One method of bamboo propagation of course is growing bamboo from seed. However, based on the fact that bamboo flowers rarely and seed is not readily available like most other plants, there is not much documentation on a a good method for bamboo seed germination. A few years ago we acquired some Moso bamboo seed and Dendrocalamus strictus seed. Not really knowing how to germinate this seed, I used a method that I recall reading online somewhere, with a few modifications. Much to my delight I achieved a very high rate of germination, and before I knew what hit me me I had hundreds of baby bamboos growing nicely in my fields along with my other plants.
1. Rinse seeds with clean water.
2. Soak seeds for 5 minutes in 10% salt water solution. Rinse.
3. Soak seeds for 15 minutes in clean water.
1. Use a 50/50 mix of perlite and peat/sphagnum moss, moistened to the point where you can barely squeeze water out of it. You can either mix this yourself or buy it pre-mixed at any local garden center. Do not use all your mix.
2. Place soil mixture in either a 1020 flat w/ humidity dome or I have also used a plastic Tupperware style sweater box with lid.
3. Scatter seeds randomly or place them in rows in the mix…it’s up to you.
4. Cover lightly with remaining soil mix and place cover on flat.
5. Lid should keep moisture high. Open once or twice a week to allow fresh air in and check soil moisture. If dry, gently mist with clean water.
Germination and seedling care:
1. You should begin seeing germination occur within 2 to 3 weeks.
2. Keep cover on for another week to keep humidity up and enhance seed germination. Once seedlings begin to reach the top of the cover remove cover.
3. Seeds will continue to germinate for upwards to 4 weeks after you see the first seed germinate.
4. Your new moso seedlings will grow to approximately 4 inches in the first month.
5. After the first month you can begin applications of an all purpose fertilizer. For this I mix Miracle Grow plant food into spray bottle and gently mist them thoroughly.
6. Depending on what container you used to germinate your seeds in, you can transplant the new seedlings safely after the first month. I have been putting all mine into 4″ round pots.
7. When new seedlings are about 2 to 3 months old they will begin to send up new shoots.
8. 1 year old seedlings will vary in height between 1 to 2 feet.
Again, this is what I have personally used to germinate my moso bamboo and strictus bamboo seeds. With most batches I achieved over a 75% germination rate, however, I cannot guarantee you will have the same success as the age of seed, time of year, and numerous other conditions will directly effect germination rate.