Bamboo Plant Types – What Are Some Common Bamboo Varieties

Bamboo Plant Types – What Are Some Common Bamboo Varieties

By: Liz Baessler

Bamboo has a reputation for being invasive and hard to control, and because of this, gardeners tend to shy away from it. This reputation isn’t unfounded, and you shouldn’t plant bamboo without first doing some research. If you plan accordingly and pay attention to what variety you’re planting, however, bamboo can be a great addition to your garden. Keep reading to learn about different varieties of bamboo.

Bamboo Plant Types

Bamboo can be split into two general types: running and clumping.

Clumping bamboo grows just as the name suggests – in a big clump of grass that mainly grows up and stays put where you’ve planted it. This is the recommended type if you want a well-behaved bamboo stand in your garden that you don’t have to worry about spreading.

Running bamboo, on the other hand, will spread like crazy if not kept in check. It propagates by sending out underground runners, called rhizomes, which send up new shoots elsewhere. These rhizomes can travel more than 100 feet (30 m.) before sprouting, meaning your new bamboo patch may suddenly become your neighbor’s new bamboo patch as well. And then their neighbor’s. Because of this, you should not plant running bamboo unless you know how to contain it and are willing to keep an eye on it.

You can achieve a containing effect underground by surrounding the bamboo with metal sheeting, concrete, or a store-bought root barrier, buried a minimum of 2 feet (61 cm.) below ground and extending a minimum of 4 inches (10 cm.) above ground. Bamboo roots are surprisingly shallow, and this should stop any runners. You should still check on the bamboo regularly, though, to make sure no rhizomes have escaped. Planting your bamboo in a large above-ground container that does not rest on soil is a more foolproof option.

Common Bamboo Varieties

Bamboo is an evergreen grass that has different cold tolerances for different types of bamboo. The varieties of bamboo you can plant outdoors will be dictated by the coldest temperature your area reaches in winter.

Cold-hardy types

Three running bamboo varieties that are very cold hardy include:

  • Golden Grove
  • Black bamboo
  • Kuma bamboo

Two cold hardy clumping bamboo plant types are:

  • Chinese Mountain
  • Umbrella bamboo

The warmer your climate, the more your options you have for different types of bamboo.

Warm climate types

Clumping bamboo varieties:

  • Chinese Goddess
  • Hedge bamboo
  • Fernleaf
  • Silverstripe

Running types include:

  • Black bamboo
  • Red Margin
  • Golden Golden
  • Giant Japanese Timber

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Different types of bamboo: learn about bamboo plants for the garden

Clumping bamboo grows just as the name suggests ” in a big clump of grass that mainly grows up and stays put where you’ve planted it. This is the recommended type if you want a well-behaved bamboo stand in your garden that you don’t have to worry about spreading.

Running bamboo, on the other hand, will spread like crazy if not kept in check. It propagates by sending out underground runners, called rhizomes, which send up new shoots elsewhere. These rhizomes can travel more than 100 feet before sprouting, meaning your new bamboo patch may suddenly become your neighbor’s new bamboo patch as well. And then their neighbor’s. Because of this, you should not plant running bamboo unless you know how to contain it and are willing to keep an eye on it.

You can achieve a containing effect underground by surrounding the bamboo with metal sheeting, concrete, or a store-bought root barrier, buried a minimum of 2 feet below ground and extending a minimum of 4 inches above ground. Bamboo roots are surprisingly shallow, and this should stop any runners. You should still check on the bamboo regularly, though, to make sure no rhizomes have escaped. Planting your bamboo in a large above-ground container that does not rest on soil is a more foolproof option.


Groundcover Bamboos

These low-growing (up to 5 feet) spreading bamboo cover large areas and have wonderful foliage. If looking ragged, they can be clear-cut at the end of the winter (before the onset of new growth) using a mower or shears. This rejuvenates them and when the new growth emerges the plants will look much fresher, plus they will remain shorter and more dense. They can be lightly trimmed after their shooting to retain their uniform short stature. In very cold climates (zones 4 through 6) groundcover bamboo are often deciduous and may die back to ground level, but the plants still shoot freely in the following spring if well insulated with mulch through the winter.


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Recognize the different types of bamboo

The differences between types of bamboo that go beyond the aesthetic part in terms of colors and shapes of the leaves mainly focus on the branching of the roots. In the case of bamboo, its rhizome (a horizontal root that is sub-branched) can be represented with a leptomorph or pachymorph system, depending on the function it will perform.

– Pachymorphic bamboo: Also known as lump bamboo, grows from a large central root so that each sprout is held together and is easier to control. In addition to maintaining central growth, it has the advantage that we do not have to sow other sprouts as it is responsible for the expansion itself. This is the ideal type for our garden as it is not intrusive and we can take care of it with minimal care.

– Leptomorphic Bamboo: Colloquially known as walking bamboo, it is the system that gardeners try to avoid due to its rapid expansion. Outbreaks cannot be controlled and cover up to 15 feet in diameter annually from their origin. As with clumping bamboo, the rhizome produces many stems from them. They can still be used in the garden, but we have to remove the roots from time to time so that they don’t expand.


Types of Bamboo for Indoors, Deck, Garden & Yards

Clumper Bamboo

As we had mentioned before, clumpers are a popular ornamental variety since they are not an invasive species and stay within their respective territory. The underground stems of the clumpers are known as rhizomes and are pretty different for other non-clumping bamboos or timber types.

Clumping bamboos grow out making a “U” shape instead of spreading out horizontally. The new “culms” sprout next to the parent plant and only grow and spread a few inches in a year.

Clumper bamboos can reach a height ranging anywhere between 8-25 feet. This will depend on the kind of clumper bamboo that is.

Following is an extensive list of all kinds of Clumper bamboos that there are and what use they could be put to.

Fargesia Bamboo

The Fargesia species of the clumper bamboo belongs to the category of the flowering plants of the grass family. Although the plant is native to China, it can also be found in certain areas of Vietnam and in the eastern regions of the Himalayas.

Some subspecies of the Fargesia bamboo are widely cultivated as ornamental plants. These include the umbrella bamboo and the fountain bamboo.

The Fargesia grows mountain clumps of small to medium sizes. These are generally found in the alpine conifer forests of several parts in East Asia.

In Chinese, the Fargesia species and its subspecies are called “Jian Zhu” that stands for “arrow bamboo.”

The scientific name of Fargesia was kept in honor of the French botanist, Pere Paul Guillaume Farges.

The Fargesia bamboos are in fact known as the world’s hardiest bamboo plants. However, they aren’t invasive. These are also the favorite food of the Giant Pandas and the decline in the overall population of Fargesia has had an immense impact on the population of pandas in China.

These can now be found in numerous nurseries worldwide as they are affordable and could be grown in large numbers easily owing to their thick clumping habits.

Chilean Bamboo

The Chusquea Culeou or, what is commonly known as the Chilean bamboo, also belongs to the flowering plant section of the Poaceae grass family. It is an evergreen bamboo that is native to South America.

This species of bamboos are tolerant to frost, yet widely cultivated in temperate zones. The Chilean bamboo can be commonly found in southwestern Argentina, the rainforests of Valdivia and in the humid Chilean forests.

One of the significant and vital aspects of this plant is that it controls and manages the patterns of forest dynamics.

The Chilean bamboo regulates the growth of the other types of trees so that they don’t grow out fast and perish in the cold. This clumper bamboo kind forms sizeable clumps, flourishing in favorable conditions.

These bamboos possess “hair lanceolate” leaves that have a sort of spine on its end. The flowers that bloom on this plant are light brown in color. The flowers can bloom up to 60 years, and the plant dies once it has released its seeds.

Chilean bamboo have entirely solid stems that makes it a significantly versatile source for making various things. In fact, the cane of the Chilean bamboos can grow up to a height of 6m and was once used by Aboriginal tribes for making the poles for spears. The stems are also used to make a musical instrument, trutruca.

Guadua Bamboo

The Guadua bamboo belongs to the Neotropical genus and is in fact, the largest known variety of Neotropical bamboos on this planet. It is a pretty thorny, clumping bamboo that falls under moderate to large species of bamboo.

The Guadua bamboo serves as a vital part of the diet for native animal life, such as the Amazon rats as well as the Atlantic Bamboo rats.

It is commonly found in Uruguay, Trinidad and in the northern parts of Mexico. The largest and densest concentrations are found in the Orinoco and the Amazon basin. These bamboo trees are generally found at lower altitudes that are lesser than 1,500m. Some species, however, can thrive at altitudes higher than 2500m.

This species of the clumping bamboo can be found in almost all kinds of habitats. These could include gallery forests, savannahs, lowland tropical forest, lower-montane forest or even in the inter-Andean vegetation found in the valleys.

The Guadua bamboo is considered to be an essential American bamboo as it majorly used for constructing houses, generally at the coastal region and near river banks in Colombia or Ecuador.

This is because the Guadua bamboo has excellent watershed protection qualities. It is also used for its robust and enduring physical properties for making things like vegetable steel.

Unfortunately, in recent times, the natural concentration of this clumping bamboo has depleted due to over-exploitation of the plant. And the only way to get that up again is to ensure the sustainable use of the species.

And one of the significant reasons that necessitate the conservation of the species is that the Guadua bamboo is one of those plants that effectively removes more carbon dioxide from the air than several other kinds of tropical trees.

Giant Bamboo

The Dendrocalamus Giganteus or the Giant Bamboo, as the name suggests, is a massive tropical and subtropical clumper bamboo type. The tree is native Southeast Asia and is evidently one of the largest bamboo species of bamboo in the world.

These bamboos have a somewhat grayish-green color, and they grow in close clumps, usually reaching a height of up to 30 meters, i.e., 98 feet.

It grows out quickly and can, in fact, grow up to 40 centimeters a day if provided with the favorable conditions. The trees can be found commonly thriving along the banks of the river at higher altitudes.

The Giant Bamboo is generally found in Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, and India. The “culms” of these bamboo trees grow out straight and has a kind of powdery or flaky appearance. When these are dried, the color changes into a brownish-green with a smooth surface. Also, the young shoots of the Giant Bamboo have a blackish-purple hue.

One of the major purposes of the Giant Bamboo is that of constructing bridges in India. It is also largely used as a reinforcement of concrete, ladders, scaffolding or house frames in tiles, walls, or floor coverings. The leaves of the trees are commonly used for thatching.

Giant Thorny Bamboo

The Bamboosa Bambos is commonly known as the Giant Thorny Bamboo, Spiny Bamboo or as the Indian Thorny Bamboo. This a clumping bamboo species that is native to Southern Asia. It is extensively found in India, Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh and the Indo-China region.

The plant is also naturalized in Central America, Java, Malaysia, Central America, West Indies, Philippines, and Maluku.

The Giant Thorny Bamboo is a bright-green, tall and spiny bamboo species that grows in dense thickets. These thickets consist of a large concentration of heavily-branched, closely packed culms. The plant can reach a height of up to 10-35 meters, growing naturally in dry forest zones.

The culms of the plant do not grow straight and have stout, curved spines. These are also bright-green in color that turns brownish-green when dried. The young shoots of the plant, however, deep purple.

The branches spread out from the base of the plant and its aerial roots reach up to a few nodes above.

The length of the internodes measures about 15-46 cm in length and about 3.0 to 20 cm in diameter.

The Giant Thorny Bamboo is used in numerous applications, out of which employing their use in making ladders and bridges is a primary one. The leaves of the plant are used for thatching.

The plant is extensively used for medicinal purposes. It contains high levels of silica and is used in several ways in Ayurvedic medications, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis. The root of the plant is used as an astringent and coolant to treat joint pain. The leaves are antispasmodic, and emmenagogue and are often taken internally to induce menstruation as well as relieve menstrual cramps.

The leaves of the plant can also be taken to strengthen and tone muscle functions and to eliminate worms. These also enjoy the reputation of being an aphrodisiac.

The plant is suitably used to make bamboo huts, furniture, handicraft and used as biofuel, active charcoal and for biomass consumption.

Oldham’s Bamboo

The Bambusa Oldhamii is a giant timber bamboo that is popularly called the Oldham’s Bamboo plant. This large species of bamboo is common and largely grown in the United States and is widely cultivated across the globe.

However, the plant is native to Southern China, especially in Guangdong, Fujian, Guangxi, Zhejiang as well as Hainan, and to the Island of Taiwan. It is commonly cultivated in other places such as New Zealand, Chiapas, Peru, Honduras and Ryukyu Islands.

