How to grow bamboo to sell

Bamboo, the tallest grass, is vastly popular among landowners and homeowners. Some of the most popular forms of bamboo are the potted ones. People invest as much as $400 for rare species of bamboo plants. Suppliers now find it hard to grow and sell bamboo to meet the rising demand. 

What makes bamboo so popular? Bamboo is versatile. You can use it as an eco-friendly decorative accessory, or a raw material in different green industries. Various species survive in varied weather conditions. Due to huge demand, growers can start a nursery in the backyard and make huge profits. 

How to grow and sell bamboo in brief

Bamboo production is a profitable business in the long run, but there's no shortcut. Like Christmas trees, if you manage to make some good choices and put in the hard work, you'll start to see very good returns within five to seven years.

You can start selling at a price of $30 for each plant, which might eventually fetch you around $15,000 in a year. The climate of your location is crucial, as frequent drops to the freezing point won’t be good for bamboo. A sheltered or sloping area is great for most varieties. Also consider the soil in your plot. 


Profitability

Ease to produce

 Time Required

growing bamboo to sell

What does Alex think?

Alex gives bamboo 3.5 stars

Alex says, "Bamboo great if you're crafty but rubbish if you live anywhere that drops below freezing in the winter."

The business opportunity for bamboo

If you have a plot of land that measures around a quarter of an acre, this piece of land will be able to yield at least 2000-2400 bamboo plants. This will help you earn $60,000. Everything depends on how you handle the business and make your sales. As a bamboo grower, many opportunities are waiting for you out there as it’s an eco-friendly product that can be used in many ways. Bamboo is used in:

  • Pulp and paper industry
  • Eco-friendly textile industry
  • Furniture industry
  • Scaffolding
  • Gardening, landscaping, and bamboo flooring
  • Making home decor pieces
  • Making toothbrushes and paintbrushes
  • Biofuel industry
  • Making kitchenware
  • Making rugs
  • Making sports-related products
  • Making firewood
  • Producing tea, vinegar, wine, and beer

… And much more! So, you can sell your bamboo to these industries, small business organizations in these sectors or individuals. You can even try to export them. Or, if you have the means, you can actually start your own bamboo-related business in one of the above areas of work! 

The market for selling bamboo

The global market for bamboo was valued at $68.8 B back in 2018. A study revealed that there would be a growth at 5% CAGR between 2019 and 2025. Predictions say that the price can go as high as $98.3 B. Currently, the biggest exporter of bamboo is China, with around 60% of the total coming from Asia Pacific countries. The biggest importer is America. It’s popular due to its many applications.

It is a sustainable resource in various industries like furniture, building or construction, pulp and paper, and more. With rising awareness among consumers regarding the use of bamboo as an eco-friendly alternative in various industries, companies are now coming forward with their investment plans. It’s likely that the real market value will actually go over the predicted value.

Besides providing raw materials that are environmentally beneficial and economical, bamboo plants emit 35% more oxygen than other plants, and absorb 40% more carbon dioxide. Plus, it is easy to grow in various climatic conditions. Planting and cultivating bamboos can help with soil erosion, too. So, besides being a profitable product, bamboo cultivation has several other valuable qualities.

Bamboo around the web

Interest in bamboo products has soared over the last five years as consumers become more and more eco concious.

This is the search volume for bamboo toothbrushes.

bamboo search popularity

There are over 7,000 search results for bamboo toothbrushes on Amazon UK. In fact, there a tonne of bamboo eco products on Amazon (those are affilliate links just in case anyone actually buys something).

How much can you make selling bamboo?

As a versatile product with various uses, bamboo is hugely demanded, and you will find buyers across different industries and different parts of the world. One of the significant advantages of bamboo is that there are around 1400 varieties of it, and they all have different demands and prices. 

If you start with the most widely-grown bamboo varieties used in the landscaping industry, you will be able to earn around $60,000 a year by selling 2000 bamboos from a hectare of land at $30 each. Of course, this won’t happen overnight, and you will have to start small with only one species.

You will also need to remember the expenses that you have to make to prep the land and the soil, get your bamboo planted, and take care of the nursery. It can be assumed that the cost of developing bamboo farms will be something between $800 and $1300 per hectare, though this is variable.

