From our Belli Park parkland. If in WA or TAS, the most important point to remember is to check the credibility of the vendor. Whenever buying bamboo, ensure that the seller knows exactly what they are selling.
Generally, the nursery trade knows virtually nothing about bamboo. At the moment for example, there are nurseries promoting “panda bamboo”. It’s isn’t even a bamboo! Supermarkets are selling Dracaena sticks as “Lucky bamboo” whilst another common mistake confuses Lip Stick palms as a bamboo.
It is really only the bamboo specialists who have experience, and the expertise to provide a fair idea of the growth habits of what they sell. The best rule of thumb is to only purchase bamboo from someone who can positively provide the botanical name of the species sought and also, make sure the plant has an ID tag attached.
Another point to remember is the quality of the rootstock. I always make a point of choosing plants that have their roots protruding from the pot. If the roots are as thick as a matchstick then this is a good indication that there is sufficient root mass to support the plant. Discreet enquiries should be made to ascertain whether the plant may be reliant on chemical fertilisers.
It is the policy of Bamboo Australia to use only natural fertilisers in the nursery and on the clumping species in the groves. Try to buy stock that has been raised on natural fertilisers such as the old favourites, blood & bone or any of the variants of Dynamic Lifter (pelletised chicken manure) which is available at all major hardware stores and nurseries.
Always be cautious of International seed vendors. It is a common practice to give one species many names to sell more seed.
Remember the golden rule. Buy only from a specialist.