Beautiful bamboo is a feast for the eye. Dashed in shades of the brightest green, quick to grow, and famed for its eco-friendly and sustainable style in the world of fashion, it’s no surprise that this wonder plant is starting to pop up everywhere. The bamboo plant is known for being a symbol of good luck and glorious energy and even if you have yet to be blessed with a green thumb, bamboo can still bring good vibes into your home. We take a closer look at bamboo and break down exactly why this wonder plant is such a dream. From how it's grown to what its used for and its natural impact on the earth, let us introduce you to bamboo.
What Is Bamboo?
Tall thick stalks being munched on by black and white pandas - this is usually the image that flashes through the mind when you thunk of bamboo. But bamboo actually comes in a huge array of varieties and is also used for a wide range of things - from medicine to textiles. Bamboo is most often found in tropical climates and is actually a kind of grass. It is considered to be the fastest-growing plant in the world and new shoots can reach their full height in just a couple of months. It’s also a super hardy plant meaning that beyond the basic needs for light, water, and preferred temperatures - it is a tricky plant to kill. Thanks to its quick growth and undemanding nature, bamboo is considered to be one of the most eco-friendly plants out there that can help with deforestation.
Types of Bamboo
There are over a thousand different species of bamboo types out there - from thick and tall shooting stalks to clumps and pretty little plants and more wispy ornamental grass-like varieties, and lush and bushy versions, there are different types of bamboo to suit all kinds of tastes. Here are a few examples of different types of bamboo you can find…
Giant Timber Bamboo
Soaring canopies and thick sturdy stems make giant tinder bamboo an excellent choice for construction. You will often see giant timber bamboo in Japan and in the right conditions it can reach up to a staggering 70 feet. Giant timber bamboo can also be a good choice for those who want to use it to create privacy in their gardens as it grows tightly together making something like a natural fence. It is also low maintenance requiring only moderate sunlight and water to thrive.
Black bamboo has a long history of being used for medicine. This version of bamboo is hardy with jet black stalks and can be a slower grower in comparison to other kinds of bamboo. It’s a visually intriguing plant but does require a little more care than some of the other species. The green leaves of the black bamboo plant brim with antioxidants and are said to be good for targeting free radicals and clearing up skin conditions.
Buddha Belly Bamboo
With its fun name and charming appearance, Buddha Belly Bamboo is known for its bulging nodes on its canes and its heavy dark green lush leaves. This type of bamboo likes to make its home in a pot and has many great uses. It can be used for crafting a short hedge and its fibers are also good for making paper or even prepping a tasty snack.
Painted bamboo is one of the most commonly seen and popular kinds of bamboo out there. Vibrant green, naturally striped, and with golden culms, bamboo lovers can’t get enough of this bright and able plant. The greens and golds bring color to any space and as it grows quick and sprawling it can easily take over a space making it great for gardens and privacy screens.
How Is Bamboo Grown?
Bamboo is one of the most efficient plants on earth and grows at a supersonic rate. The Guinness World Records say that some species can even grow 1.5 inches in a single hour. Another benefit of bamboo is the fact that it also grows easily and doesn’t need a lot of effort or external help in the way of fertilizers or pesticides as there are no natural pests for this plant. This is another big contributing factor as to why it’s seen as a sustainable plant.
Bamboo is a colony plant - it will throw all its efforts into its roots and then in the spring its shoots will start to climb. For 60 days, the canes grow fat and tall before that energy is redirected back to the roots. Bamboo also requires less water than other plants and as it is technically grass with a shallow root system, it can also help hold the soil together.
Bamboo is mostly grown in more tropical and temperate climates. It can be found in Asia and South America most commonly, but it can also be found in some other warm climates across Africa and even Australia. Some species of bamboo can be found around Texas and Florida in the USA.
Indoor Bamboo Plants
While bamboo is known for running riot in terms of size, there are certain species that you can grow inside and in a pot. As bamboo is hardy and requires very little attention once established, it can be a good option for gardeners who aren’t so invested in their green thumb but want the pleasure of bringing plant life into their space. Golden bamboo is one such style of bamboo that can be grown indoors. It likes full sun and partial shade so keep it by the best window you have and turn it periodically. Bamboo also likes moist soil although it can also handle a touch of drought so don’t overwater as this can cause the roots to rot. Golden bamboo can also handle chillier temperatures for a short amount of time.
Another option for bringing a similar style plant to bamboo into your home is to look to the lucky bamboo plant. With its gorgeous green swirls, tumbling small green leaves, and its ability to be trained to swirl or grow straight, Lucky Bamboo shares many qualities with bamboo but is actually a different plant. It takes its name as these little green fellas are considered to bring good luck and joy to the home. One of the best things about Lucky Bamboo? It’s near impossible to kill. It prefers bright light without being placed directly in the glaring sun. It also likes moist soil or even stands well in an inch of water in a vase and while it likes warmer temperatures, it can do well in any kind of set-up. The most important element is making sure it has good quality water and when cared for it, it can grow up to 3 feet.
What Is Bamboo Used For?
