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How To Grow A Bamboo Privacy Screen In Containers

Posted on Sep 12, 2015. 0 comments

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.

Choosing A Good Container Bamboo

While there are more than 100 varieties of bamboo plants, some are more suitable for container growing than others. It also stands to reason that if you are growing your privacy fence in containers, then you may wish to use a smaller variety of bamboo plants that won’t grow too big to be moved at a later date.

When grown in containers, even the largest of bamboo varieties will not reach their full growth potential as their roots and rhizomes are constricted. However, some varieties have proven better for container growing than others.

Seabreeze

Also known as Bambusa Malingensis, Seabreeze Bamboo can reach a maximum height of 35 feet tall when planted in the ground with open space. Their culms only reach a 2 and a half inch diameter, and they can withstand temperatures down to 20 degrees F.

Seabreeze is one of the most salt tolerant bamboo plants that there is. They grow into tight clumps with fine grained wood. Seabreeze bamboo is considered one of the absolute best choices for a fast privacy screen or hedge due to its thick lateral foliage and upright growth.

When planted in a large, well-drained, and slightly insulated container, they can easily be maintained to stay at any height you choose with a once annual hedge trimming and just a few touchups throughout the year to remain at the height you want. They even make good standalone specimens, whether potted or not.

Multiplex Hedge Bamboo

Multiplex Hedge can reach maximum heights of 15 feet when planted in open spaces, however, when planted in containers, they are easily kept at more maintainable heights. There are a number of branches down the culm’s base on each node, and when grown in containers they have been known to reach 8 feet high. Cold tolerant down to 18 degrees, these little bamboo plants make a great choice for starting your own bamboo garden or growing a green screen.

Unlike most bamboo, Multiplex Hedge Bamboo is dark green and pencil-thin, which makes it the perfect candidate for potted containers or bonsai culture. As one of the hardiest choices out of the entire Bambusa genus, you can easily and quickly grow a 5 to 15 foot tall privacy screen or hedge with Multiplex.

Buddha Belly Bamboo

Also known as Bambusa Ventricosa, this clump bamboo thrives in full sun to partial shade. With a maximum height that only reaches 20 feet tall, this bamboo is known for staying even smaller when kept in a container. While it is also popular as a small indoor plant or bonsai, it is highly versatile and adaptable to most conditions. With special attention and care, it can easily be restricted in a container. In addition, caretakers can artfully starve this bamboo for water in order to make it ‘belly out’.

Buddha Belly Bamboo can adapt to nearly any lighting conditions and can withstand temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit. This bamboo is known for requiring more water than most other types of bamboo, but it is one of the absolute best choices for indoor and outdoor container growing.

These are only 2 examples of bamboo plant varieties that are excellent for growing a bamboo privacy screen in containers. For even more ideas, check out our Best Indoor/ Outdoor Bamboo for Pots Collection.

Finding The Perfect Containers

After you have chosen the perfect potted bamboo plant, the next step is to ensure that you have an appropriate container for your new plant.

It is important to remember that bamboo plants grown in containers are not nearly as hearty as those grown in the ground. Although they are still very hardy. They require more care as well, since they have to be divided or repotted every 2 to 5 years. Environmental stress affects potted bamboo more than in-ground bamboo plants as well. However, by ensuring that their needs are met, you can have a thriving bamboo tree nearly anywhere, whether indoors or not.

For starters, the constricted root space makes it easy for them to dry out, and they are also more affected by cold, heat and strong winds. However, when their needs are met, bamboo plants will grow and thrive in the right containers. You can use metal feed troughs, but you should make sure they have enough drainage, insulation and hardy plants.

Ideally, large wooden containers can make a great home for bamboo plants, and provide some additional insulation as well. Regardless of what type of container you choose, as long as it provides enough space, drainage and insulation, your potted bamboo should thrive.

Putting Your Potted Bamboo Hedge Or Screen Together

After determining what type of bamboo and containers to use, you simply begin putting it all together. Just as an in-ground bamboo screen or hedge must be spaced appropriately, you must also determine how far to space your container bamboos.

For most, a good rule of thumb is to follow the guidelines for in-ground spacing. However, due to the fact that bamboo in containers does not grow as large as potted bamboo, you may wish to take the in-ground spacing guidelines for your bamboo and divide them by half. So, bamboo that should be planted 6 feet apart in the ground would only require about 3-4 foot spacing.

