How to feed bamboo plants

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Bamboo has more than 2,000 species and is a symbol of longevity, wisdom and strength. It can thrive either outdoors or indoors, if fed properly. Some species of bamboo can reach an indoor height of 20 feet; some small varieties have an indoor height of 2 feet or less. Although the very popular "lucky bamboo" plant that grows in vases or bowls of water is commonly called bamboo, true bamboo plants are grasses and will not grow in standing water. "Lucky bamboo" is actually member of the Dracaena family (usually D. sanderana). Feeding requirements are considerably different between true bamboo and lucky bamboo.

Identify the type of bamboo you have. Temperate bamboos have a native dormancy period during cold winters. If grown indoors where the temperature won't get as cold, the plant will still experience a dormancy period and leaf drop will occur. Feeding should not be done during this dormancy period.

Use a high-nitrogen, low potash fertiliser (such as 30-10-10) for true bamboos.

Feed indoor tropical bamboo plants every time you water. Use a half-strength solution If the fertiliser you choose only provides instructions for feeding monthly.

Feed temperate bamboos during the growing season every time you water (with a half-strength solution) but do not feed during winter months. Decrease watering frequency during dormancy; water only to keep the soil from drying out.

Put lucky bamboo plants in 2 inches of filtered water (tap water has too many chemicals that can harm the plant).

Change the water once a week.

Use a liquid fertiliser formulated for aquarium plants or a weak solution of a water-soluble plant food, such as Miracle-Gro for water plants diluted to 1/10th the recommended strength.

Add the plant food once a month at a time when you change the water.

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