indirect sunlight.
  • Your seeds will perish if they are exposed to direct sunlight. So you’ve decided to put your plant in the partial shade.
  • Maintain vigilance over your containers! You don’t want it to become too dry.
  • You can use a spray bottle to water it daily.
  • The seedlings will die quickly if the moisture level is not maintained.

Step 7: Wait For Seeds to Germinate

  • Each bamboo species has a different pace of growth.
  • Around days 10-15, you might expect to notice some growth.
  • However, if you haven’t seen any progress yet, be patient.
  • Each seed has its timetable, and digging them up will cause more harm than good.
  • During this period, keep an eye on the soil temperature to ensure it stays between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, ideal for germination.
  • Keep the soil moist and spray it when it starts to dry up.
  • Dry soil is not good for seedlings, especially when they are vulnerable and just starting to germinate.

Step 8: Take Care of the Bamboo Seedlings

  • Because you’ll be planting in the early spring, there’s a chance that bad weather or cold snaps can kill newly grown bamboo seedlings.
  • A late frost can thwart all of your efforts since seeds can freeze and burst into the earth.
  • Another option to preserve the seedlings is to cover the last layer of compost with mulch, which will protect the young shoots from cold winds and early morning temperature decreases.

Step 9: Transplant the Healthy Seedlings

  • After 3-4 months, transplant the healthy seedlings into larger pots with drainage holes.
  • Most of the seeds should have sprouted by then.
  • After this time, don’t throw away any seeds that didn’t germinate. Maybe a couple more will show up if you wait.
  • To have your seedlings transplanted, mix a decent potting soil with roughly 50% small bark-chip mulch.
  • This would result in a potting mix with excellent drainage and moisture retention, ideal for bamboo.
  • Fill in around each seedling in a pot until the neck of the seedling is level with the top of the potting soil.
  • Make sure to give the plants plenty of water.
  • Over-watering isn’t a problem because the soil and pot have sufficient drainage.
  • Place these pots in the shade, where they will receive indirect sunlight.
  • Don’t be alarmed if some of the seedlings start to die.
  • You might lose 10% of them, but the rest will live to adulthood.

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Final Remarks

Bamboo plants in the yard are a true show-stopper, and while they do require some care, they can be grown from seeds using the steps outlined above. Be cautious not to overwater early seedlings, and set aside some time to create the ideal temperature for a seeding bed, and you’ll have a bumper crop of fresh bamboo seedlings to brighten up your garden in no time.

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