Maintenance

Maintaining a potted bamboo hedge or screen actually requires very little work once the plants have initially been set up. By providing a yearly, slow-release, high nitrogen fertilizer, you can ensure that your bamboo plants are receiving a steady diet of nutrients. In addition, for at least the first year, you should irrigate or ensure that your bamboo plants are receiving plenty of water. After about 3-4 years, you should take each bamboo plant and divide them, in order to ensure that they have ample room to grow.

Potted bamboo hedges and screens are a great choice for those who have tight spaces or simply would prefer not to make any permanent changes to the landscape.

Get A Free Consultation For Your Bamboo Project Today! Call (855) 476 – 9420

photo credit: BAMBOOLICIOUS via photopin (license)

How to grow bamboo in a container

Bamboos look beautiful in pots and containers. They’re great for using as part of Japanese themed gardens or just for adding structure and movement to planter displays. The combination of shapes, textures and colours that can be combined with bamboo is limitless and because the container acts as a barrier you won’t need to worry about them taking over your garden. Container growing also allows your bamboo to be moved around to optimise the light conditions or pop it out of view should it start to struggle. Bamboos are tall and narrow, making them ideal for balconies and patios where space is at a premium, although they will require a little more care and attention than their counterparts grown in the border.

Choosing a container

  • Choose a strong, sturdy container that will act as an impenetrable barrier for the bamboos roots. The roots of running bamboos in particular can break through almost anything so a metal or a robust wooden planter is really the only option for running varieties. Plastic pots are definitely out of the question.
  • A container that drains well is also essential. If you have something that is otherwise ideal, drill drainage holes into the base. You’ll want to position your container on top of pot feet once planted up to ensure the bottom of the roots don’t lie wet. Choose glazed clay over terracotta pots if possible.
  • It’s also important to avoid unstable and top heavy containers that are liable to topple over. This is particularly important if you’re opting for a taller growing variety that may catch the wind. Choose something that’s relatively low and stable – low rectangular tubs are a good choice. Pots with a neck narrower than the body are not suitable as this will prevent you from removing the pot bound root ball without breaking the pot when your plant needs to be lifted and divided in a few years’ time.
  • If you’re growing a variety that isn’t fully hardy try to pick a container with a bit of insulation for the root system, for example something with good, thick wooden sides.

Location, Location, Location

  • Once you’ve container is ready, move it to the spot in the garden where you want your bamboo to live before you start potting up (this will save you having to move a far heavier container once planted).
  • Look to position your bamboo somewhere where it will get some protection from cold, drying winds to prevent the leaves from getting scorched. Most varieties also like some sun and typically the more sun they get, the better the colour of the bamboo stems.
  • Place your container or planter on pot feet (or bricks if the weight requires) before you start planting up.

Planting Up

1) Start by putting 2-3 inches of rocks or gravel at the base of your container to improve drainage and make it more bottom heavy to prevent your plant from blowing over. Then start filling your container with the potting compost.

2) We recommend using either a 50/50 mix of multi-purpose peat-free potting compost and soil improver or multi-purpose compost on its own with plenty of slow release fertiliser granules and water retaining gel built in. This will help give your bamboo plants the extra nutrients they need to succeed as well as improving water retention.

3) Take your bamboo plant out of the pot and inspect the roots. Bamboo normally has a dense root system that should be loosened before planting. Get your thumb into the base if you can and tease the roots out to help stimulate fresh root growth once planted.

4) Give the rootball a good soaking before planting, ideally dunking it in a large bucket of water for 20 minutes so the water seeps right into the centre of the rootball.

5) When you’re ready, put your plant into the container setting the depth so that 2-3cm (1 inch) of soil will cover the original surface. Backfill with the rest of your potting mix and firm down to eliminate air pockets.

6) Mulch with a 2 inch (5cm) layer of bark around the base to aid water retention.

Watering and Feeding

  • Bamboo plants grown in containers should be watered regularly as the restricted root space will mean they dry out more quickly.
  • Water every other day in the height of the summer, reducing the frequency in the autumn, and apply a balanced liquid feed once a month over the summer.
  • Don’t be surprised if container grown plants grow shorter with narrower canes that the same varieties in the border. The size of the canes is supported by the size of the rootball and because the growing area of the roots is limited in a container, the growth potential of the canes is also limited.

Frost Protection

  • Any given variety of bamboo will be less hardy when grown in a container than it would be in the border due to the stress of the constrained growing environment. Container grown bamboo also does not have the insulating effect of the soil surrounding the roots during the winter, making it naturally more exposed.
  • Protect the canes and roots from frost and ice in winter by wrapping a few layers of horticultural fleece, bubble wrap or burlap loosely around the container and canes when frost is forecast. Alternatively, bring your plants indoors until the risk of frost has passed.