The plant is densely foliated and can grow up to 65 feet (20 m) in height in favorable conditions.

The culms of this bamboo plant reach a maximum of 10 cm (4 inches) in diameter. The shoots grow swiftly in warmer months. The branches of this tree are short and have long, beautiful leaves.

The maximum height reached in cultivation depends on the temperature and varies accordingly. The plant can withstand temperatures as low as -7 degrees Celsius (20 degrees Fahrenheit).

In China and Taiwan, the young shoots of the Oldham’s Bamboo are considered to be delectables owing to their sweet taste and a crisp texture, and it is a favorite amongst locals.

The culms are used for making furniture, but these aren’t really suited for construction.

Runner Bamboo

Runner bamboos are categorized and specified solely on the basis of their rooting characteristics. There are primarily two kinds of “rhizome developments” on the runner bamboos. The runner bamboos exhibit monopodial or leptomorph rhizomes which are recognized for their unique, independent underground stems.

Runner bamboos can be found in almost all climatic conditions of the world.

We have discussed the different types of the runner bamboo in the next few sections for you to know all about.

Dwarf Green Stripe Bamboo

The scientific name for the Dwarf Green Stripe Bamboo is Pleioblastus, and it belongs to the East Asian genus of the monopodial bamboo. It is native to Japan and China and could also be largely found in Korea, Europe, New Zealand and in the Western Hemisphere.

This species of the runner bamboo could be recognized by their chartreuse leaves with green stripes. These look beautiful in the seasons of early summer and spring.

The Dwarf Green Stripe is partly deciduous even during mild winters. This is why it is usually kept closely mowed to the ground in spring by gardeners in order to maintain its beauty.

This hardy runner bamboo is resistant to cold and could survive a temperature down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Some species can even grow in the unbelievably cold weather of Minnesota.

The backs of the bamboo leaves are covered with fine hair that makes the plant highly resistant to the onslaughts of mites and pests.

The plant flourishes underground via rhizomes, running along the surface of the soil and producing tiny plantlets at the nodes.

These can grow into new plants and could be propagated for the purpose. However, gardeners should be careful with the process because if they aren’t removed properly, these could become invasive.

Arrow Bamboo

The Pseudosasa Japonica or Japanese Arrow Bamboo gets its name from the hard canes of the bamboo that the Japanese Samurais used to make their arrows with.

The Arrow Bamboo is native to Korea and to the Japanese regions such as Honshu, and Kyushu.

The plant is also grown in 6-10 plant zones in the United States ranging from Florida to Southern Connecticut.

The Arrow Bamboo is a hardy, cold-resistant species that can survive temperatures till 0 degrees Fahrenheit/ -17.7 degrees Celcius.

The plant has palm-like leaves and can grow up to 5-13 inches. It is yellow-brown and could even survive in containers or in the salty air.

River Cane Bamboo

The Arundinaria Gigantea or the Giant Cane or simply the River Cane Bamboo is native to the South-Central and South-Eastern regions of the United States. These include Oklahoma, Maryland, and Texas. The plant has two main subspecies, namely Arundinaria Gigantea, that is also called the switch cane plant and SSP.Gigante.

It is a perennial grass type and mainly grows in wet or humid conditions. The cane of the bamboo consists of a rounded, hollow stem that can reach a height ranging anywhere between 10m to 33 feet. The plant uses an expansive network formed of underground rhizomes to flourish.

This runner bamboo has lance-shaped leaves the inflorescence of the plant has what are known as racemes or panicles. An individual bamboo cane can live up to a decade.

The River Cane bamboo blooms and seeds irregularly depending on the conditions of its environment.

This bamboo could be found growing in several different places as it is pretty common in oak, pine, cottonwood, ash and cypress forests. Many other plants such as the wax myrtle, creeping blueberry or the blue huckleberry use the River Cane bamboo as a support system.

The bamboo canes could be found at floodplains, bogs and savannas, picossins, riparian woods, pine barrens, and even more places. Although they are tolerant of wildlife, they flood rather easily.

The River Cane bamboo has always been popularly used by the Cherokee to make various objects such as basketry or for maintaining canebrakes through periodic cutting and burning.

The concentration of River Cane bamboos had significantly depleted after the European settlements which resulted in a near loss of the traditional art of Cherokee basket-making which is an essential part of the economy of the Cherokees to this day.

