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Bamboo is a fascinating plant that is growing in popularity every day. It’s known, among other things, for its strength, durability and as a versatile material.

Bamboo, as well as being food for pandas and people alike, can be used as a building material and is also perfect for creating everyday items, such as spoons, cups, cutting boards, toilet paper, razors or clothing. 

Where does bamboo grow?

Bamboo grows primarily in the tropical and subtropical regions on Earth, but it can grow almost anywhere. It occurs naturally on all continents, except Antarctica and Europe.

There are species of bamboo that can endure the most adverse conditions, including temperatures lower than -20°C. Bamboo grows from sea level, all the way up to 4000 metres altitude, in the Andes.

Usually bamboo grows along with other plants in forests, but there are also areas where it’s the all-dominant vegetation. All the bamboo grown for commercial use comes from China.

Is bamboo a tree or a grass?

Bamboo is hard and fibrous and could easily be mistaken for wood, but it is, in fact, a kind of grass and not a tree.

Unlike trees, bamboo plants only grow to a limited height and thickness. They do not have bark and the stems don’t get thicker every year, as tree trunks do.

A bamboo plant grows to its final height during its first year. After that, it can continue for several years to shoot branches with leaves, but it will not get taller or thicker.

bamboo growing

There are 1575 species of bamboo total

How many bamboo species are there?

There are currently 1575 known species of bamboo, both woody ones, that most people associate with bamboo, and the more grass-like, or herbaceous varieties, which are green and look much less like trees.

For the aspiring bamboo plantation owner, there are around 20 species that are of primary commercial interest, although there are up to 100 different species that are commercially grown throughout the world.

How fast does bamboo grow?

Bamboo is in the Guinness World Records for being the fastest growing plant on Earth. How fast-growing? It depends, but there are, in fact, species of bamboo that are able to grow up to 1m per day, under the right circumstances.

Yes, 1m. You read that right.

That growth rate only happens under the right circumstances but, nonetheless, bamboo grows very fast compared to other plants and you can easily count on almost any bamboo plant to grow several centimeters per day during the sprouting season.

This is how to grow bamboo

Bamboo can be grown almost anywhere, in the ground or in pots, depending on the exact species, however, bamboo usually grows best in a moderately acidic loamy soil.

If you want to grow your own bamboo you should start by planting sprouts during spring. If you decide to grow bamboo in your garden you should space the plants well apart, initially and let them grow denser with time.

During the first year, you can expect your bamboo to grow rather short and bushy. During subsequent years, when the plants have settled, you can expect the long, fast growing canes that you would expect

Can you grow bamboo indoors?

Yes, bamboo can be grown indoors and provided that you give it enough water and plenty of sunlight it could fare really well.

Be sure to pick a suitable species, though, because if you are successful you will quickly run out of airspace if your plants grow tall quickly and if you’re not careful the bamboo plants will start poking holes in your ceiling.

bamboo plant

Bamboo plant care

The most important part of bamboo plant care is to make sure that the plants have plenty of room to grow in and enough water.

When growing bamboo indoors you should take care to choose big enough pots for them, but also be prepared to transplant them into bigger pots as they get bigger.

As mentioned, bamboo can grow very quickly under the right circumstances when there’s plenty of nutrients, enough water and an abundance of sunlight available.

Bamboo applications and usage

What can bamboo be used for? It’s almost easier to say what it can’t be used for, but we’ll give you some examples to show you what a versatile material it is.

Bamboo is a well-known building material. We’ve all seen bamboo furniture and know how strong and durable it is as a material, so much so that bamboo is used for scaffolding at high-rise construction sites. You won’t see it in Europe, but in Asia, and especially China, bamboo is a very common material for scaffolding in building projects of all sizes.

In addition to large-scale construction, it’s also a perfect material for making kitchen utensils, cutting boards, cups and other household items like toilet paper.

We love bamboo so much we use it to make: