Category Archives: Bamboo

How to successfully propagate Gracilis Bamboo from cuttings

NOTE: If you are after the bamboo and shitty neighbours story, you can read everything about it on the ‘dear neighbour’ website.

How to successfully propagate Gracilis Bamboo from cuttings you ask me?

Well, it’s been a long and winding road, full of potholes of despair… but after more than 4 years, I can finally say I have learnt how to successfully propagate Gracilis Bamboo from cuttings.

Here is the proof – this is a cutting that I successfully managed to root at the end of 2014, early 2015. See the roots coming out of the bud?


I have since managed to successfully propagate 8 out of 8 cuttings this year. Once  you know the trick, it is quite easy to grow your own cuttings of Bambusa Textilis Gracilis.

The two diagrams below show in detail 1) When to take a Gracilis cutting and 2) How to plant the Gracilis cutting.


When to take Bambusa Gracilis cuttings?

When to take Bambusa Gracilis cuttings?


  1. Make sure you take a cutting from a mature culm, one that is over 12 months old.
  2. The culm diameter is important in the sense that it will hold water to feed the new cutting while it attempts to grow roots to survive. Use a culm where the inner diameter (the hollow part of the tube) is greater than say 7mm, so it can hold plenty of water.
  3. Take the cutting 3 to 4 inches above and below the culm node.
  4. Make sure there is one main branch coming out of the node and the size of the “bud” is large and looks healthy as this is the point where the roots will grow from.
  5. Take the cutting around the full moon phase. The moon affects the earth in many ways. In Bamboo, the moon’s gravitational pull draws sugars and starches from the roots and rhyzomes up the culm to help new leaf growth. These nutrients provide energy for the generation of leaves and fresh branches at the node of the cutting.
  6. Remove all small branches and leaves from the node – but leave the main nodal branch as this will be the cutting”s lifeline once it grows leaves.
  7. Plant the culm in a large pot with potting mix (large pot is good to avoid disturbing young plants during transfer).
  8. Use root hormone on the bud.
  9. Place the culm almost parallel to the ground (approximately 20 to 30 degrees to the ground) and ensure the main branch sticks up out of the soil, but the bud is well placed under the soil.
  10. Place the pot in a shady spot. I placed some pots at the base of the parent plant so its “new” environment hadn’t been changed.
  11. Water the pot on a daily basis for 4 weeks.
  12. Make sure the inside of the culm is full of water at all times.
  13. This process should completed during the warmer months to give your bamboo the best chance of growth.
  14. All that bamboo wants to do is survive and grow, this will best be achieved when there is high humidity and warmer temperatures.

One of the keywords that constantly keeps popping up in my statistics is “Gracilis Growth Rate”.

I would also like to crush any and all myths about this and set some facts straight.

  1. When planted from a cutting, Gracilis will do pretty much nothing the first 12 months. It will be sorry looking stick in the ground growing roots and a few small branches and leaves.
  2. The following 12 months, it will send some new small culms up – these will be the diameter of a pencil (maybe even smaller). The culms will grow to a height of approximately 2 metre or so and still look a bit sorry.
  3. After the first 24 months, things become interesting, and gracilis now throws some culms up to approximately 3 metres in height – but this depends on factors such as the size of the container, how much fertiliser/nutrients have been provided and how much water has been provided.
  4. Now you have a thick and dense Gracilis grove… the next year, you will see new culms that may reach the maximum height. The lower half of the plant will start to defoliate as the upper half grows most, if not all of the leaves.
  5. Gracilis is great for “all-round” privacy the first couple of years, but once it has matured, leaves only appear on the upper half of the culms. So it is great to block out a two storey window, but not ground levels. That is why I am planting some Malay dwarf bamboo in conjunction with my Gracilis… So if  you want ground floor privacy from your dear neighbour, I would suggest looking at a different type of bamboo.

Anywho, that’s all from me for now, follow these guidelines, good luck and let me know how you went!

I look forward to hearing from you :)

Henry Gomez aka Papa Gomez.

Propagating Gracilis Bamboo by Division – 102

Propagating Gracilis Bamboo by Division – 102

Propagating Gracilis bamboo by division is much, much easier than from cuttings. I’ve had mixed results with bamboo propagation via cuttings, but one thing is for sure, the technique outlined below is fool-proof.

Here are a few guidelines that have worked for me that I’d like to share with you.

1) Larger bamboo culms do not work as well as smaller ones. I use Gracilis culms that have the diameter of a pencil.
2) Make sure the culm has a few nodes (3 or more is good).
3) When you dig up the culms, make sure the rhyzome and roots are still attached.
4) In the photos below, I have two culms and a new shoot growing off the rhyzome.
5) Keep the rhyzome wet and work quickly. Don’t leave it out in the sun to dry out.
6) Cut the culm where it is attached to the parent rhyzome, but make sure it has roots attached!
7)  Water new plant in and keep the soil damp (but not water logged)

Progpagating Gracilis bamboo by division is quite straight forward and easy, Just be careful and gentle with the fragile young culms.

I’ll update this post with more photos as the new culms grow. These were taken on the weekend of the 25th of January 2015.

Shitty Neighbours Pt.3 – Top 10 bamboo tips

For juicy neighbour stories and a good laugh check “Dear Neighbour”.

So it’s been a while since I updated my blog with some shitty neighbours stories. I have received a large number of supporting emails and many inquisitive souls have asked for updates. As I am feeling in a festive mood today, I thought it would be the perfect time to provide yet another update.

The following top 10 bamboo tips have helped address my privacy issues with my neighbours. Consider this as free advice that worked for me. In no way do I recommend you try this yourself prior to seeking advice from your legal counsel.

Top 10 bamboo tips

1) Planting bamboo or similar plant to form a privacy hedge.

Obviously the tips outlined in this post are all related to protecting your bamboo investment. Make sure that if you decide to plant bamboo, you choose a clumping variety that suits your purpose. And if you have the time, money and patience, plant your bamboo in a raised garden bed so they can’t say “your bamboo is growing into our yard”. For my purpose, I picked Bambusa Textilis var. Gracilis.

top 10 bamboo tips

1 year old bamboo bought in November 2012

top 10 bamboo tips

Gracilis in January 2013

2) Increasing the fence height and installing “garden furniture”.

According to Queensland’s construction governing body (BSA) and as outlined in the Qld Standard Building Regulation 1993 – page 125, you are allowed to build a support structure for a climbing vine that is exempt from all other building codes and regulations – this “type 10B” structure is labelled as “garden furniture” and it needs to stand less than 3.0m above ground level to meet the criteria.

Also, in accordance with the Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act 2011, you are entitled to build a fence up to 2.0 metres above natural ground level on the joint boundary line. If you wish to go higher than 2.0 metres, you will need to complete a siting variation from your local council. Other factors are at play with joint fences and there is a “ceremonial” process that should be followed first (check the neighbourhood act) but the bottom line is if you have notified your neighbour of your intentions and have obtained council approval, then it’s all fair game.

top 10 bamboo tips

Gracilis growing even though neighbours interfering

Top 10 bamboo tips

Gracilis bamboo in late March 2013 – note timber posts

Top 10 bamboo tips

Gracilis bamboo had leaves cut back in mid April as they had been heavily sprayed.

3) Placing surveillance cameras.

Surveillance cameras are fantastic for providing supporting evidence of liquid being thrown over the fence from your neighbours. Be mindful of rules around invasion of privacy. Check with your local police station or legal counsel before putting cameras up. I asked my neighbour if he knew anything about my bamboo being broken and sprayed. He told me he knew nothing about it, and added: “If you don’t believe me, you can put some cameras up” – so I did.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Surveillance cameras watching over Gracilis bamboo


4) Placing a bamboo screen on the “garden furniture”.

Once a bamboo screen is applied to this structure, the definition is altered and you will require a building relaxation which you must pay for.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Bamboo screen installed in late April.


5) Placing clear construction poly plastic on the fence.

This is one more way to stop any unwanted overspray from your neighbours and does not require any approvals.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Late July – Plastic installed to protect bamboo from deliberate spraying between fence palings.

6) Installing a timed irrigation system.

I think installing an irrigation system on my “garden furniture” was the best idea to date as it serves as a deterrent. Herbicides cost money and are ineffective if washed off on a daily basis. If you install a battery operated timer, you can configure it so your investment is looked after on a regular basis. And your bamboo plants will love you for it too! I bought these microjet sprinklers as they served the purpose perfectly.

Top 10 bamboo tips

180 degree microjet sprays are used to wash the bamboo leaves.

Top 10 bamboo tips

This fine spray mist works wonders as a deterrent.

Top 10 bamboo tips

The idea is to discourage the spraying behaviour.

Top 10 bamboo tips

This is overkill. One line is sufficient so I put control taps on each line.

7) Attaching bait bells to the fence.

These bait bells will guide you to where your neighbours are shaking the fence. Yes, my neighbours like to shake the fence so the bamboo slats in the bamboo screen slide out. Fence shaking also served to increase the gap between the palings so liquid can be sprayed onto the bamboo between these.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Jingle bells, Jingle Bells – neigh-bours shake the fence!

Top 10 bamboo tips

My neighbours like shaking the fence so bells are a must!

8) Starting a compost pile.

