Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Just something a little different. Sometimes, that’s what we have in mind when we’re looking for floral materials. Bamboo is just the thing. These versatile plants can serve many roles in floral design.
Stems of bamboo can be used to add an exotic, tropical-like touch to floral arrangements. These are most often seen in Ikebana and Japanese-style designs. However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t suitable for other types of designs. They can be used as a line or form flower.
There are other ways bamboo can be used. For example, it can be used to cover or mask plain or unattractive vases or containers. Cut the bamboo into appropriately sized pieces, and glue them around the outer edges.
For the most part, bamboo stems are used fresh. Depending on the use you have in mind, dried bamboo may also be suitable. However, it isn’t as attractive as the fresh.
If you plan on using a lot of bamboo in floral design, it may be worth your while to grow some. Because some types of bamboo are invasive, be careful about which kind of plant you buy. The clump types are best. The ones with running roots are the ones that run wild in the garden.
Generally, I prefer to grow the smaller varieties in containers or raised beds. This helps control the root growth so it doesn’t escape.
The roots of bamboo continue to increase in size each year. So, give the plants plenty of room. If a root becomes too large for a container, the rhizome can be divided into smaller pieces and replanted.
Like other plants grown for cutting gardens, bamboo will need fertilizing. This is best done during the very early spring when the plants begin putting on new growth.
These plants are evergreen. For best results, cut the older canes for use in floral design. This will help the plant to keep producing new shoots.
For the most part, bamboos prefer a moist soil. They will need watering during dry periods.
Though bamboo stems seem thick and woody, these plants are actually a kind of perennial grass. They have a tree-like or shrubby appearance. The plants have delicate foliage, giving them a light-airy appearance. This will not be present on cut stems that you buy. The younger stems tend to have denser foliage. If you grow and cut your own stems, the foliage will add a beautiful touch to designs. However, the leaves do tend to wilt and curl if the stems aren’t kept in water.