Bamboo does not produce seeds very often, generally flowering -- a requirement for the production of seeds -- only once every 50 years or so, according to information from the Arizona Cooperative Extension Service. Because of this, bamboo is typically reproduced by dividing existing stands and allowing them to send out runners that produce new plants. If you have seeds, however, bamboo, including the moso variety, can be grown from them. The techniques for germination are simple and, in practice, result in a success rate of about 75 per cent.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Moso bamboo seeds
- Flat plastic container, with lid
- Sphagnum moss
- Liquid fertiliser
- Spray bottle
Gently rinse the seeds in clean water, then soak them for five minutes in water that is 9 parts water to 1 part salt. Rinse them with fresh water. Soak the rinsed seeds in clean water for 15 minutes.
Mix equal parts perlite and sphagnum moss together, making enough to completely fill your container. Soak the mixture thoroughly. Drain until there is just enough moisture to squeeze out a few drops.
Spread the planting mix evenly in the flat container, reserving about a third of the mix for covering the seeds.
Sprinkle the moso bamboo seeds evenly over the top of the mixture in the container. Cover the seeds carefully with the remaining moss and perlite mixture. Place the lid on the container.
Check the moisture level in the planting box twice a week. If it seems dry, mist carefully with plain water in a spray bottle. Replace the lid when you're done.
Watch the seeds for signs of sprouting. Keep the lid on until the seedlings almost touch it, after which, remove it. The seeds will continue to sprout for several weeks. Be sure to keep them moist.
Spray liquid fertiliser on the bamboo when the plants are 4 inches tall or about 1 month old. Mix and apply it according to the manufacturer's directions. Transplant the seedlings at any point after the first four or five weeks. You can put them in small pots or directly into an outdoor area.
Tips and warnings
- Start your seeds in a domed plastic container designed for seed germination or in something as simple as a shallow plastic storage box, as long as it has a lid.
- The "running" variety of bamboo can become invasive. Plant your bamboo in containers or in areas where runners sending up new stems are not likely to create problems, or choose to grow the "clumping" variety instead. You can also dig up new shoots on a regular basis to prevent the bamboo from taking over an area.
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