Studies have shown that adding natural compost and mulch to herbicide infested soil helps to break it down. Micro-organisms, microfungii, bacteria, thermophilic bacteria, and earthworms work together to break down insecticides, herbicides and other chemicals in the soil. If your compost heap is smelly, it probably means your carbon to nitrogen ratio and humidity levels are not right – just cover your compost with grass clippings or mulch. It works wonders!

Top 10 bamboo tips

The compost and mulch has worked absolute wonders for my Gracilis bamboo

9) Grow edible plants around the bamboo

When the day comes to take out a Peace and Good Behaviour order against your neighbours, you will need to provide some evidence that you feel threatened or are in danger from their actions. By growing such plants as tomatoes, mint or similar around the bamboo, you can tell the magistrate that you have video footage of liquid being thrown over the fence that lands on your edible plants and that you are afraid that the food you eat has been poisoned. You can also maintain a log book and take photographs of the leaves of these plants yellowing or dying off.

Top 10 bamboo tips

Planting edible plants and herbs such as mint is a great “insurance policy” in preparation for the Peace and Good behaviour order.

10) Start a blog

Starting a blog can be a great way to get support from friends and strangers. But be very careful, your neighbours may become aware that you have a blog and try to contact you via your blog. Signing them up for a new account to or similar can be one of many ways to respond to their email shenanigans without really responding – get my drift?

Top 10 bamboo tips

My Gracilis has more than doubled the number of culms it had.

These are some of my tips to help you address privacy issues you may have with your neighbours. Probably the best thing to do is ignore them, but if your neighbours are like mine then ignoring them is not enough, and you may need to put up a small barrier (like I did) or move house – if that is an option.

Propagating Gracilis Bamboo – 101

Dear reader, if you are after detailed instructions on how to successfully propagate Gracilis bamboo from cuttings, this is the link you are after: How to successfully propagate Gracilis bamboo from cuttings as I have managed to grow new Gracilis from cuttings after numerous trials. The instructions in this page were not that good and the rate of success was none.

Or you may like to read the entire dickhead neighbour story and ongoing saga at: this new site dedicated to stupid neighbours.

I have finally managed to successfully propagate my very own Bambusa Textilis var. Gracilis! I obtained some culms from a friend and I now have some leaves that have started to bud and very tiny root systems.

It is only fair that I share my findings, but I have to give a lot of credit to Shawn Gilbert who was absolutely instrumental in providing the key points to a successful propagation.

I have currently got a 40% success rate – but this was my first attempt using Shawn’s technique and I have to confirm it works! I am still a little unsure about the exact science as this bamboo has proven to be a difficult plant to propagate. I should also say I didn’t use root hormone (I was too busy cutting the bamboo like mad)

Here are the important points to note:

  • When you first cut the culms, put them in a bucket full of some type of richgrow liquid formula. I used “Seasol” diluted in water and soaked the culms for 2 to 3 hours (it is a seaweed fertiliser rich in nitrogen – grass loves nitrogen)
  • You must use old culms, the older the better
  • Try to find culms with a diameter larger than 1″
  • I found culms with large buttons at the nodes had a better success rate than nodes with no buttons (this is for the 2 node cuttings)
  • Water the culms every day (ensure that you fill the culm with water) for the first month and a half
  • Pick the right time… I planted my culms in the middle of May (Southern Hemisphere = winter)

I have searched the internet for bamboo propagation via culm cuttings and identified two types of cuts that can be used. One cut has 2 nodes, and the other cut only has 1 node and all of the branches coming out of the node have been cut back – all except for the main one (as per Shawn’s website).
It took 2 weeks for the first leaves to appear, but at the 1 month mark, tiny branches were popping out of the buttons at the nodes .

Single node cutting - new leaf is sprouting

Single node cutting – new leaf is sprouting (1 month mark)

Two nodes cutting

Two node cuttings – 1 month mark

Single branch at a single node

Single branch at a single node cutting – 1 month mark

More  branches popping out

More branches popping out

Small button at a node - ready to pop out

Small button at a node – ready to pop out (2 months mark)

Single node cutting with one branch. See the new leaf?

Single node cutting with one branch. See the new leaf?

Double node with branches appearing

Double node with branches appearing – 2 month mark

More double node cuttings

More double node cuttings

Few bamboo cuttings in one pot

Few bamboo cuttings in one pot

I also noticed the culms that stayed green after the 1.5 month mark would be successful as they had leaves pop out soon after.

We are now getting to the 2 month mark and I pulled one of the culms out to see if it had roots. The photos below show a thin, long and stringy roots.

Single node bamboo - no roots at the branch

Notice how the culm is still green even after 2 months in the ground?