Bamboo is a clever plant and has been around for centuries. Across the world, its quick-growing strength and supple energy is utilized for a whole host of things. While this has been the case in Asia for hundreds of years, using bamboo to its fullest extent didn’t make it across to the western world until recently in some cases.
The juice from young bamboo plants is used to make medicine for a variety of ailments including asthma, coughs, colds, fevers, and even gallbladder issues too. Bamboo is a traditional ingredient in a lot of ancient Chinese medicine and is also used in Ayurvedic medicine.
It’s a well-known fact that pandas love to chow down on bamboo and can consume between 25-50 lbs. every single day (good thing that bamboo knows how to regrow fast). But it’s not only pandas that can chomp on bamboo, some species are also edible for humans too and are chock full of benefits. Munching bamboo can leader to lower cholesterol, improve your digestion, and give your immune system a much-needed boost.
While turning bamboo into clothes has only been around recently, it’s already making a big splash when it comes to the textile industry. Known for being a better and more eco-friendly solution than many other materials, bamboo is also as soft as silk against the skin, moisture-wicking, thermal regulating, and hugely durable. All of these reasons make it a great choice for clothing.
Over a billion people across the world live in houses constructed from bamboo and it is commonly used as a building material and even inroads. Because bamboo is such a strong fiber, it is said to have twice the compressive weight of cement and strength that is considered closer to steel.
Bamboo is also used to make paper as it has a long fiber which is important when making writing materials. As it’s also recyclable, it’s considered to be a more eco-friendly choice than regular paper as it doesn’t contribute to deforestation because of the fact that bamboo grows so quickly and effortlessly.
The Environmental Impact of the Bamboo Plant
When it comes to environmental impact, this is when bamboo thrives. The fact that it is fast-growing and regenerative means that it doesn’t rely on replanting. It also doesn’t require the use of pesticides or fertilizers and gives a lot back for very little. Here’s why bamboo is an environmentally friendly plant.
- It grows super fast
- Cutting it can actually stimulate more growth making it a renewable resource
- It absorbs a huge amount of C02
- It helps to filter water
- It consumes a lot less water than cotton and other plants
- It holds the soil together
- It has a low carbon footprint
- It is the only known food source for pandas who are an endangered species
As you can see when it comes to environmental impact, bamboo is a bright and dazzling plant. It is worth remembering that some bamboo production projects (such as the textile industry, etc) can use chemicals and this can have a different and more opaque environmental impact.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Bamboo
There are many amazing benefits of growing and utilizing bamboo. From looking at bamboo production on both a grand scale and a small scale, here are some pros and cons that come with the world of bamboo…
- It is easily and organically grown
- It produces more oxygen than an equivalent amount of trees
- It absorbs more C02
- It is pest-resistant
- It prevents soil erosion and improves soil health
- It can be highly invasive
- It can be tricky to get rid of once established
- It can promote deforestation as it’s very popular
- It is usually planted as part of a monoculture
Bamboo Plant FAQ - Growing Tips & More
How do I care for a bamboo plant?
Make sure your bamboo is in a good clean container. Also make sure it has plenty of light, good moist potting soil, proper drainage and isn’t too cold - you should have an ideal set-up for growing bamboo.
Is bamboo a good indoor plant?
While bamboo can often work better outside where it has the space to thrive, some species can be grown indoors. It can make for a good indoor plant as it doesn’t require too much TLC. Once established bamboo can thrive.
How much sun does a bamboo plant need?
Bamboo does like the sun and it prefers to sit in sunny spots or partial shade although direct sunlight may be a little too intense for it. Ideally, bamboo likes around six hours of sunlight a day. It can tolerate low light conditions but this will impact the speed of its growth.
What is the difference between a bamboo tree and a bamboo plant?
Bamboo isn’t actually a tree - it’s grass. But its thick wood stem and its ability to climb high and create a canopy definitely make it seem more tree than grass.
What is the average height of a bamboo plant?
Bamboo will range in height depending on the type of bamboo you are dealing with. There are other a thousand different species of bamboo out there. However, bamboo is quick growing which means it often grows to around 3-30 meters under the right conditions - again depending on the species you are dealing with.
What is the best way to water a bamboo plant?
Bamboo likes good moist soil that isn’t oversaturated. The best way to water your bamboo is to check the soil every couple of days and stick your finger in until you reach the knuckle to see how dry it is. If dry, top up with a little water or keep your plants misted. Make sure that your bamboo plant has plenty of drainage.
What are the benefits of having a bamboo plant in my home?
Bamboo is a beautiful plant to bring into the home. Not only is it associated with good luck and full of Feng Shui benefits, but it also has air-cleansing properties and can help purify your environment. Easy to grow, lush to look at, and representing luck and good fortune, long life, and wealth - welcoming bamboo as a houseplant is always a bonus.
Invest in Bamboo
There’s a lot to love about the wonder plant that is bamboo. Not only is it a great plant for the world to invest in but bamboo products also bring plenty of sustainable and eco-friendly benefits too. From bamboo clothing that is soft against the skin to bamboo paper and building materials, this sustainable resource gives back so much more than it takes. Check out our beautiful bamboo collection today and treat yourself to something special without stepping on the health and wellbeing of the planet.