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What Do Bamboo Seeds Look Like? (Essential Things You Should Know)

Bamboo is a giant type of grass in the subfamily Bambusoideae of the family Poaceae. It is characterized by a hard, woody, hollow stem and a tree-like appearance.

The unique feature of bamboo is that it is one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet, with the expected height reaching around 30 feet (9.114 meters) depending on the species.

Significantly, one question that has been on many plant enthusiasts’ minds is: “What do bamboo seeds look like?”. If you share the same concern, this article will provide a desired answer and several helpful tips to grow bamboo from seeds. So don’t miss out!

What Do Bamboo Seeds Look Like?

Before jumping into an answer to the question, it’s vital to learn some fundamentals relating to bamboo’s germination period.

Generally, a sprout may be spotted within 10 days of planting, although the bulk of germination may take at least 20 days. Different bamboo species have different germination times, so don’t rush unless there is no likelihood of germination.

Once seedlings have grown mature, they appear dry, brown, and look like grains of rice. However, giant bamboo species like Melocanna baccifera can produce seeds that are as large as small pears. 

What Do Bamboo Seeds Look Like
Bamboo Seeds via Pxhere

How To Get Bamboo Seeds?

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely for bamboos to produce seeds, and the process is known to be unpredictable and random across species.

Surprisingly, some species have never seeded or only produced seeds once from 30 to over 120 years. Therefore, bamboo seeds are not often available in the marketplace as other plant seeds. 

Due to the lengthy flowering and scarcity of the seeds, bamboos are not typically grown from seed, especially when the seeds are difficult to germinate and do not remain viable for long. 

Hence, collect the precious seeds as soon as possible when you have the chance, or birds will eat them. 

How To Grow Bamboo From Seeds? (Step-by-step instruction)

In case you intend to grow bamboo from seeds, guarantee to prepare everything carefully as it would take tremendous time and energy. But it is no doubt that the reward is endless.

Step 1:

Start by putting a layer of appropriate growing medium in a chosen pot or tray and moisten it with water. Remember to leave ample room for a layer on top of the seeds, about half an inch.

Step 2: 

Fill a bowl or a shallow glass container up with water. Then, soak bamboo seeds for 24 hours before planting, as this boosts the planting success rate.

Use a thermometer to monitor water temperature because this could affect the sprouting. Ensure the water is appropriate as high temperatures can damage the seeds, while cooler temperatures may delay the germination process for a couple of days.

Step 3: 

Place the pot or tray into a propagator for 24 hours to increase the required germination temperature (around 20 – 26 degrees Celsius). In case there is no propagator available, place a clear plastic bag or another transparent or translucent covering over the top of the pot/tray to keep it warm. 

Step 4

Plant a single seed on top of the warm compost at quarter-inch intervals, so the roots don’t be tangled up.

Further sprinkle a thin layer of compost (around 0.125 inches) to cover the seeds, spray with water, and cover with a lid to trap the warmth.

Note: Make sure the soil is moist but not soggy.

Step 5: 

Position the pot/tray in a place with 12-16 hours of indirect sunlight. This is a fair amount of sunlight that seeds require to sprout.


  • Never place the pot exposed to direct sunlight as this risks burning the seeds.
  • Daily check on the pot/tray to make sure the compost doesn’t dry out. Once this occurs, the sprouts can die in a few hours.

Step 6:

Spray the seeds each day until the beginning of the sprouts growing. If the water accumulates on the surface of the pot/tray, stop and water wisely next time. 

Seed germination and growth

Bamboo Seed germination and growth
via Reddit

On average, the new shoots typically take around 10 days post-planting to appear if the growing conditions are ideal. Otherwise, be patient as the seeds may sprout in 15 days or more.

When the sprouts start to touch the lid or plastic bag, remove the lid as soon as possible as the heat generated by the lid leaves the sprouts to rot and die.

Continue to keep an eye on the soil and ensure it never dries out completely. If it shows any sign of drying out, immediately mist the top layer to keep it hydrated. 

After around 30 days, the germinated seeds that have developed into healthy sprouts should be transplanted into 4cm pots to give them comfortable room to grow.

Do this by adding high-quality potting soil with 50 percent small bark-chip mulch into each pot to increase drainage. Then, gently move each seedling into the pots and give it a slight amount of water.

Set these pots in a location with at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight at all costs as this would burn the bamboo seedlings. Also, keep spraying the seedlings once daily or as required.

Bonus tips: 

  • In the fall or winter, plant the pots in the ground and mix with 1 or 2 inches of mulch.
  • During the following Spring, consider repotting and wait for the first culms/canes. Once the seedlings have reached approximately 30 centimeters, they are ready to be transplanted to your garden.
  • Water the new bamboo properly and remove pests by hand or treat them with a pesticide.

>> Related Post: 5 Best Tool for Cutting Bamboo in A Hassle-Free Way

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, after reading the article, you have now acquired essential tips to grow bamboo from seeds. Although the process is challenging, the experience you gain can be pleasant, especially when the new sprouts emerge from the ground and achieve their full height.

If you show interest in the topic, share it with your friends or family members. Also, if you have any further concerns, please leave us a few words in the comment section below.