Large Bamboo Division: Learn When To Split Potted Bamboo Plants

By: Raffaele Di Lallo, Author and founder of Ohio Tropics houseplant care blog

Bambooplants are wonderful plants to grow in pots. Many varieties are invasive whenplanted in the ground, so growing them in pots is a great solution, but theywill grow pretty quickly and can be a challenge to repot.

How to Divide Large Potted Bamboo

Let’s go over how to repot bamboo. Be sure to have the following tools available before you start: a knife, pruning saw, good pair of scissors or pruning shears and one or more new pots.

Large bamboo division can be awkward and difficult if done alone, so you may want to have a friend help you out too.

If your potted bamboo needs splitting, here is what you can do:

  • First of all, how do you know when to split potted bamboo? Getting the timing correct is important. The best time timeframe for dividing potted bamboo and repotting is late winter. You’ll want to avoid the active growing season, spring and summer, when you can disturb the root ball too much.
  • Give your potted bamboo a good watering to hydrate the root ball. Next, you’ll want to run a knife around the perimeter of the pot in order to help loosen the root ball. Bamboo plants have very vigorous, dense root systems so this step is important!
  • Then tip the pot over gently, with the help of a friend, if needed, and remove the plant from the pot. If the bottom of the root ball has thick matted roots, cut off the bottom inch (2.5 cm.) or so with a pruning saw.
  • Next, return the plant to an upright position and use the pruning saw to divide the root ball into two or more pieces. Simply saw right through the root ball into as many divisions as you’d like. As you are doing this, you may want to test if the division can be teased away from the main root ball using your hands. Otherwise, keep sawing until each division breaks loose.
  • For each division, be sure to remove any dead, rotten, or severely damaged roots. Remove any soil that is loose. Repot each of the divisions into their new pots. Be sure to give the divisions a good watering and monitor carefully until they become more established.

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My Potted Bamboo Needs Splitting – How To Divide Large Potted Bamboo - garden

While you may love the idea of growing your own bamboo privacy screens, when it comes to a project such as this, space is your #1 concern. This is especially true for those who live in densely populated or suburban areas, and need to create their own privacy the most.

Growing a bamboo privacy screen in containers is not only a great idea for those who live in densely populated areas where limited space is an issue, but also for those who rent or lease their homes and don't want to make any permanent changes to the landscape. However, in order to produce the results you want, there are some important considerations to be made.


Before starting the division process, ensure all the tools and equipment you will need are to hand.

Not everything on this list may be needed it all depends on how big the bamboo is and whether it is in a container or in the ground.

Two pots the right size. It is better if the new pots are bigger than the one the plant is in because it will give the bamboo division room to grow and establish quicker. It will also mean you won't have to go through this process again very soon.

Saw (hand saw or electric, whichever you prefer)

Garden pruners or secateurs, and Shears may also be useful

Axe (not needed for smaller plants but may be needed for a large ground planted bamboo)

Water (to keep the root ball moist)

Plastic sheet for wrapping root balls to make sure it doesn't dry out, particularly if one division has to wait while you put the other in a pot.

Stones for in the bottom of the pot to aid drainage and give weight

Well-draining soil or compost mix

Sharp Spade (if digging the plant out)

A bamboo in a container needs splitting or dividing when it's filling ts pot and you don't want to put it in a larger container.

I think the best time to do this is in the spring just as growth starts . a rich compost with lots of organic material is good so I would use John Innes loam based No 3 with the addition of some well-rotted manure.

It may be necessary to use a saw to cut through the rootball!

“I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

I can usually find something out of the kitchen drawer, a bread knife is quite good, or use anything that’s strong, give it a whack with an axe if you have one, of course they need splitting when pot grown.!

As Dove says, best done in Spring or Autumn.

My OH always says. the wrong information is worse than no information at all.

Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor.

A neighbour offered me some bamboo from a hedge that had got carried away. Cutting it out was really hard work! Then I placed in a shaded courtyard where it never got going. Then in a large plastic pot, in full sun - until it filled the pot. A gardener friend said bamboo is well suited to large plastic pots.

When the pot was getting filled out, I pulled it out and used a spade to divide into two. I'm hoping to split for propagation purposes really. The pots currently are not full yet or crowded.

I figured dividing and refreshing compost was probably good for both me and the bamboo.

Sorry I can't be more specific in terms of variety - I have no idea what it is.

I'd read that frost can get to the roots in pots, probably not an issue here in Sussex. Will hold out for spring.

Last edited: 08 January 2018 11:27:13

How to Split a Bamboo Plant

Bamboo plants spread and self-propagate by sending out underground rhizomes. Clumping varieties have shallow rhizomes that gradually increase the size of the clump. Running bamboo spreads rapidly, sending out long roots and rhizomes. Regardless of the variety, bamboo plants take to division and splitting well. Split bamboo in the early spring when the new shoots are just emerging, and the new splits will establish strong roots during the coming growing season.

Set a soaker hose on the plant you are going to divide and let the water seep into the soil. Soak the roots the day before you split the bamboo plant. Water potted bamboo until the water seeps from the drainage holes in the bottom, then set the pot outside or in the sink to drain overnight.

  • Bamboo plants spread and self-propagate by sending out underground rhizomes.
  • Split bamboo in the early spring when the new shoots are just emerging, and the new splits will establish strong roots during the coming growing season.

Drive a garden fork or shovel into the soil at the edge of the bamboo plant and pull back on the handle to loosen the rhizomes. Remove container grown bamboo from the pot by turning the plant on its side and sliding the root ball free.

Work your shovel or fingers between the rhizomes and pull the sections apart. Divide a large plant in half or into several smaller clumps.

Clip off the top third of the stalks, also known as the culm. Use a sharp pair of shears and make clean horizontal cuts.

Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of each bamboo plant split. Make the planting holes the same depth as the root ball. Fill a planting pot for each split with a well draining potting soil mix.

  • Drive a garden fork or shovel into the soil at the edge of the bamboo plant and pull back on the handle to loosen the rhizomes.

Place the root ball of the bamboo splits into the planting holes or into the prepared pots. Fill in under and around the the rhizomes and pat down the soil until the plant stands on its own. Plant the rhizome so that it is the same depth as it was before the split.

Water the bamboo plant splits until the soil is evenly damp all around the rhizomes. Keep the soil damp but not saturated for the first two weeks after planting.

Wrap the rhizomes of the bamboo plant splits in damp cloth or plastic if you can not replant right away. Keeping the rhizomes moist is crucial for successful replanting.

Watch the video: HOW TO GET RID OF BAMBOO from your yard!

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