Repotting

  • As with any plant, bamboos grown in containers eventually become pot bound and need to be lifted, divided and repotted. You’ll need to do this every 2 to 5 years in spring, before the main growing season. If you lift and divide in the summer you’re at risk of killing your plants – so wait until the autumn if the following spring seems too far away.
  • If bamboos stay pot bound for too long they will inevitably suffer as there are less and less nutrients available to support a growing plant. If you notice the leaves becoming brown and foliage cover becoming less dense, it’s probably time to re-pot and give your plants a boost with some fresh compost.
  • Water your plants well the night before you plan to lift and divide to minimise transplant shock.

  • When you’re ready to lift and divide, gently ease the plant out of its container being careful not to damage the root system in the process.
  • Shake any excess soil from the root ball and rinse with water to reveal the root system.
  • Inspect for natural points of division. We usually recommend splitting containerised rhizomes into two or three pieces, looking to remove any dead, damaged or rotting parts of the root system in the process.
  • If you prefer to dispose of the extra rhizome sections, allow them to dry out and die before discarding in the compost pile, otherwise they may set root in the nutrient-rich environment of your compost heap.
  • You can choose to plant the extra rhizome sections in another container or out into a garden border. If container growing, use fresh general purpose compost mixed with water retaining gel and multi-purpose fertiliser granules.

Growing Bamboo Plants in Pots

Growing Clumping Bamboo in a pot or container is possible so long as the correct species is selected, and special care is provided. While they are easier to keep looking good if grown in part shade, it is possible to have healthy looking potted bamboo plants growing in the full sun. The best bamboo for pot growing are the smaller varieties.

Pot choices

Because bamboo is tall, it becomes susceptible to being blown over by winds if grown in a pot. Growing bamboo in a solid low profile pot with a squared off base will assist with stability. If the pot is deep enough, the addition of rocks or gravel in the bottom will add weight, assisting with keeping it upright.

Like most plants grown in pots, bamboo will be affected by high temperatures and strong winds. As the bamboo doesn’t have access to ground water they will dry out quicker under these conditions. Avoid using thin walled plastic pots. The use of a thick walled, concrete, timber or clay pot will protect the soil and roots, reducing the overall stress on the bamboo plant.

Potting Soil

Ensure that a quality, well draining potting soil is chosen. Premium soils developed specifically for growing plants in pots will include ingredients that will assist with water retention, and sustain plant nutrients.

Nutrients

Bamboo is most hungry during the hot months, when they are producing new stems. As they won’t have access to the nutrients in the ground, it is important to feed the bamboo during this period. As bamboo is a grass, it loves nitrogen, so choose a product that is high in this element (10 percent or more). To reduce the amount of time spent feeding the bamboo, the choice of a controlled release fertaliser for growing bamboo in pots is advisable. Choose one that has at least 6 to 8 months longevity. Apply, as per the directions, at the start of spring each year.

Watering

Bamboo looks the best if the soil in the pot remains moist. Regular watering is essential to maintain a healthy plant, especially during the hot months. During this time the plant may require a heavy watering every day. The addition of a thick layer of mulch will assist greatly in preventing the soil from drying out. During the cold months, bamboo goes into a relative dormancy, which means that they won’t require any where as much water.

Maintenance of potted bamboo

To keep the bamboo plant looking fresh in their pots, the older stems can be cut away at the base and removed. This will also put less demand on the plant as it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep each stem healthy and can assign energy towards growing new shoots. Even the more delicate bamboo varieties will eventually fill out their containers. This will take years, but it may need to be removed from its pot and either re-potted or divided to create a smaller plant.

*Image supplied by The Danger Garden – http://www.thedangergarden.com/2012/04/bamboo-for-privacy-follow-up.html

Growing Bamboo In Pots: Can Bamboo Be Grown In Containers

Bamboo gets a bad rap. Famous for spreading rapidly through underground rhizomes, it’s a plant that a lot of gardeners deem not worth the trouble. And while some varieties of bamboo can take over if not kept in check, there’s one surefire way to prevent those rhizomes from getting all over your yard: growing bamboo in pots. Keep reading to learn more about container grown bamboo and caring for bamboo in pots.

Growing Bamboo in Containers

Bamboo varieties can be split into two main categories: running and clumping. It’s the running ones that spread all over garden if you let them, while clumping varieties stay put and expand at a slow and respectable rate.

Growing bamboo in pots is possible for both varieties, though there will be a difference in how quickly you have to repot them. Bamboo grows a lot, even the clumping kind, and leaving it in the same pot for too long will make it become root bound and weak, eventually killing it.

