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I am hoping to tie knots in growing bamboo, ideally with a final diameter similar to a pencil (4-8mm). I have zero (positive) gardening/plant tending experience. I bought a potted Fargesia Scabrida, locally, and have attempted a few methods:

  1. spiral wrap with bonsai wire => tie knot
  2. tie knot and gradually tighten over successive days
  3. attach mold to tip of stem (culm?)

For #3 I built a mold out of drinking straws. 4 months later there's no visible growth through the molds. I had hoped that I might be able to put a mold on a new shoot, but haven't seen any.

#2 has been the most successful, but inevitably I get over ambitious and crack the branch I'm working on.

#1 has similar results to #2, but maybe if I just mummify the branch with wire?

So, I am running out of culms and branches to experiment/gain experience upon. 8-)

Is there a better species of bamboo (faster growing? more flexible?) for an experimental subject? Perhaps a running species that can grow in a pot/trough?

I am aware that cut wood can be shaped by steaming/heat but was hoping to grow my knots. 8-)

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  • Really cool project!
    – MackM
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 22:44

1 Answer 1

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Typically you get new shoots but once a year, in spring. They grow incredibly fast, then. But you won't get new shoots throughout the year, IME.

My particular experience is with Phyllostachys aureosulcata but I think that part is similar across most actual bamboo (as opposed to Fallopia japonica, say.)

Existing stems don't ever grow taller/longer, after that initial spurt. If not rootbound, the tallest and largest stems are the newest ones. You need to catch a new one starting and attempt your training method #3 on that, if it is to work at all.

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  • You say that new shoots only appear once a year, but if you bring your potted plant inside, is there any way to make spring come faster as it were? Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 20:53
  • Not in my experience. But I've never tried to fool it. My intuition is that a plant which can manage synchronized mass flowering on a schedule of 10s to 100s of years may not be all that easy to fool, though.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 20:56

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