Bamboo is used extensively in Asia, both for ornamental and construction purposes. The stems are straight and uniform, making them perfect for the construction of fences, walls, scaffolding and even small bridges. When split into thin slats, bamboo stems can be woven and made into a variety of products and decorative items.
In Australia we are only just starting to discover the many uses of bamboo, particularly in the garden. Don showed how to use bamboo to make a container for succulents. Once planted up with echeverias, the container looks great as a temporary indoor centrepiece for the dinner table.
What to do
Cut a 1m length of thick bamboo in half lengthways, leaving the nodes at each end intact. This will give around 6 compartments for planting succulents.
Cut 4 x 6cm lengths of thin bamboo and hot glue them to the rounded base for stability. (Tip: if you don’t have a hot glue gun, construction adhesive will also do the job.)
Starting with a small drill bit, drill 2 holes between each node for drainage. Enlarge the holes using a larger drill bit. Using a Stanley knife, clean off the rough edges around the drainage holes.
Smooth down the cut edges of the bamboo with sandpaper.
Plant each compartment with a succulent, teasing out the rootballs to fit the shallow compartments. (Don used Echeveria ‘Black Prince’, an elegant succulent with glossy, red-maroon to almost black rosettes.)
Finally, top up the compartments with cacti mix and water in the plants.
Sunshine and a good, free-draining potting mix are essential for the successful cultivation of succulents.
The ideal potting mix for succulents in containers should contain half coarse sand and half free-draining potting mix (it’s easy to mix up your own batch).
Do not overwater.
A six-month, slow-release fertiliser such as Osmocote is recommended.
A well-drained, sunny aspect is the ideal situation for growing succulents. Insufficient sunlight will cause the plants to become leggy, distort and lose colour.
Place your succulent pots under the eaves in cold areas which experience considerable winter rain, but in positions where they will still receive good sunshine.
Thick Bamboo costs about $12 per metre. It is available at bamboo stores and some garden centres.
Hot glue guns cost about $15 from craft stores.
Echeveria ‘Black Prince’ costs around $6 for 100mm (4″) pots.
Cacti mixture costs about $7 per 10 litre bag.