Since running bamboo puts out so many runners, it’s likely to become root bound much faster. Part of caring for bamboo in pots is making sure it has ample room for its roots. Ten gallons is the smallest reasonable container size, and bigger is always better. Big 25- to 30-gallon wine barrels are ideal.

If your container grown bamboo is in a smaller pot, you’ll have to either transplant it or divide it every few years to keep it healthy. Bamboo can be transplanted at any time of year, but division should take place in the autumn or winter.

How to Care for Bamboo in Containers

Other than root space, caring for bamboo in pots is easy. Bamboo needs plenty of water and good drainage.

In the winter, the roots are at risk of cold. Protect them by wrapping the pot in burlap or mulching heavily.

If you have especially cold winters, it might be safest and easiest to bring your container grown bamboo indoors. Keep the plants at 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit (4-10 C.) and give them plenty of light until outdoor temperatures rise again.

Bamboo Plants for Screening and Hedging

Bamboo is the perfect choice for a fast growing hedge as they are very dense and bushy. Many people think that bamboo hedges are hard to maintain. The bamboos that we use for hedging are all non-invasive clumping type. This means that your screening does not spread out under ground but stays growing in the same spot, so your hedge does not affect the neighbours or the rest of your yard but keeps you private. These Non-invasive clumping bamboo hedges come in all size and can be grown to suit your situation.

Bambusa Textilis Gracilis is the best of bamboos for hedges and bamboo screening

Bamboo Gracilis is the most popular garden/fence screening or hedging plant.

Bamboo Gracilis is the most popular and best screening or bamboo hedge plant. If the Gracilis is a clone of another gracilis plant and not grown from seed the plant will grow almost identical to the cloned plant. Beware when buying bamboo hedging from seed stock since the bamboo screening plant may grow significantly different to the plant that you expect. We sell all our bamboo hedges as clones so you get what you expect. Be informed when buying bamboos.

to understand till what size they can grow.

Bambusa Nana for bamboo hedging and screening.

A selection of Bamboos for hedging and screening

Bamboo screens in pots

The right Bamboos in large pots is a good mobile screen for you deck or around your swimming pool, move them to where you need them. Bambusa ventricosa Budda Belly, Bambusa ventricosa Kimie yellow Buddy Belly and Bambusa vulgaris wamin Buddy Belly are the best Bamboos to grow in pots. Other species will also grow in pots, but will need a lot of care. Please view my FAQs pages for tips on caring for your bamboos in pots.

Enjoy your bamboo hedge.

Privacy Plants for Balconies

Do you have a balcony you don’t use because it’s overlooked? Perhaps you feel too exposed or uncomfortable to relax on your balcony, and this lack of privacy is why you never venture out! The right plants can transform an under-used and over-exposed balcony, sheltering it from the elements as well as from prying eyes.

Plants act as green screens, windbreaks or give shade and shelter. As well, they soften a harsh space and make it seem restful and safe. Plants can also look good from inside looking out.

Clockwise from top left: Coprosma Pacific Sunset, Rhaphiolepis Indica, Frangipani.

Choosing your pot

The main thing to remember when setting up privacy plants on a balcony is that they must be planted in large, sturdy containers that won’t tip over or blow away. Privacy plants need to be lush and bushy to be effective, which means they can blow over. To grow and keep healthy and leafy they need plenty of space to form a strong root system and enough potting mix around their roots to hold plenty of water and so avoid constant drying out. If a plant does dry out rapidly or blows over, re-pot it into a larger container. If a climbing plant is being used to cover a trellis for privacy, it too needs to be in as large a container as possible to support its growth.

As a general guide, select round pots that are at least 40-60cm across or rectangular planters that are 1-2m long for privacy plantings. For best growth plant just one plant per container for a round pot or several plants can grow well in a long rectangular planter. A large pot also adds extra height to even a compact plant meaning that privacy can be achieved quite easily by nesting a chair beside a potted plant.

Clockwise from top left: Japanese Box, Spartan Juniper, Lilly Pilly ‘Hinterland Gold’, Camellia Sasanqua ‘Setsugeka’.

External elements

Next assess the light levels. Plants that are labelled as needing full sun grow best on a balcony that’s north facing with at least six hours of sunlight per day (preferably from the morning to early or mid afternoon). If the balcony gets little direct light look for shade-loving or indoor plants. The toughest situation is a west-facing balcony as these plants only get late afternoon sun. Succulents including frangipani work well in these exposed situations. You could also grow a shade-loving climbing plant on the sheltered side of a screen.

