Is Winter a Good Time to Plant Bamboo?

A perspective customer from Orlando, FL writes:
I am considering getting my partner a bamboo plant for Christmas. Is this a good time to plant or should I wait until spring?

My response:
Bamboos can be planted year round. Each season has its own advantage. Bamboos planted in the winter have more time to develop strong root systems in their new location and a well-established root system is one of the most important factors in determining how many new shoots will appear in the summer growth season.

If you wait until spring or summer, you will see new growth almost immediately. That can be very gratifying especially for first-time bamboo growers who are not yet familiar with bamboo growth patterns. But it is also important to note that a bamboo planted in the spring will usually produce smaller and fewer canes during that first growing season than a bamboo planted in the winter, which would have had several months to develop a strong root system.

Why are the leaves on my new plants turning brown?

A customer in Jacksonville, FL recently wrote:
I have a question for you about the giant bamboo and the Asian Lemon you installed a couple weeks ago. I have been watering for 2 hours per day as I was advised. I am seeing that many of the leaves are brown now. Especially on the giant bamboo. Is it possible I am watering too much? They are not curling up so it seems they are getting enough water. I am hoping this is normal part of the shock a plant goes through. We have had some cold nights but only a couple hours below freezing and that might have been 25-27 degrees.

We are happy with the plants overall and look forward to seeing them really grow next year.

My response:
Very often newly planted bamboos shed leaves during their transition period. As you suggested, it's part of the shock of being moved into a new location. It is possible the cold weather might have damaged some of the Oldhamii's leaves. Younger plants of that variety are more susceptible to freezes than the Asian Lemon are but even if that's the case, the plants will recover as the weather warms up. To determine the health of your bamboos, see if new leaves are forming. Even when some leaves brown and fall off after being transplanted or during a cold snap, new leaves are also appearing. Regarding your question about irrigation, as long as the plants are not sitting in standing water, you are not over-watering.

You are right that in a few months when warm weather returns all you bamboos will explode with new growth. It's good to keep an eye on them but it's also important to remember, bamboos are very hardy plants. Even when stressed they will continue to grow.