Large Bamboo Division: Learn When To Split Potted Bamboo Plants

By: Raffaele Di Lallo, Author and founder of Ohio Tropics houseplant care blog

Bamboo plants are wonderful plants to grow in pots. Many varieties are invasive when planted in the ground, so growing them in pots is a great solution, but they will grow pretty quickly and can be a challenge to repot.

How to Divide Large Potted Bamboo

Let’s go over how to repot bamboo. Be sure to have the following tools available before you start: a knife, pruning saw, good pair of scissors or pruning shears and one or more new pots. 

Large bamboo division can be awkward and difficult if done alone, so you may want to have a friend help you out too.

If your potted bamboo needs splitting, here is what you can do:

  • First of all, how do you know when to split potted bamboo? Getting the timing correct is important. The best time timeframe for dividing potted bamboo and repotting is late winter.  You’ll want to avoid the active growing season, spring and summer, when you can disturb the root ball too much. 
  • Give your potted bamboo a good watering to hydrate the root ball. Next, you’ll want to run a knife around the perimeter of the pot in order to help loosen the root ball. Bamboo plants have very vigorous, dense root systems so this step is important!
  • Then tip the pot over gently, with the help of a friend, if needed, and remove the plant from the pot. If the bottom of the root ball has thick matted roots, cut off the bottom inch (2.5 cm.) or so with a pruning saw. 
  • Next, return the plant to an upright position and use the pruning saw to divide the root ball into two or more pieces. Simply saw right through the root ball into as many divisions as you’d like. As you are doing this, you may want to test if the division can be teased away from the main root ball using your hands. Otherwise, keep sawing until each division breaks loose.
  • For each division, be sure to remove any dead, rotten, or severely damaged roots. Remove any soil that is loose. Repot each of the divisions into their new pots. Be sure to give the divisions a good watering and monitor carefully until they become more established. 
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