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Bamboo is becoming increasingly popular in home gardens. The evergreen sweet grasses can even cope with the German winter and can be kept in the garden or in pots without any problems. In order to overwinter bamboo in a bucket, a few things must be observed. Above all, the water requirement of the plant is important so that it does not dry up over the cold days. A dried up root ball over the winter is often the reason for a dying bamboo plant.

winter quarters

The temperature in the winter quarters should ideally be between 3 °C and 7 °C, because cooler temperatures often lead to frost damage in a pot or bucket. The roots must not freeze, which fortunately cannot happen in frost-free locations. The following locations are suitable for this temperature range, as they can help with heating mats or something similar:

  • carport
  • conservatory (unheated)
  • garage
  • barn
  • garden house
  • pavilion

It is essential to avoid the following locations, as the dry air over the winter does not get the plants at all. She would start to grow new shoots and wither too quickly. That is, the culms become soft and even mushy, which is not good for the health of the bamboo plants.

  • heated living quarters
  • heated stairwells

If you want to overwinter the bamboo outdoors, you can do that too. The location is also important here so that the plant does not get too much sun and wind. In a pot or tub, it is more susceptible to weather influences compared to the planted specimen. A place on a sheltered and shady house wall with about four to five hours of sun a day is recommended as a location. If you live in a mild region, you can theoretically place the bamboo anywhere in the garden or on your property, as long as it is not too windy. In cold regions, you should avoid spending the winter outdoors.

tip: if you only have a heated winter garden or unused rooms available as a location, you can also use these as long as there is sufficient ventilation. An exchange of air is necessary so that the bamboo culms do not wither during the winter.

winter protection

After you have chosen a suitable location, you can prepare the winter protection. If you are bringing the bamboo indoors or other enclosed spaces through the winter, you do not need winter protection. Here you just have to be careful that the root ball does not dry up, because that could lead to the death of the plant.

Winter protection can be enabled in two ways:

1. Pack up

Packing the plant is recommended for tubs that are to stand freely. Here you make sure that the pot is prepared accordingly for the winter so that it does not freeze through and the roots dry out. For this variant you need:

  • Styrofoam or a styrofoam box that the bucket will fit in
  • alternatively a box made of Styrodur panels with a thickness of 10 cm
  • Styrofoam or Styrodur filling material if you use a box
  • Bubble wrap or winter protection fleece

Depending on your preference, you can either cover the pot with styrofoam or place it in one of the boxes and fill it to the top with the filling material. If you use a box, you must seal it with foil or a lid, but not the surface of the soil in the planter. Then wrap the entire bamboo in bubble wrap or a winter protection fleece and fasten it with strings so that it does not open during the cold days. You can then place the plant in such a way that it is adequately protected and does not have to suffer from the environmental influences of winter.

Styrofoam chips as filling material

2. Burrow

Burying is a popular way to get bamboo through the winter effectively and easily. This method is particularly suitable for mild winters or areas where the ground does not freeze completely. The space for this should be as follows:

  • shady
  • protected

Now dig a hole in which the entire flower pot fits and the plant can protrude from the ground. Now cover about 30 cm from the plant with straw so that the root ball stays warm. Alternatively, use bales of straw that you simply place around the Bambuseae. Cover the straw with foil and wrap the plant loosely in winter protection fleece. Finally, build a bamboo roller bridle around the plant. This provides additional protection against the cold. A big advantage of this variant: snow acts as additional winter and sun protection due to its density.

tip: protect your bamboo from the winter sun with a so-called shading fabric so that the plant does not die from the sun. Alternatively, you can use a reed mat for this.


Proper watering during the winter is important so that the plant does not dry out in the bucket. Since the bamboo as a potted plant has no connection to water resources or moisture in the soil, you have to do this work. Drought damage is the most common cause of damage to the plant and many bamboo owners confuse this with frost damage, although frost is not necessarily a problem for Bambuseae as long as hardy species and genera such as Fargesia are chosen.

When pouring, proceed as follows:

  • choose only lime-free water
  • A water filter is particularly useful for this
  • stagnant water is less recommended for bamboo
  • watering is only done on frost-free days
  • The root area must be moist, but not permanently moist
  • Absolutely avoid waterlogging, otherwise the substrate and the roots will freeze and die
  • Roots must not dry out

It is typical for bamboo plants to lose up to 50% of their foliage over the winter. This is nothing to worry about and does not indicate damage from drought. By shedding the leaves, the sweet grass in the pot saves energy so that it can grow again in spring. When watering, be sure to pay attention to the moisture of the substrate and the roots, because this is the only way to prevent the bamboo plant from suffering serious damage that would limit growth in the following year.

tip: watering over the winter is essential, but the grasses do not depend on the addition of nutrients. Therefore, you can completely do without fertilizing the plant during the cold season.

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