To get started, the bamboo hydroponics option we will mention is indoor bamboo – a very beginner-friendly option, easy to plant and care for. It is the opposite of regular bamboo that prefers growing outdoors and in soil due to its fast-growing scale.
In this article, we cover the most basic information on growing bamboo hydroponically – in specific:
- Picking a suitable bamboo type
- Knowing what hydroponic systems to get started
- Understand optimal conditions for growing bamboo in water
- How to shape the bamboo creatively?
- How to propagate new bamboo quickly?
How to Select Bamboo Varieties for Hydroponics?
When it comes to a hydroponic farming method, we suggest Lucky Bamboo, Chinese Water Bamboo. Interestingly enough, this bamboo type is a popular Feng Shui belief, bringing the grower luck, prosperity, and positive energy.
This plant is favorable to grow in water to reduce the messy and dirty potting process and appearance. You can also braid and twist the stems when they grow up into desired ornate shapes.
Some varieties of lucky bamboo to consider:
- White Stripe Victory: The bamboo has adorable white stripes around its light-green leaves.
- White Stripe Gold: It almost resembles the White Stripe Victory to a T with a yellow border.
- Green Lucky Bamboo: You can grow this green-leaved bamboo in glass jars decorated with several white pebbles like the above image for enhanced aesthetics.
Most of those bamboo plants are imported from China or Taiwan and can cost hefty hundreds of dollars. Lucky you, they are very resilient and can thrive under minimal maintenance.
In this video, we show you how to propagate and care for lucky bamboos for beginners
What Hydroponics System Works Best for Bamboo?
It does not feature pumps, aerators, and electricity. Instead, you only need a container with the bamboo, a reservoir, long strips, perlite growing media, and nutrient solution.
However, bear in mind that the wick system does not allow plants to obtain nutrients as effectively as other systems. Lucky bamboo does not require many substances, making it an ideal candidate for growing with this method.
- Cheap and easy to build
- Little maintenance required
- Ideal for small plants like lucky bamboo
- Not effective in transmitting nutrients
- Build up in growing media
Deep Water Culture (DWC) Systems
Bamboo’s roots can be put directly into the nutrient solutions rather than separated from the water by growing media like the wick system. An air stone or diffuser is available to send the oxygen into the water.
Bamboo in the DWC system tends to grow faster, thanks to the direct access to oxygen and nutrients. Nonetheless, roots are also exposed to threats of a dirty solution or contemporarily pump failure – if any.
As such, the plant faces drowning and even withering.
- Accessible moving components and assembly
- Direct access to oxygen and nutrients
- Fewer chances of clogs
- Threats of broken pump or dirt
- Possible abundant nutrient concentration
Ebb And Flow Systems
Ebb and Flow is the so-called Flood and Drain system, meaning that there are 2 operation phases taking turns continuously by a timer.
In the Flood phase, the nutrient solution flows into the growing pots and is absorbed by the roots. Then, the water drains back to the “Drain” reservoir.
Compared to the DWC system, the Ebb and Flow system prevents nutrient abundance significantly more effectively, thinking bamboo can survive with fewer nutrients.
Breakdowns are common, though. Any mistake in the timer can cause failures in the pumping process.
- Low cost to build
- Sufficient nutrient supply
- Easy to maintain
- Common breakdowns
- Unstable pH level
Nutrient Film Technique Systems
That lucky bamboo is commonly seen indoors and on the table does not mean that you cannot grow the plant commercially. In this case, you can consider using the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) system.
There is often a thin layer of water underneath the tray, and the bamboo can sit in net cups. The roots grow down slowly to absorb the water running along their bottom.
Be careful to maintain the water solution. Otherwise, roots might dry out and get stressed quickly.
- Modular design
- Good for commercial planting
- Low consumption of water and nutrients
- Pump failure
Ideal Conditions for Bamboo Hydroponics?
If you place the plant in a low bowl, you should spare around one inch all around so that the roots can quickly spread out. Not to mention, the container size needs to be spacious enough to add more water.
If the bamboo varieties grow fast, you can use a glass vase to proportionate to the plant’s height.
Sunlight & Temperature
Bamboo does prefer indirect light. Too much sunshine causes the stems and leaves to be yellow and withering. Fortunately, the plant can still tolerate ample light conditions despite growing more slowly.
We recommend placing the bamboo hydroponic system in certain rooms where you can use a small amount of daylight without overexposing your bamboo.
The optimal temperature is 60℉ to 95℉.
Bamboo does not need much water, and overwatering can even cause rot roots. The key is to monitor the roots and keep the water to three inches so that the roots can be covered when they grow.
Besides the amount of water, its quality is also essential. Bamboo is sensitive to salts and chemicals in tap water. Thus, it is best to use distilled water or rainwater.
Moreover, the plant can survive for a long time with just water. Nonetheless, a small amount of high-nitrogen and slow-release fertilizer helps the lucky bamboo to grow stronger.
The plant prefers more moisture than in the ambient indoor air. You want to avoid bamboo anywhere in front of a heating vent, air conditioner, or a drafty window.
To maintain optimal humidity by placing the lucky bamboo in a glassing spot filled with water and pebbles. This combination creates a moisture micro-environment and aesthetics for the plant.
Otherwise, you can mist the bamboo every couple of days with a gentle fan.
Lucky bamboo, in water, prefers a pH level of 6.1 to 6.5.
Unfortunately, the tap water often features a high pH, leading to water alkaline and causing stress for leaves.
Chlorinated water is the biggest headache. If any, you should keep an eye on black roots and dead leaves and cut them away immediately.
Suppose that algae are growing in the water – mostly when you use a high-collar vase, you must clean it, and moving your bamboo into a new opaque container might be required in some cases.
Another common pest is with the yellow leaves. Too much sunlight or fertilizer might be the cause. At the same time, brown leaves indicate polluted solutions or low humidity situations.
Finally, hydroponic bamboo is also vulnerable to insect problems. It is better to pick off bugs rather than using chemicals manually.
How to Shape and Pruning Hydroponic Bamboo?
Growing bamboo is an art. Not only should you maintain a healthy environment for the plant to grow, but you also need to form the bamboo into specific spiraling shapes.
Here are some recommendations:
- Straight bamboo
- Two-layer bamboo
- Three-layer bamboo
- Eight-layer bamboo
- Lotus bamboo
- Spiral bamboo
- Feng Shui wheel
- Pyramid bamboo
- Braided bamboo
Propagating Hydroponic Bamboo
This section is mainly for those who grow bamboo aquaponics for commercial purposes. You will want to propagate your current bamboo into a clone of parents.
Simply enough, cut sections of the steam in the culm-segment and re-plant them.
- Wait for the lucky bamboo to flair out and have nodes. Usually, it takes around 1.5 years to propagate a new bamboo.
- Cut the plant into segments with two or three nodes. Each is expected to grow into a new plant.
- Use clippers to cut off the foliage.
- Bring it to the soil, having two nodes covered. New growth should happen noticeably within one month.
- Move the new plant into your hydroponic system.
The idea of bamboo hydroponics turns out to be easy to start with the guidance and tips above.
To sum up, the lucky bamboo in a DWC system, Wick System, Ebb and Flow system, or NFT system is suggested. Then, add distilled water and a small amount of fertilizer to grow quickly and healthily.