Soil and Mulch
Free-draining soil is essential. Dig the planting holes then fill them with water. If the water is still in the hole after 6-12 hours
(very rare) then you need to improve the drainage.
If other common plants are growing well in the soil then there shouldn’t be any issues. Do not mix in potting mix
with the soil. Do not mix in chicken manure, blood and bone or compost with the soil unless you fully
understand what you are doing.
Blood and bone, manure and compost work well put on top of the soil. This replicates what happens naturally and
creating conditions which are not found as a result of 4 billion years of evolution is general
There is no natural environment where large quantities of organic matter finds itself dug into the soil.
In almost every natural environment where life exists, organic matter is broken down through invertebrate and then
microbial action and is incorporated into the soil structure.
1 teaspoon of soil contains more bacteria than the entire human population. There are networks of fungi which connect the
roots of plants in the soil (and we don’t yet fully understand how they work)
This is probably a sign that the microbes are going to do a much better job that you at getting nutrients into the roots of the
plants. (*see end for why you should be nice to your soil)
Bamboo plants love mulch. Start with 5 cm now, while they are small and then when they are bigger increase to at least
10cm. Keep the mulch topped up all around the plant. Use manure and blood and bone covered with hardwood chip.
With time this will improve the soil for the reasons above.
Do not overwater when young under any circumstances. If shoots start going rotten or things don’t look right then the likely
cause is too much water. If the soil is moist then they have enough water.
Keeping young plants in soggy soil for extended periods will deprive the roots of oxygen and create anoxic conditions which
promote the growth of anaerobic bacteria and fungi which means disease and rot.
The best way to avoid this is to allow the soil to dry out now and then and to apply water little and often when the plants are
establishing. Make sure the soil around is loose enough to encourage roots to grow into it but unless it has been
compacted it is not recommended to dig it over.
After a couple of months of the growing season (September – May) then an additional good soaking every week during hot
weather can be beneficial and as they get even bigger it’s a better method of watering because it encourages deep root
If the leaves curl up then this is a sign that the plants are suffering from moisture stress. This can happen on very hot (and
especially windy) days anyway regardless of the water supply.
The leaves below are showing signs of moisture stress and believe it or not within 20-30 minutes of watering would return
to normal. Do NOT be alarmed if you see this. Apply water and fast, but not so fast it runs off or drains away before it can
If the leaves remain curled when they are in shade then the plants do not have enough water and you need to look at either
supplementing their water supply OR reducing their water needs. Often cutting back some culms will make a big difference.
If the plant is still establishing then the problem is not a big enough root system and not enough water.
If the plants are 3+ years old and definitely if 5+ years old then cutting back any culms that are not needed or cutting some
down to half the height, trimming the tops off (so you really need a 7m screen or will 5m be enough?) will reduce the
number of leaves and reduce the transpiration rate, reducing the need for water.
Once the plant has been rehydrated you may find that you don’t need to do this again for some time but keeping a bamboo
clump with 50-100 culms is definitely going to mean it needs more water than otherwise.
Large bamboo clumps which suddenly run out of water can dehydrate and drop leaves very quickly.
You may be surprised with just how few culms are needed to provide a screen. Often if new shoots are removed only
allowing 15-20 culms per plant to be developed will result in each culm producing enough foliage to provide a screen.
The best fertiliser which is readily available that we have used is Osmocote Controlled Release All Purpose Fertiliser which
contains trace elements
For the 1st season it’s a good idea to use this by digging it into the planting hole. It guarantees that all trace elements will be
available for the plants to establish. You can use if again for the second season if your soil is poor.
From the very beginning organic fertiliser gives good results. Blood and bone, well-rotted compost and manure are good
organic fertilisers and should be applied annually to create healthy and resilient plants.
Avoid soluble fertiliser if you want healthy soil, and you REALLY want healthy soil because it contains all the bacteria and
fungi your bamboo naturally lives with (symbiotic relationship) and they will do a great job of keeping your bamboo growing
and keeping it healthy.
For the first year they will grow slowly (but still much faster than any other plant).
Shoots may not appear for a few months after they first go into the ground but the plants will be putting down roots and
building up stores of energy before putting up their first shoots.
In year 2 they will grow much faster. From year 3 onwards they begin to show the kind of growth rates that bamboo is
famous for. You can remove old/small culms (canes) to maintain the vigour and appearance of the clump.
It’s recommended to only keep the culms needed for whatever effect you want. This reduces water and nutrient demand
and there is no point in having a plant with 100 culms when a plant with 20 culms does the same job.
Similarly putting small plants in the ground now is going to give you the same result as putting slightly bigger plants in the
ground in the future (obviously this is not true in all cases but it makes a point)
The plants in the next photos were purchased by a customer who called to express disbelief that they would screen
Less than two years later the customer took more photos and expressed disbelief in just how fast they grew.
The thing to notice is the difference in size of the initial plants and then to notice that you can’t notice any difference in less
than two years.
This is because in 200mm pots most bamboos grow very slowly. Their roots are restricted and they basically don’t want to
be in there. They have no adaptations for growing in a plastic pot which contains potting mix and not soil.
Plastic pots and potting mix are completely artificial environments and it is not easy to keep them happy in there.
The minute the roots get used to being in soil, they take off because they are in an environment that 4 billion years
evolution has selected for.
How many culms does each plant have and how tall are they?
It doesn’t matter so long as they have culms which are or are putting up shoots which will reach 1.0-1.5m in a 200mm pot.
Each shoot reaches whatever height it is going to reach in about 2 months. The diameter of the shoot is proportional to the
height it will grow to.
This means a plant which has a 1.5m culm will be overtaken but a plant with a 50cm shoot which is of greater diameter
than the 1.5m culm in 4 weeks or so.
How close should I plant them?
The best way to think about this is that a specific area of land has a specific amount of water and nutrients and a specific
amount of sunlight falling on it. One plant that can fill that space will grow faster, taller and with longer branches and more
leaves than two plants that end up competing with each other.
Generally Slender Weavers goes well planted 1.5m apart. Gaps at the bottom can be foiled by cutting new culms down to
about 3m just before they start to put branches out. This causes them to put branches out only from the lower section that’s
Do they come with a Guarantee?
We do guarantee that if you contact us as soon as you see anything you aren’t sure about, take lots of photos from all
angles and distances, close ups especially and when you think you have enough, take some more.
Then email us asap and tell us everything that has happened then we will help you and so far we’ve solved every problem
we know of (and almost every time it was over watering.)
These are guidelines for growing clumping bamboo in Sydney. They have produced reliably consistent good results for us.
Slender Weavers is one of the most forgiving bamboos you can buy and it will grow if you plant it in soil and give it water.
If you follow the guidelines then the chances are (based on feedback and experience) that you will maximise the potential
for super- fast growing, fabulous looking bamboo.
However, they are NOT a guarantee and no liability for anything that happens as a result of following these guidelines or
not following them is accepted by Sydney Bamboo or anybody else for any reason or under any circumstances no matter
what technical grammatical, technical , syntax or other linguistic error you may find in these guidelines which could possibly
be misinterpreted (either through very hard work or by a simple mistake) these guidelines serve as an account of our
experience by which someone with no experience may learn from.
Should you have any comments of advice for use then we welcome them and acknowledge that there are many people in
the world who know more about growing bamboo than we do.
Once the bamboo is in your possession then the best guarantee you can find is to take responsibility for what are very easy
to grow plants that require minimal maintenance and are tolerant of a wide range of conditions.
To minimise the already very small chance that anything will go wrong it’s best to wait for them to grow for a couple of
years before experimenting and then to apply changes gradually and wait to observe a noticeable response that can be