But, eventually, you can make your bamboo business profitable. Later on, you can also diversify the bamboo variety to increase earnings by selling the bamboo types that sell at a higher price. You can also try selling to different industries that use bamboo as raw material, or start your own venture.

How many bamboo poles per acre

There are different methods of planting bamboo. They grow best in well-irrigated lands, though they can also be raised on drylands. Each plant needs around 10-20 l of water every day. Many growers prefer to start with a low-density farm, with only about 200 plants in an acre. 

An acre of land can accommodate anywhere from 200 to 1,000 plants, and each plant produces between ten to 30 bamboo poles. So the range of production will be anywhere from 2,000 to 30,000 poles. Let’s assume you’ll get 8,000 poles per acre to be somewhat conservative.

How long does it take to start making money from bamboo?

One of the exciting features of bamboo is that it’s among the fastest-growing plant species in the world, with some varieties growing at a massive rate of 36 inches in a single day! So, the yield from a bamboo farm is going to be quite high. But there’s more to the story, and you must be patient. 

For the first five years or more, the seedlings don’t break the ground. Even if you provide excellent care and a perfect growing environment, you won’t be able to make much difference in the initial years. So what will you do? You wait and work hard, until you see a sudden spurt of growth.
what's the roi of growing bamboo

Where can you sell bamboo?

Now that you are ready with your bamboo plants, what will you do with them? Where and how will you sell them? There are multiple channels to sell the bamboo that you have carefully grown in your nursery, and you can find takers across the world! Here are the channels of selling your plants:

a) Direct Retail Sales: 

This is a simple method of selling your plants directly to the customers. Interested buyers come to your backyard nursery, and you can directly make your sale and get paid then and there. This will also give you a chance to interact with the customers and establish a personal relationship with them. After all, the old-school way of retaining customers is with a smile and polite behavior. 

b) Mail-Order Sales: 

The mail-order sales technique has proven to be hugely beneficial for bamboo growers. In this method, you allow the customers to place an order by phone or through a website without them personally coming down to your farm. You will have to deliver the plant by mail. You can put out flyers and websites, or even try to export them. You should also add direct customers to the list. 

c) Landscaping and Gardening Centers: 

Bamboo, as you know, is a popular accessory in landscaping and gardening. So, you can directly sell your plants to landscaping and gardening centers. This will be a great way to get orders in bulk as landscapers and gardeners don’t usually need single plants and order in large numbers. Besides, you will likely get a lot of repeat orders from them, too, once you manage to impress them.

d) Bamboo Products: 

Bamboo is exceptionally versatile, and it is more than just a decorative item. It is also the source of eco-friendly raw materials for making paper, utility goods, construction, alcohol, other such industries. So, you can sell your plants to companies that produce bamboo products. In fact, you can start an ancillary business, making and selling bamboo products to add value to your business. 

Focus on your land, not your website.

Cost to get started selling bamboo

Growing bamboo can be a profitable business, and it’s a fairly simple venture to begin. The best thing is that the investment from your part is not going to burn a hole in your pocket either. You can expect to incur at least $800 initially, depending on the location, plant type, and other factors.  

Usually, the cost of developing the land should be around $500-750 for each hectare. The cost will vary and may rise a little based on the kind of preparation needed. You will need to spend an additional $300-400 as the cost of planting materials, depending on the density of planting.

What’s the ROI of selling bamboo

The bamboo market in the world is estimated to grow at about $2 billion every year. As the world is moving more and more to green and eco-friendly products, the growth keeps multiplying. Investing in bamboo farm business can be profitable, too, with a stable ROI of 16% noticed in the last 10 years. This is after taking into consideration the time and money that you invest in the farm.

The actual return on your investment will vary, depending on the type of bamboo you’re selling and the rate that you have fixed for each plant. You have to spend around $800-1300 on each hectare, and this cost will have to be incurred for the first 5-5.5 years before the bamboo is sellable. However, with a total income of $60,000 per hectare a year, you’ll break even in the first year of yield.