The bamboo was also largely used by indigenous people to make things like bows, medicines, walls, flutes, blowguns, knives, candles, fish traps, tobacco pipes, sleeping mats and so much more!

Black Bamboo

The scientific name for the Black Bamboo is Phyllostachys, and it belongs to the category of Asian bamboos. It is native to Central and Southern China and could also be broadly found in the Himalayan regions as well as the northern Indo-China regions.

Some species of the Black Bamboo have also adapted and flourished in other countries such as America, Australia, and Southern Europe.

The stem or “culm” of the black bamboo develops a noticeable groove known as the “sulcus” that runs along the entire length of each segment or inter-node of the plant.

The Black Bamboo could be identified by this unique groove or sulcus that also helps the plant to grow and spread through underground rhizomes vigorously.

This species of the Phyllostachys can grow up to 100 feet in height if provided with favorable conditions. The even larger species of the plant is known as the timber bamboo as they are often used for construction and to make furniture.

Several other species of the Black Bamboo are often used as ornamental plants even when they are an invasive species that requires to be grown in restricted areas or containers.

Certain species are also grown indoors as bonsais and are highly admired for their beauty.

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Hill Cane

The Arundinaria Appalachian or Hill Cane is a woody runner bamboo. It is native to the Appalachian Mountains in the South-Eastern United States.

The plant is comparatively a small member of its genus and grows only to a maximum height of 0.5-1.8 meter, having a diffuse or dense habit.

It is generally found at elevations of 300 to 800 meters, and at times up to 1065 meters.

It is actually one of the only three temperate bamboo species that are native to North America. The plant is commonly found on dry or “mesic” sites, especially on upland slopes, ridges or bluffs in forests consisting of oak and/or hickory.

The culms of the Hill Cane emerge from subterranean rhizomes. Hill Canes have leptomorph rhizomes that spread horizontally. However, these generally do not reach very far before developing a new culm.

These rhizomes, however, vary a tad bit in morphology than the typical one, in that they possess hollow centers with air canals. Also, the culms have internodes that are smooth and cylindrical, yet, a bit tapering.

The culm-sheaths on the bamboo usually do not shed, but they may eventually fall off late in winter. These “sheaths” generally span 5.5 to 11 cm in length with the oral “setae” measuring as short as 1 to 4.6 mm.

The blades on the culms appear at the highest point of the sheath and are way shorter than the foliage leaves measuring 0.8 to 1.4 cm.

The inflorescence or spikelets are usually of 3 to 5.5 cm long and are typically light reddish-purple in color, with each spikelet containing 5 to 8 florets.

Apart from being common in the Appalachian Mountains, the Hill Cane is also commonly found in upper Piedmont of the South-Eastern US in the Western Carolinas, South-Eastern Tennessee, North-Eastern Alabama, and Northern Georgia.

Conclusion

And with that, we have arrived at the very end of this extensive guide on all the different types of bamboo plants you could generally come across or want to plant indoors or around your house. While some could be easily placed at different places in your home, some others would be too massive in structure or evasive in nature to be brought in your residence.

But, a bit of knowledge in the department could help you identify and use the different types of bamboos for all the kinds of purposes that each is suited for!


10 Outdoor Bamboo Plants You Can Grow In The Garden

Bamboo is a nice evergreen subfamily of treelike grasses.

They are fast-growing and highly-resistant to any kind of weather though full sun fits them best. These plants are more vibrant and grow much faster outdoors.

If you’re looking for some outdoor bamboo plants for your garden, this is the guide you need.

1. Tiger Bamboo

Scientific Name: Phyllostachys nigra ‘Boryana’

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-11

Mature Size: Up to 25 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

Tiger bamboo is a cultivar of Black Bamboo, which is native to China. Its common name comes from the fact that the canes, which are olive green at first, soon develop random brown markings in a pattern similar to a tiger’s coat. By the time the plant is around three years old, the canes will be entirely brown, with a glossy finish. This bamboo is evergreen and produces upright canes with stems that arch over. The plant has narrow leaves that come to a point and can measure up to five inches long.

This is a fast-growing plant that is ideal for quickly creating privacy screening in the garden. It has a more vigorous growth habit than many other types of bamboo, is easy to grow, and is fairly resistant to pests and diseases. The strength of the canes is so great that this type of bamboo is commonly used to create furniture in parts of Asia. Tiger bamboo thrives in fertile soils that are kept consistently moist. It will survive in dry soils and remain clump-forming in these conditions. In ideal growing conditions that are moist and warm, the plant can become invasive.

2. Green Glaucous Bamboo

Scientific Name: Phyllostachys viridiglaucescens

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-11

Mature Size: Up to 25 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

This evergreen bamboo is native to China. It produces upright culms that are a rich, emerald green when young but develop to a bright lime green with age. This can give the effect of a striking two-tone screen when the plant has young and old-growth growing alongside each other. The culms have a smooth texture, broken up by cream-colored node stripes along their lengths.

This plant produces clumps of leaves that are long and narrow, measuring up to seven inches long. The foliage color is what gives this plant its common name, as the leaves are bright green on their upper surface and a glaucous, powder gray on their underside.

This is an easy-to-grow plant that is thick and sturdy and ideal for creating a screen or an informal hedge. It grows as a dense thicket but can become invasive in optimum conditions. It loves warm climates and moist soil but should be grown in a protected position.

3. Blue Bamboo

Scientific Name: Himalayacalamus hookerianus

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8-9

Mature Size: Up to 20 feet tall

Light: Partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

This is an evergreen plant that is native to India and Nepal. Despite being commonly known as ‘blue bamboo,’ the culms of this plant actually appear in a range of beautiful, subdued colors. At first, the culms are a shade of emerald green and soon develop a waxy powder blue coating, which can appear blue or gray depending on the light. As the plant develops, the culms will take on a dark purple hue before finally fading to an orange-yellow. When young and old culms are growing side by side, the resulting effect is a dramatic rainbow of different colored culms.

The foliage of the plant is long and slender, with each leaf reaching around seven inches in length. Foliage is green and shiny on the surface and a paler green beneath. This is a good bamboo to grow if you are worried about the plant becoming invasive because this specific type of bamboo will not grow excessively. It retains its compact clump-forming habit, even in ideal conditions.

This plant should be grown in a position that is sheltered from the wind, from the direct afternoon sun, and from frost. It does not tolerate high levels of heat and should ideally be grown in the light shade because the leaves will quickly curl up when exposed to strong direct light.

4. Dragon Head Bamboo

Scientific Name: Fargesia rufa

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-8

Mature Size: Up to 8 feet tall

Light: Partial shade

Water: Average to high moisture needs

Soil: Moisture retentive, fertile

This is an especially attractive type of evergreen bamboo that is native to China. It has been the recipient of the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society due to its exceptional attributes. When young, the plant produces upright culms in a glossy bright green, which are clump-forming and fairly short compared to other bamboos. These culms arch with age under the heavyweight of the leaves. Foliage is narrow and comes to a point, measuring around four inches in length, with a shiny blue-green surface and pale green matte underside.

This plant has a vigorous growth habit but is non-invasive and instead forms dense clumps. It is easy to grow and works well in a container, as well as for creating a low hedge or informal privacy shield. It can tolerate some direct sun but should be protected from the afternoon sun when the rays are strongest. This is the type of bamboo that is notorious for being a primary source of food for the Giant Panda.

5. Chinese Fountain Bamboo

Scientific Name: Fargesia nitida

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9

Mature Size: Up to 15 feet tall

Light: Partial shade

Water: Average to high moisture needs

Soil: Fertile, moisture-retentive

This is an evergreen plant native to China, which has a delicate and graceful loo, though it is actually very tough. Its culms are long and slender, in a dark shade of green with flushes of purple. The upper portion of the culms produces large sprays of foliage, causing the canes to heavily arch under the pressure of the weight. The leaves are quite short at around four inches in a narrow shape that comes to a point. They have a matte texture, in dark gray-green on the upper sides and pale gray-green underneath.

This is a non-invasive type of bamboo that grows in dense clumps. It is ideally used as a windbreak or a privacy screen, and in spite of its dainty visual appeal, it is able to withstand severe winters of temperatures as low as -4 °F. If you have a shaded spot in the garden, then this is a great choice, as it is one of the best shade-loving types of bamboo. Though it can tolerate some direct sunlight, its leaves respond to strong sunlight by curling up. It should be grown in soil that is consistently moist.

