What is a Bamboo Planter?

Jen Ainoa

Simply put, a bamboo planter is a structure made of bamboo that is designed to hold live plants and soil. A bamboo planter may also be called a bamboo flower pot or bamboo window box. Like all planters, bamboo planters are meant to add style and charm to gardens, decks, patios, and other outdoor living spaces.

Gardeners in warm climates can dress up patios and gardens with the colorful, tropical ti plant.
Gardeners in warm climates can dress up patios and gardens with the colorful, tropical ti plant.

Bamboo is very durable, versatile, strong, and light, so it is a suitable material to use to build many types of planters. Nearly any size or shape of planter that can be made of wood can also be made out of bamboo. In construction of bamboo planters, large pieces or stalks of the material are used for the frame of the planter, and then smaller sticks are lined up to fill in the walls or body. Typically, bamboo planters are used to create free-standing boxes or rectangles, as well as the classic, hanging window boxes and various styles of pots.

Bamboo planters are useful to gardeners in a number of ways. Since bamboo is very light, a rather large planter can easily be carried from place to place, whereas the same size planter made of wood or ceramic might be quite heavy. Bamboo is also a natural product that is environmentally friendly, unlike plastic, so bamboo planters may be a good choice for “green” gardening projects.

A simple and elegant type of bamboo planter can be made from just a single stalk of bamboo. Bamboo is a giant grass with stalks that sometimes grow to be as large as trees. Since bamboo is a grass, it has nodes along each stem or stalk, and these nodes create closed compartments within the stalk. Strategically cutting a chunk of bamboo stalk yields a cylindrical container with a closed bottom and an open top, like a drinking glass. In Hawaii, fresh, green bamboo is cut and used in this way as a vase for cut, tropical flowers.

A bamboo planter is typically used to give a garden or outdoor space a less formal, semi-tropical feel. Bamboo stalks are not perfectly straight, and the irregular patterns of the nodes create a non-geometric, organic appearance when assembled into furnishings. The woody, yellowish hues of bamboo are a nice complement to the green foliage of plants, making a lovely arrangement.

Although not technically a bamboo planter, some ceramic flower pots and vases are molded and designed to resemble bamboo. Since bamboo is a natural product, it will eventually decompose if exposed to water, soil, and the elements, so ceramic planters will last longer. This may explain why ceramic versions of bamboo planters exist. Ceramic flower pots and planters that resemble bamboo are much heavier than real bamboo and may be best suited to small plants.

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