The cost will increase if you decide to employ labor. The profit can further increase if you choose to enter ancillary industries. But, bamboo is a self-generating plant, which, once harvested, will grow leaves within just 3-4 months. As a result, you can harvest bamboo annually for more than 20 years. You will get a stable and sustainable supply of bamboo to sell to different associated industries.  

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Get started growing bamboo on your farm

Getting started is the most challenging part of any business, including a bamboo farm. However, the best thing is that this business is not too difficult to set up, nor is it a very costly investment. It is much less expensive compared to most other startups and will fetch decent returns.

The only problem is the waiting period of 5 years, after which bamboo grows at a rapid rate. The length of bamboo can be anything between 1-3 feet to 30-40 feet. You can decide what type of bamboo you want to plant and can expect as much as $400 for the special varieties of bamboo. 

Land required to grow bamboo

Tropical weather and rainy season work best for bamboo planting, though it depends on the type of bamboo you choose to work with. While they grow well in drylands, moist soil is better. You can select a piece of land on a slope to start your bamboo farm and watch the plants grow.

There are a number of hardy varieties of bamboo that will grow and even thrive in the UK’s suboptimal climate.

The soil in which bamboo grows best is of a sandy nature. It also grows in other soil types, like red soil and laterite soil. The pH level should be between 5.5 and 6.5. You should also add nitrogen to the soil to stimulate it properly. The amount of nitrogen required will vary on the basis of the product.

Get started growing bamboo on your farm

Christmas tree farm

Growing conditions for bamboo

The growing conditions of bamboo vary based on the type of bamboo that you’ve chosen to plant in your land. Usually, a tropical climate offers the plants ideal conditions to grow and thrive within a short time. Some of the bamboo varieties demand shade, while the thicker varies need sun. 

Many bamboo varieties survive in cool weather, but the temperature should be consistently above zero degrees for bamboo to thrive. Bamboo plants also need lots of water to saturate the planting area. However, you can limit the water you give them. This will help to prevent clumping at the base. 

How long does it take to grow and harvest bamboo

Once you prepare the land and plant the seeds, you have to wait patiently for 5-7 years for the plants to show up. You can’t get frustrated at this point and must continue to water the plants and take care of the land. But once it starts to grow, it will show quick results as it is the fastest growing plant.

Depending on the type of bamboo you’re growing, the time taken for it to attain its full height can be anything between 3-4 years and 5-7 years. The bamboo varieties that we commonly grow take about 5-7 years. Once harvested, a shoot’s growth depends on sugar stored at the previous year’s culms.    

What you need to get started growing bamboo

Now that you know the nitty-gritty of starting a bamboo business in your backyard, it is time for you to know about the things you will need to get started. For a bamboo farm, you will need seeds, of course, along with the right soil, especially if you’re going for potted plants, and essential tools. From plants to soil, everything is shipped across the UK and the US by the suppliers of farming needs.  

For your bamboo farm, you will need pots and planters that offer proper drainage and allow them to breathe. You will also need some bamboo taming tools like a bamboo slammer, a spade, and hole digger to ensure that from the phase of prepping the soil to that of caring for bamboo, everything is perfect. These tools are available on various platforms in the US and the UK.    

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Get started selling

Set up a website

Bamboo is such a crafty and artisnal product, you'll have no problem building a gorgeous site around it.  As ever, we recommend Carrd.co, because it's so easy. You can sign up here. For a get started guide, you can have a look here.

If you'd like some help with this, we'll happily build out a site and social presence for you. Just click here.

Pick a name

If you'd like to get yourself a new domain name for your site, we recommend Namecheap. It's, well, the cheapest!

If you don't like the look of anything you find there, you can click here to search for your own.

Get set up on Etsy and Amazon

Etsy and Amazon are the two most popular retail marketplaces for pampas grass decor, so you want to make sure you sign up with both of them.

Etsy:

Amazon:


Ready to get started? We can help

We'll build a website for your smallholding or hobby farm

If you want to make more money from your smallholding or  hobby farm but don't want to deal with any of the techy bits, we can help build you a website, set up your social pages, and make sure your analytics are buttoned up.. 

Focus on your land, not your website.

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