Since bamboo only sets seed once in it’s lifetime, the only way to get a new bamboo plant is to use some method of cloning. Using the culm cutting method to create a new bamboo is just one of many cloning techniques, however, it does not work for all types of bamboo. And while it will work for many types of tropical clumping bamboos, it will not work for any of the running bamboos. In the past, I have successfully used this method to make dozens of new bamboo plants, and I will outline the basics methods in the steps below.
- The cutting preferably should be from a culm that is two years old
- Make the first cut about 1 to 2 inches below the node
- Make the second cut about 1 to 2 inches below the next node
- Trim the majority of the branching off, leaving only one or two at the node
- Fill a pot with sterile soil (I mix perlite and peat moss)
- Push the cutting into the soil at an angle, covering the node (this should have the branches sticking out of the soil)
- Fill the open portion of the culm with water
- Place the pot in a shady spot
- Occasionally refill the exposed culm as well as moistening the soil (mulch helps retain moisture)
- Watch and wait, checking occasionally for new growth. While new growth is a good sign, it does not mean rooting has taken place yet. You can however gently tug on the cutting, and if there is resistance it’s a good sign there is roots.
I know this method works for Bambusa dissimulator, Bambusa oldhammi, Bambusa lako, Bambusa vulgaris, Bambusa vulgaris vitatta and most other Bambusa. However, not all clumping bamboo will take using this method; some work best using whole culm burial or even aerial layering. Time of year that the cuttings are taken may result in higher success rates, so experimentation and good note taking are a must!
The following show new pics of my first attempt at propagating Bambusa eutuldoides viridi-vittata using culm cuttings.
These pics show my successful attempts at propagating Bambusa dissimulator using culm cuttings.