6. Umbrella Bamboo

Scientific Name: Fargesia murielae

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9

Mature Size: Up to 15 feet tall

Light: Partial shade

Water: Average to high moisture needs

Soil: Moisture retentive, fertile

Native to China, this evergreen bamboo is hardy, easy to grow, and adapts well to a variety of growing conditions. It produces tall and slender canes that gently arch from the weight of the densely growing foliage. The leaves of this bamboo reach around four inches in length and are narrow. They are a bright yellow-green on the surface and a dull gray-green beneath.

This bamboo grows in clumps but is not invasive. It is ideal for use as a privacy screen or informal hedge and creates interest and texture in the garden through every season. Umbrella bamboo performs best in partial shade and enjoys moist, rich soils. It is commonly seen growing alongside ponds or riverbanks, where the soil tends to meet these criteria. This is a hugely popular type of bamboo, widely regarded as one of the best and easiest to grow. It has won the Award of Garden Merit for its many outstanding traits.

7. Buddha Belly Bamboo

Scientific Name: Bambusa ventricosa

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-12

Mature Size: Up to 50 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

This is a very decorative type of bamboo that is native to China and notable for its unusual culms that bulge out between each node to give the swollen look of a Buddha belly. It is popularly grown in containers where it does not usually exceed 8 feet in height, though in its natural environment would be expected to grow to between 40 and 50 feet tall. The upright culms of this plant are bright green when young, maturing to a yellow shade as they age but always maintaining their attractive glossy texture.

The foliage of the plant is dark green, with long and narrow leaves that are typically around seven inches long. This plant is non-invasive and can be grown as a privacy screen. It thrives in moist soils, but wet soils should be avoided. In order to produce the most pronounced bulges between each node, the bamboo will need to be under-watered, under-fertilized, or kept root bound in a container.

8. Giant Bamboo

Scientific Name: Dendrocalamus giganteus

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11

Mature Size: Up to 100 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

As you would expect from its common name, this is a very large species of bamboo that is native to Thailand, Burma, and China. It produces incredibly chunky and sturdy upright culms, which vary from dull blue-green to dull dark gray or green in color, and have a powdery white crust covering them in their earlier years. Each culm can measure up to one foot in diameter, and they are shockingly fast at growing, with new shoots able to gain as much as 12 inches in height in a single day.

Giant bamboo can be expected to reach eventual heights of between 80 and 100 feet, with a spread of around half that size. They grow easily and form large clumps. The culms of this bamboo are utilized in making furniture, crafts, and construction. This bamboo thrives in climates with high humidity levels and rich, loamy soil.

9. Tortoise Shell Bamboo

Scientific Name: Phyllostachys edulis ‘Heterocycla’

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-10

Mature Size: Up to 25 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average to high moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

This is an evergreen bamboo native to eastern Asia. It is very rare and highly sought after due to its very unusual looking culms that are visually very different from all other types of bamboo. The lower portion of the culms produce internodes that alternately compress and incline, giving them a curving, almost zig-zag shape. This pattern on the culms is present on the first few feet of growth, and the rest will grow straight and upright.

The culms emerge gray and develop to a yellow-green before finally maturing in green-tinged with orange. They are quite thick and sturdy, measuring around four inches across each. When young, these culms are shrouded in very fine, velvety hair. The foliage of this bamboo is quite small in comparison to the size of the culms, with pale green leaves that grow no larger than four inches long. This bamboo has a vigorous growth habit and can become out of control in ideal conditions. It enjoys rich and fertile soils that are kept consistently moist.

10. Japanese Timber Bamboo

Scientific Name: Phyllostachys bambusoides

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-10

Mature Size: Up to 70 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

This evergreen bamboo is native to China, but it gained the common name of Japanese Timber Bamboo because it is the most widely cultivated type of bamboo in the country, where it is harvested for its timber. The culms grow to great heights, are straight and glossy. They reach about six inches across at maturity and begin out bright green but develop to yellow-green. It grows vigorously and works well to create privacy screening. To keep it growing in clumps, it should be in dry or poor soils. In ideal soils that are moist and fertile, it can become invasive.


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