Potting the spoils

Last weekend when I visited the garden of another bamboo grower and helped him in a start to get his Yellow Groove back under control, I mentioned that I was able to bring home several bamboo rhizomes and a few other plant divisions: the spoils of my bamboo rhizome conquest.


Although the rhizomes and divisions spent a couple of rainy days in the back of my truck (no worry about them drying out!), I did finally get a chance to pot them up.

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There wasn't much involved here, but if you haven't had much experience with bamboo rhizomes, here's what I do. First, I look for evidence of shoots on the rhizome:


This tells me that the rhizome section is primed to produce a new culm or two -- they may not be large culms, but the sooner the rhizome can produce some leaves the sooner it can start growing more rhizomes, and more rhizome mass means bigger, taller shoots next year, and more of them.

The second thing I look for are the fine feeder roots. I don't want the rhizome to have to produce new culms and new roots, so it should have lots of those small roots (the bigger, thicker roots are anchor roots -- I don't think they contribute much or at all to water and nutrient intake).

Third, I want the rhizome section to be as long as possible. Ideally I'd like to be able to coil it around in the pot at least once:


These can be tricky to bend, but if you go slowly you'll get it in there. Sometimes I have a piece that's too short to coil -- with those I typically need to cut a bit off one or both ends in order to make it fit into the pot. (Although sometimes I end up with a strangely distorted pot because of the rhizome crammed in there.)


I had to use a potting soil that was a little heavier than I typically want to use, but I haven't yet gotten all of the supplies that I normally have on hand. Bamboo is quite tolerant of heavy soils though, so I'm not concerned. Because these pots will warm up faster than the ground especially on a sunny day, I expect them to start shooting quite soon -- it's exciting watching every day for signs of the shoots poking through the soil surface!

I got a couple of other plants (not bamboo) while I was there. A lamb's ear that Ted described as "having larger leaves":


Perhaps I'll be able to ID this later in the season. I have a "generic" lamb's ear already, so it will be nice to compare them.

I also got some Feverfew, which Ted described as "nice but it reseeds":


I already have other plants that self-sow (blue globe thistle and Agastache foeniculum for example) so this isn't a big concern. I like trying new plants each year too.


I really enjoy potting plants up in spring, especially early spring like this -- thank you continuing mild weather!


The only negative: a soil-caked driveway. I trampled all over the dropped potting soil, and it doesn't sweep up. Didn't I just get the driveway cleaned up for the winter?

Seed starting and rhizome potting -- it's spring as far as I'm concerned!

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Gerhard Bock  – (March 18, 2012 at 10:54 AM)  

Can't to wait see your new bamboos shoot! The only shoots I've seen in my yard is Chinese walking stick.

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