How to winterize bamboo

How to winterize bamboo

When growing cold hardy bamboos it is important to protect your plants from freezing. Keeping your bamboo healthy through the winter will bolster strong spring growth. When bamboo freezes this stops the flow of fluid and nutrients causing significant harm. Adequate insulation is key in colder climates, when planting in a container extra effort is necessary. 

New Plantings

During the establishment period (First 1-3 years) is when your bamboo is most vulnerable. Most bamboo once established can weather the winter season without any worries. During the first few years, your bamboo is just starting to establish a full colony of underground rhizomes. As your bamboo accrues more biomass, it will stay better insulated through the winter naturally.

Above Ground Containers

Above ground, containers do not benefit from the insulation the earth provides, further precautions are required in this case.

It is key to plant into a large container in order to provide more insulation for the rhizomes. Soil warming cables will heat the soil and stop freezing.

When the container is able to freeze, the nutrient transfer is impeded and winds can dedicate foliage and cause permanent damage easier.

In-Ground Planting

Ground temperatures are typically warmer than air which makes it less conducive to freezing. In-Ground plantings generally have a much larger root mass that can endure harsher conditions.

Applying heavy mulch will further prevent drying out and temperature loss.

Covering your plants with “mini” greenhouse tents is ok, however, this will block rain from entering, so watering will be necessary.


Additional Tips

  • Cutting back canes will not be any benefit to the health of the plant. Doing so will only reduce productivity next spring.
  • Any type of mulch for this application is fine. Bamboo is not picky and just wants to be warm. Even leaves and pine-straw will do great.
  • Anti-desiccant sprays have been known to work, but is not a substitution for our recommendations.
  • If your bamboo is covered in Ice/Snow it is best to leave it alone and wait for it to melt. Bamboo is very flexible, but shaking the canes at this stage will likely cause a break.

With minimal effort, your bamboo will be just fine through the winter. Our bamboo can be planted in most of the USA from zones 5a to 10+. Shop our Cold Hardy Bamboo to start growing your own! Not sure if you live in the right climate zone? Use our brand new Bamboo Finder!

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