Bud appearing at the on the single branch

Bud appearing on the single branch – note: there are no roots at single node.


I am going to leave the culms in the pots a couple of months longer and wait for spring to swing by.

Update: 19th May 2016 – these cuttings all dried and died after months of watering.

But this page: How to successfully propagate Gracilis bamboo from cuttings has instructions that actually worked!

Shitty Neighbours Pt.2 – The Donkeys are at it again.

“…The fire fighters told me they received a phone call from my neighbours who said there was a fire at my home… the funny thing is they immediately asked me when would the pizzas be ready and if they could come over for dinner. They even asked, how I built the oven, what type of bricks I used, and where they could buy some!…”

Since I received a large number of requests for updates, I have been compelled to write a follow up post to my shitty neighbours post part 1

You may recall I’ve had numerous ongoing issues with intolerant neighbours, who continuously and incessantly go out of their way to be obnoxious pests, hurling verbal abuse and threats over the fence, taking photographs, poisoning my bamboo and breaking culms. They scream out to each other from the granny flat to the front house and whinge, complain and carry on at just about everything. They have nothing better to do with their time.

About three years ago I made a fire in a 44 gallon drum and my lovely neighbours called the fire brigade. In my opinion it was a waste of tax payer’s money and government resources. Wouldn’t common sense prevail? Wouldn’t the neighbourly thing to do is talk to your neighbour? Oh I forgot, hill billy’s lack that personal skill. When I went to speak to them and apologise for the smoke, the mum screamed “<Marge Simpson>There’s a total fire ban in all of Queensland! The fire brigade is on its way…</Marge Simpson>”. When the fire fighters arrived, they told me if I had a grill and sausages over the drum I would have been “sweet”.

This Monday, I fired up the wood fired pizza oven and the fire brigade arrived 15 minutes after I started the fire. The fire fighters told me they received a phone call from my neighbours who said there was a fire at my home… the funny thing is they immediately asked me when would the pizzas be ready and if they could come over for dinner. They even asked, how I built the oven, what type of bricks I used, and where they could buy some!

As a solution to this unneighbourly dilemma, I initially put up a 2.2 metre fence (with council approval) but it did not help deter this behaviour. I built a raised garden bed and planted two bambusa textilis gracilis along the boundary line. One plant was poisoned and the other was hacked (see below) – courtesy of my sweet shit-for-brains neighbour (I dearly call him Shrek because he looks like Shrek, minus the green skin and trumpet ears).

I proceeded to try to propagate my own bamboo with little success. Yes, I know, the first post was very effective, but unfortunately Gracilis is extremely difficult to propagate from a cutting. I talked with a Bamboo expert who said they had a 40% rate of success – and it takes a long time to grow roots. So I eventually bought another 15 plants at $60 a pop. Now comes the fun part – I knew Shrek would do more damage to my plants… and I bought some cheap video surveillance cameras off ebay to protect my investment.

The day came when my bamboo was hacked yet again (this is the third time) and yes, I do have video footage of the hacking… but I am going to play it cool. I am not going to divulge my plan just yet as things are still unravelling, but it is pure genius – AND most important of all absolutely legal! (I confirmed with the Brisbane City Council and my building certifier).

I have had a number of friends tell me I should poison his plants and break branches off his shrubs and trees, but the thing is, I refuse to stoop to this level. This poisoning and hacking a neighbour’s plants is a cowardly act. Only a gutless and pathetic donkey would do such a thing. Any decent or civilized person would at least attempt to communicate in a friendly, open and tolerant manner with his neighbour – not hide and carry out stealth missions in the cover of darkness or while we’re away from home. The last time we talked, he told me I “had a screw loose” and “wasn’t the full quid” – so apparently I am the one with the mental issues as I try to protect my plants from him reaching over the fence and breaking the culms. That makes a lot of sense and it proves my point.

Poisoned Bambusa Textilis Gracilis

Poisoned Bambusa Textilis Gracilis – 11 days after poisoning.

Poisoned Bambusa Textilis Gracilis - Poisoned bamboo

Poisoned Bambusa Textilis Gracilis – 19 days after poisoning

Other Gracilis before hacking

Other Gracilis before hacking

Hacked Bambusa Textilis Gracilis

Hacked Bambusa Textilis Gracilis


Bambusa hacked by neighbour again

Bambusa hacked by neighbour again

Closer view of my hacked Bambusa Textilis Gracilis

Closer view of my hacked Bambusa Textilis Gracilis

Close up of broken Gracilis culm

Close up of broken Gracilis culm

Bambusa growing nicely - note 1 plant hacked.

Bambusa growing nicely – note 1 plant hacked.

Gracilis slowly growing...

Gracilis slowly growing…