Bamboo Fertilizer Guide: What Type, How Much, & When

  • By: SFUAA
  • Date: December 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Fertilizing is an important part of taking care of bamboo, and it can be a tricky process if you don’t have the right information.

In this post, we will provide you with the information you need to ensure your bamboo looks lush and healthy all year long. We’ll start by outlining what kind of fertilizer bamboo needs, as well as how often and when you should fertilize. We’ll also cover the different types of fertilizers that can be used and how to properly apply them. Finally, we’ll provide you with some tips and tricks for successful fertilizing.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned bamboo gardener, this guid will provide you the information you need to successfully grow bamboo.

Types of fertilizer to use

One of the most important aspects of properly fertilizing bamboo is selecting the right type of fertilizer. Different species of bamboo have different nutritional needs and you’ll want to select the appropriate fertilizer for your plant.

Generally, you should use either a standard 10-10-10 fertilizer, or a high-nitrogen fertilizer such as a 15-5-10. If you’re unsure which type of fertilizer to use, the best thing to do is to consult your local nursery or garden center for advice.

Normal, fast release fertilizer is an excellent choice to provide bamboo the nitrogen it needs at the start of the growing season.

The use of slow release fertilizer for bamboo is advantageous when environmental conditions are not conducive to rapid growth. Slow release fertilizer is ideal for use in areas that are subject to drought or extreme temperatures. It is also beneficial when the soil is deficient in nutrients.

Slow release fertilizer can be applied once or twice per year and will provide a steady, sustained release of nutrients to the plant over a long period of time. It typically contains a combination of essential macro and micronutrients, allowing for a balanced nutrition profile.

This makes it perfect to keep your bamboo plants properly fed over the course of the year.

When using slow release fertilizer for bamboo, it is important to pay attention to the application rates and instructions to ensure optimal results. This type of fertilizer can be beneficial for long-term growth and health of the bamboo plants.

Amount of fertilizer to use

When it comes to using the right amount of fertilizer, it’s important to pay attention to the type of fertilizer you’re using and the size of your bamboo plants.

For newly planted bamboo, I generally mix a few scoops of osmocote into the planting hole at the rate recommended by the bag. This is a slow release fertilizer that generally won’t burn the plant but will make sure it has the nutrients it needs to properly establish itself.

In addition, I like to mix 1-2 cu ft of compost into the soil around the bamboo plant to make sure water can easily penetrate the ground and reach the plant’s roots (in addition to providing more nutrients to the plant).

For mature bamboo plants, you can use a fertilizer with a higher concentration of nitrogen. As a general rule of thumb, one pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per a 100 foot row of bamboo (or equivalent in whatever shape you’ve planted it if not using it as a hedge row) in early spring and again in summer is sufficient.

If you are using a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content (the first number) and a lower phosphorus and potassium content, you’ll need to adjust the amount of fertilizer so you don’t provide more nitrogen than your bamboo needs.

However, it’s best to always read the labels of your fertilizer carefully and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

Frequency of fertilization

Once your bamboo is established, it is important to fertilize it regularly. How often you should fertilize depends on the type of bamboo you have and the growing conditions.

For most types of bamboo, fertilizing in spring before new shoots emerge and then again in summer during the growing season is enough.

During the winter, you should avoid fertilizing your bamboo to avoid new growing being damaged by any frost that may happen in your zone. If your bamboo is growing in poor soil or in a pot, you should fertilize it more often.

When to fertilize

Fertilizing should be done twice a year, once in early spring and once at the start of summer.

During these times, a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 should be applied at a rate of one pound per 100 square feet or a high nitrogen, low phosphorus & potassium fertilizer at a reduced rate.

Before fertilizing, it’s a good idea to test the soil to determine which nutrients are low. Doing so will help you choose the right fertilizer to meet your bamboo’s needs.

Additionally, make sure to water the bamboo thoroughly before and after fertilizing.

How to apply fertilizer

Applying fertilizer to bamboo plants is an important step in ensuring their health and vitality. Start by measuring the amount of fertilizer that is recommended for the type of bamboo you are growing.

Generally, a 10-10-10 combination of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is suitable for most species of bamboo, though you can choose a fertilizer with a lower second and third number because bamboo doesn’t require as much phosphorus or potassium as nitrogen.

When spreading the fertilizer, it is important to keep it away from the base of the plant as this can cause root burn. Spread the fertilizer evenly around the bamboo in a 5 foot radius and water it in lightly.

It is best to fertilize bamboo plants in the spring, and again in early summer.

To ensure an even distribution, mix the fertilizer in with a half-inch layer of soil. This will help to prevent burning and will also help to keep the fertilizer in place.

Applying fertilizer to bamboo plants is an important step in keeping them healthy and vibrant.

Common mistakes when fertilizing

Fertilizing bamboo is an important part of caring for the plant, but it’s easy to make mistakes when you’re just starting out. Here are six common mistakes to avoid:

1. Not understanding the fertilizer’s formula: As a general rule, apply a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and low in phosphorus and potassium, as bamboo plants do not require a large amount of either.

2. Using too much fertilizer: Too much fertilizer can actually be harmful to your bamboo and could cause a nutrient burn.

3. Fertilizing at the wrong time: Fertilizing your plant in fall or early winter can cause it to put out new growth that will be easily damaged by the cold during the winter months.

4. Not using enough water: Bamboo needs plenty of water when fertilizing, so make sure to water it thoroughly before, during, and after fertilizing.

5. Applying fertilizer to dry soil: Dry soil can cause the salts in fertilizer to become too concentrated, so always make sure to water it thoroughly before applying fertilizer.

6. Not using a slow-release fertilizer: Slow-release fertilizers are better for bamboo as they provide nutrients over a longer period of time.

Signs of over-fertilization

It is important to use the appropriate amount of fertilizer when caring for bamboo plants. Over-fertilizing can lead to serious damage to your bamboo, so it’s important to be mindful of the signs of over-fertilization.

These signs include new leaves that have yellow or brown spots, slow or stunted growth, leaf curl, and nutrient burn, which is evidenced by brown or black tips on the leaves.

To avoid over-fertilization, always read and follow the instructions on the fertilizer package.


Fertilizing bamboo is an important step in maintaining healthy bamboo growth. Bamboo requires adequate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to maintain proper growth and health.

Fertilization provides the nutrients needed for healthy growth and lush foliage. When done correctly, it can help your bamboo thrive for years.

It is important to research your particular type of bamboo and use the right type and amount of fertilizer for optimal results. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy your bamboo for many years to come.

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