Finally consider how windy the balcony is. Plants with large leaves become tattered if constantly exposed to wind. Lush or soft foliage also gets burnt or dried out. A plant with a single stem or trunk could also be easily damaged. Multi-branched, small-leafed shrubs are the best choices on a windy balcony. Select plants such as Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica) or coprosma (Coprosma ‘Pacific Sunrise’ or C. ‘Pacific Sunset’). These plants also tolerate part shade.

Clockwise from left: Mandevilla, Goldfish Plant and Grape Ivy ‘Ellen Danica’.

Plant choices

The fastest way to get privacy is to invest in advanced evergreen plants in large containers. Dense evergreens such as lilly pillies and conifers such as ‘Spartan’ juniper work well for year-round privacy and can be grown successfully in a large container. Also suited to tall evergreen screening on a balcony are sasanqua camellias, Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica), Japanese box (Buxus microphylla) and any of the coprosmas.

For a fast effect in a narrow space, use a clumping bamboo. Bamboo works well where there’s only room for a narrow planting. To keep bamboo leafy and growing it must be well watered. For a lower screen (under 1m high) but one that’s totally drought proof in sun or shade, try mother in law’s tongue (Sanseviera trifasciata), which can be grown in a trough.

Clockwise from top: Bamboo used for screening, Chinese Star Jasmine and Mother-in-law’s Tongue.

A trellis covered with an evergreen climber is also useful for screening when only a narrow planting space is available. The trellis can be traditional lattice, wire or cut metal. To add greenery, plant star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) or white mandevilla (Mandevilla ‘White Fantasy’) to twine up the screen. Both plants need sun for at least part of the day and grow best in a large container that can support their growth. In a shaded spot grow the goldfish plant (Columnea x banksia), which has small orange flowers and glossy green leaves. Grape ivy (Cissus antarctica) is another low-light climber to select for a shaded balcony.

While hedge or screen plantings create a privacy barrier, large, leafy plants give shelter that’s more akin to sitting under an umbrella. Palms work well used in this way as they can bring height as well as lushness to an outdoor space, provided it’s sheltered from strong winds. Any palm that’s suited to use indoors in a container will work well on a balcony especially golden cane palm (Dypsis lutescens) and rhapis palm (Rhapis excelsa) which are both clumping palms. To gain privacy, simply plant the palm in a large container. If space permits, use two or more potted palms to create a tiny tropical oasis.

Golden Cane and Rhapis Palms make excellent privacy and shade plants for balconies.

How To Buy Bamboo Plants

The best place to start looking for your new Bamboo plants for sale is online where you will find lots of growers and information. Just visit your favourite search engine (we prefer to use Google.com) and type in exactly what you are after, e.g. “buy screening Bamboo plants” or “buy Timor Black Bamboo plants” etc. You will find a lot of websites returned in the search results to choose from. Of course, we would prefer you to go directly to our site at www.bamboos.com.au where we can provide you the best in Bamboo plants and prices. I note that people who do a lot of research first on various Bamboo websites are less inclined to haggle over price as they have seen what others are paying and are happy to pay our prices.

The next thing to do is find and review any comments people have made about various growers, plants and service. Unfortunately, some people have had negative experiences when buying Bamboo plants online, so it is a good idea to look for positive references and to see how long the business has been operating.

Once you are happy that you are in the right place, you can request a quote for the plants you are interested in. When doing this you will need to give plant species, pot/bag size e.g. 300mm pots and a delivery address so we can get an exact freight quote for plants to be delivered to the job. We have trucks leaving two or three times per week and most deliveries can be made within a day or two. If you are in Brisbane, we can usually get plants to you overnight and for much less freight costs than you would expect. If you are able to pick up from a transport company depot, the freight will be greatly reduced again.

For example, one full pallet of Bamboo plants in 200mm pots (that is about 75 plants) will cost you just over $80.00 if you pick up at the transport depot compared to about $140 if delivered to your door. These prices are from our nursery to Brisbane. Prices for delivery to Sydney and Melbourne will be more expensive, but still great value.

You will find that when dealing with a wholesale Bamboo nursery, minimum quantity orders will apply as freight is simply not viable for a small number of plants.

The wholesale Bamboo nursery will use only specialized freight companies and plants will be treated with wetting agents and given a thorough watering before loading onto transport so you can be assured of your quality Bamboo plants arriving safely at your door. This is especially so when the wholesale nursery export bamboo plants to overseas customers to meet the strict export quarantine requirements.

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