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by Phil Davidson, co-owner of Jade Mountain Bamboo

Virtually any species of bamboo can be grown indoors; however, there are some species better adapted that others.

Bamboo needs a lot of light and this is reduced indoors, even in the brightest rooms. Thus, the most suitable bamboos are those which grow well in semi-shade. They are: Bambusa multiplex and its many cultivars such as ’Alphonse Karr’, ’Fernleaf’, ’Golden Goddess’, and ’Riviereorum’ (Chinese Goddess).

Other bamboo that grow equally well are Pseudosasa japonica (Japanese Arrow Bamboo), Fargesia nitida, murieliae, adpressa, dracocephala and others of the genus. Indocalamus tesselatus and latifolius along with the genus Hibanobambusa and most species of Phyllostachys do very well at a sunny window while indoors.

Do not worry if your bamboo ‘cleans’ itself by dropping many of its leaves, frequently, over a long period of time. The amount of light available inside cannot compare with conditions in the open with even semi-shade loving species requiring a lot of light when grown indoors.

Plants require light in order to synthesize food and are very sensitive and react accordingly, especially bamboos. Therefore, always site a bamboo in the brightest part of the room. Their leaves will not burn even at sunny south-facing windows, although true shade loving species such as the Fargesia genus will sometimes do better in an east-facing window. If a bamboo is growing very close to the window it tends to grow its leaves towards the glass to maximize the light and this can spoil its appearance. By rotating the plant weekly at a 45° angle will give it an even growth rate.

Frequent misting and setting the bamboo on a bed of pea gravel to provide needed humidity greatly enhance the well being and appearance of the bamboo while indoors. During warm weather and periods when the temperature is above 45° degrees, placing the bamboos outside and giving them morning sun and afternoon shade will aid in refreshing themselves.


If bamboos get too dry while being maintained indoors, and especially if the air is too dry, they can be attacked by red spider mites, aphids and insects. These can be controlled by using standard house plant remedies. Red spider-mite attack when it is not only too dry but also too warm, and spreads,especially, quickly in centrally heated rooms.

The mites are difficult to spot with the naked eye, but the damage they cause is obvious: the leaves go pale, then yellow and finally dry up. Spray the plants (outside) at two-week intervals with a miticide such as Isotox® or similar product to break the life cycle of the pests.