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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 5:52 am 
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Location: Canada BC Creston Z6a
Hey everyone~

I was wondering if anyone here has successfully started bamboo from cuttings.
I've read online that you can start bamboo from taking a culm of bamboo and cutting it up into sections and using those to start new plants, has anyone tried this? was it successful?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:45 am 
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Tropical clumpers, yes, temperate bamboos - no way.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:28 am 
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Location: Magnolia Springs, Al Zone 8b
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I made a poor attempt to propagate cuttings from clumping bamboo June 27, 2017. Surprisingly I discovered some roots coming out of the bottom of the pots on 2 out of 5, but no growth above ground. I have since tried 5 more and have babied them. For the first week the leaves remained green, but the second week they have dropped and some of the branches have begun to yellow. I plan to make more attempts monthly through the winter to discover if propagation is possible year round or seasonal for my 8B climate.

I would love to hear some techniques and success/failure stories as well. I'm totally winging it after watching a lot of youtube videos.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:35 pm 
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Has anyone tried this technique? Or have a better one for clumping?
http://www.shawngilbert.com/bamboo-propagation

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:16 pm 
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Location: S. Louisiana, 9a
Ophiuchus, I've tried the method you linked as well as vertical culm placement with 1-3 nodes, aquaponic cloner and made a 4x4 raised bed with shade cloth and misters dedicated just to bamboo cuttings. 2 node vertical cuttings in the shaded/misted bed gave me my highest success rate...around 20-30%. All of my attempts were vastly inferior to root division. The cuttings required much more care, had a much lower success rate and grew out at a slower rate. Of course, my methods may have not been ideal, but I did give it the old college try.

It was fun and interesting to attempt to propagate all of those cuttings, but I'm done with them. I've been extremely aggressive with dividing my plants, and even a tiny culm with a little root seems to have a 90%+ survival rate with proper care. I enjoyed all of my attempts, but root division is the way to go for me.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:45 am 
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LA Bamboo wrote:
Ophiuchus, I've tried the method you linked as well as vertical culm placement with 1-3 nodes, aquaponic cloner and made a 4x4 raised bed with shade cloth and misters dedicated just to bamboo cuttings. 2 node vertical cuttings in the shaded/misted bed gave me my highest success rate...around 20-30%. All of my attempts were vastly inferior to root division. The cuttings required much more care, had a much lower success rate and grew out at a slower rate. Of course, my methods may have not been ideal, but I did give it the old college try.

It was fun and interesting to attempt to propagate all of those cuttings, but I'm done with them. I've been extremely aggressive with dividing my plants, and even a tiny culm with a little root seems to have a 90%+ survival rate with proper care. I enjoyed all of my attempts, but root division is the way to go for me.

This is well stated. I have probably never done better than 30% on cuttings, and they are very slow to develop. I would say they will be about a year behind even the smallest division. I have not tried Bambusa ventricosa, which is supposedly an easier to root variety.

Also, ditto on the "extremely aggressive" division. Knock the plant out of its pot, spray the soil off the roots with water, separate the culms at the rhizome necks, replant, and you will have lots of plants ready to grow immediately. I always do this in late winter, before new growth starts.

If you do not have a potted plant to divide, and you are afraid of damaging a small in-ground plant, consider the following. Often, tropical bamboos produce late shoots that emerge from the soil and then stall out when it gets cool in the fall. In late winter, BEFORE ANY GROWTH STARTS, you can carefully dig and remove the rhizomes from these failed culms. I have found that they are usually still alive. Plant them a few inches deep in a pot, protect them from squirrels, and they will shoot in the spring. If you give these great care, they will have many small shoots ready to divide by the next winter. I have had 100% success with this method, as long as the rhizome was alive.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:58 pm 
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Location: Magnolia Springs, Al Zone 8b
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Thank you both for sharing your experience. Of course it is not the answer I was looking for, but your comments will save me an enormous amount of time with experimentation.

So it's back to the drawing board. Glen, I watched a video showing the root ball being washed and wasn't sure about doing this. Washing the plant dirt loose would really give me a better look at precise division. What size container do you have the best experience with?

After the divisions are made and replanted, how long do you leave it in the shade before moving to full sun? How long does it take for the root system to develop in 3 gal pots before marketable?

LA Bamboo, I was really hoping the misting system would tip the difference, so thanks again for saving me money and time.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:15 am 
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Ophiuchus wrote:
So it's back to the drawing board. Glen, I watched a video showing the root ball being washed and wasn't sure about doing this. Washing the plant dirt loose would really give me a better look at precise division. What size container do you have the best experience with?

After the divisions are made and replanted, how long do you leave it in the shade before moving to full sun? How long does it take for the root system to develop in 3 gal pots before marketable?

I have used 1-15 gallon sized containers. The container size just has to match the size of the plant. Basically, it has to be big enough to accommodate the roots and plenty of potting soil. Small species like B. multiplex can be managed in 3 gallon pots, if they are divided every year. I just use composted pine bark, purchased by the yard from a landscaping store. If the containerized plants are well cared for (fertilized and kept moist), they will grow very quickly. Large species, like B. textilis tend to upsize whether you want them to or not. You can keep the plant size down if you divide everything into single culm propagules, but this has its limits. If you start with a rhizome only, you might fit it in a 3 gallon pot, but after that first year, the divisions may not fit in the smaller sized pots. The best divisions for containers are single culms from the previous season, which have not yet started branching. These will really take off once it gets warm. If you make divisions of fully leafed culms, you may have to clip some or all of the leaves off to match the root loss. I do not normally top the culms, but rather remove the leafy twigs. This takes more time, but it is my personal preference.

You will need to put two posts in the ground, with a horizontal support (like a piece of metal conduit) between them. The horizontal support should be perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction. You can then tie the single culms to the pipe so they do not blow over during storms. This also keeps the culms stable in the pot while they root. The height of the support needs to match the height of your plants....the taller the support the more stability you will have.

One important thing to remember is that the more rootbound a plant is, the harder the dividing process will be. I have divided old, rootbound plants with success, but is it hard work. If you divide EVERY year, you will have an easier job. Also, try to find used nursery pots from landscaping companies. Bamboo tend to destroy pots, so keep thing cheap.

I allow the plants to root through the drainage holes into the ground. The plant then has access to a little moisture from the ground, in case I forget to water once or twice late in the summer. When you divide in late winter, just cut those roots with a shovel before you lift the pots, and no harm will be done.

With regard to shade...
In my climate, sun exposure does not matter much to the success of a division, but watering does. I normally place the new divisions wherever I have room, and leave them there all summer. My preference is to place the plants and leave them all year in full shade. This makes my watering tasks easier. You will have to keep these moist, without fail, all year. Remember, my divisions are always made before growth starts (February). This is important.

I do not know about marketability, but the divisions should be well rooted by late spring, and have new culms by late summer. This year, I made single culm divisions in February, and I think I put them in the ground in early summer. They were already shooting. By the way, these were started in the sun, because that is the only place I had room for them.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:05 pm 
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Location: Magnolia Springs, Al Zone 8b
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Glen, let me first thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. If you will allow me to summarize your division technique and ask a few questions along the way I would very much appreciate it.

Step One: Remove plant from pot and wash roots with water.

1. Do you prep the plant with additional water the day before or let it dry out some?
2. Do you attempt to wash whole root ball or divide into smaller pieces first?

Step Two: Divide plant into individual culms retaining as much root mass as possible that will fit into the container you choose allowing plenty of room for new soil.

3. What tools are most appropriate so as not to damage root system?
4. How much of the root mass is needed if downsizing pot?

Step Three: Plant in ground or container and water.

5. Any special soil mix, compost or fertilizer?
6. If topped, is a leafy branch required?
7. Can you review shade requirements again?
8. Okay to go to Ground vs. Container immediately?

Thanks again Glen and to anyone else that would like to add to the discussion. I want to propagate my seven gal pots maximizing more pots and also put some in the ground immediately after division. I'm just a little nervous doing single culm divisions as opposed to just splitting the plant in half or even quarters retaining as much of the existing dirt as possible.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:30 am 
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Ophiuchus wrote:
1. Do you prep the plant with additional water the day before or let it dry out some?
Ideally, keep it moist. Dry soil will only harm your plant. Division is stressful to the plant, so do not pre-stress it with dry soil.
Ophiuchus wrote:
2. Do you attempt to wash whole root ball or divide into smaller pieces first?
I identify the easiest rhizome neck to cut, and start there, working my way toward the center until I have enough divisions. I just remove as much soil as I have to as I go. I would rarely wash the entire rootball before I start dividing. The more soil that stays on the roots, the less they can be damaged by desiccation while you work. Honestly, my plants are usually so rootbound that they can not be washed completely until some divisions are removed.
Ophiuchus wrote:
3. What tools are most appropriate so as not to damage root system?
A nozzle that will deliver a good jet of water, a good steel bypass pruner for small rhizomes (I sterilize it between clones.), a saw for large rhizomes (Finer toothed reciprocating saw blades work well, used with a handle, NOT an electric saw). Keep electricity away from your work area, as water and soil will be flying everywhere. Be careful with your pruner as well, as it needs to be sharp, you will sometimes be cutting in tight areas, and you do not want to prune your finger.
Ophiuchus wrote:
4. How much of the root mass is needed if downsizing pot?
I am not certain what you mean, but I would generally not remove roots and cram the plant into a small pot. It will be hard to get soil to filter in around the roots.
Ophiuchus wrote:
5. Any special soil mix, compost or fertilizer?
I use pure composted pine bark from a landscape store. I usually buy two yards at a time, and it is MUCH cheaper than any bagged medium. I do not fertilize until new growth starts, then I use a high quality lawn fertilizer. The amount and frequency will depend on rainfall, temperatures, and how much energy you have!
Ophiuchus wrote:
6. If topped, is a leafy branch required?
No, but if you do not have a good VIABLE branch bud, you will have a pathetic division. I would never want to make a division without at least one good branch bud.
Ophiuchus wrote:
7. Can you review shade requirements again?
IN MY CLIMATE: Shade is not required when I make divisions in late winter, but it does make watering easier when the temperatures get warm. I start them in shade most of the time, because that happens to be a convenient place for me to place the pots. My divisions are successful in either sun or shade, but results may vary in other climates, or with different care. I keep a close eye on my plants. DO NOT LET NEW DIVISIONS DRY OUT AT ALL. I water almost every day, at least until new growth is visible, but usually longer.
Ophiuchus wrote:
8. Okay to go to Ground vs. Container immediately?
If your division has multiple culms and plenty of roots, the ground is fine. Small or weak divisions will have a better chance in a pot.
Ophiuchus wrote:
I want to propagate my seven gal pots maximizing more pots and also put some in the ground immediately after division. I'm just a little nervous doing single culm divisions as opposed to just splitting the plant in half or even quarters retaining as much of the existing dirt as possible.
A lot of the details are things you will begin to understand once you start dividing. You will also work out some of your own methods over time. I recommend working on a cool, cloudy day, and keeping the roots moist as you work. Doing divisions this way takes more time than chopping the thing in half, but it results in more plants, and little or no wasted plant material. Once you get used to it, you will be amazed how quickly your plants multiply!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:09 pm 
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Location: Magnolia Springs, Al Zone 8b
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Thanks for all your insight Glen. I just picked up 179 3 gal plants from Robert. I had no idea there would be an availability issue. He won't have more plants until May due to increased demand from areas devastated by hurricanes.

He suggested going ahead and making the divisions now so plants would be ready for sale in the Spring. I'm mindful of your response that was underlined...February

I bought a 15 gal Seabreeze from a grower in Louisiana recently (October) and divided it into 5 plants (1-3 culms). All seem to be growing and producing new leaf growth at present. My 7 gal plants could produce quite a few single culm divisions. I'm torn between waiting until February or divide them now.

What are your thoughts about dividing now or waiting until late Feb? I do not have a greenhouse nor any way to protect them from the winter. I topped them yesterday leaving two branched nodes and I left the new unbranched shoots alone. Watering had become an issue with all the foliage developed over a full year of growth.

Thanks Brother

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:28 am 
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Where is Magnolia Springs? Do you mean Robert of Tropical Bamboo Nursery?

In my area (near Houston) the shoots from this year have not quite hardened off yet, and dividing them as single culms would be risky. Also, they will stop growing soon, and it will not be warm enough for them to do much until February or so. If I divided now, I would risk damage to the soft culms, and I would gain little growth advantage. If I had a greenhouse, or lived in South Florida, things would be different, as I could maintain growth throughout the winter.

I divide when I do because it makes for the most successful divisions in my climate. At that time, the plants are somewhat dormant, all growth is hardened, they probably have a fairly high level of carbohydrate reserves, the weather is easy on the new divisions, and they will be able to resume growth soon after division.

You will have to decide on what will work for you, but I think single culm divisions made now from soft culms are not the best way to go if your climate is similar to mine. However, it does depend somewhat on how rootbound you plants are. If a plant is very rootbound, you will damage a lot of roots during division. If the plant is not rootbound, you will be able to divide it with less stress to the plant, so your division window will be larger. Of course, humidity, temperature, aftercare, etc. will always play large roles in your success. Experience, experience, experience...

If you get extreme cold, lay all your plants on their sides on the ground, in the most compact area possible, cover them with some blankets or canvas, and then a big cheap tarp (you can get very large ones at home stores). Weight the edges down, and the ground will keep the plants undamaged through some pretty cold weather. If you lay the plants over in an organized way, you can protect many plants cheaply, and the materials will last for many years if you store them inside, only using them a few nights per winter. Of course, get the plants uncovered as quickly as possible.

After growing bamboos for quite a few years, I always shake my head when homeowners think they are going to grow a bamboo screen in pots in a warm climate. As you are seeing, you do not get much time in a pot before the plant is in decline from a lack of water. I think a microsprinkler system may be the way to go for nursery production.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:48 pm 
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Glen, Magnolia Springs is inland of the Gulf Coast of Alabama and yes, we're referring to the same Robert. They had a lot of demand after the Hurricanes and I'm not sure his availability issues are temporary because of them.

I decided to wait for division until February as you suggested. I agree, it is not worth the risk in dividing too early. With 31 7 gallons pots I hope to make 90+ plants.

Thanks for the tip of weathering techniques, I hope we don't have a brutal winter this year that would require any extra effort. My potted plants weathered through last year with temps as low as 21 with only a little leaf burn.

Thanks again for sharing your expertise.

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