Bamboo for Planting


Almost any kind of bamboo is going to grow well in its established climate zone. Bamboos can be planted from potted nursery stock or from rhizomes purchased at a home and garden center or online. Planting bamboo is not difficult. However, some types can become invasive if their growth area is not properly limited.

Bamboo Types

There are two basic types of bamboo: clumping bamboo and bamboo that reproduces using runners, often called running bamboo. Clumping bamboo reproduces by extensions that are similar to runners. These grow slowly, so the bamboo spreads by sending up canes next to existing canes. Running bamboo sends out runners, sometimes over great distances, to create new bamboo populations. Running bamboo must be planted inside a bamboo barrier.

Clumping Bamboo

Clumping bamboos tend to spread at a rate of 1 to 2 feet per year, making managing their growth much easier. Common types of clumping bamboo include the 10- to 14-foot-tall umbrella bamboo, the 10- to 15-foot-tall Fargesia denudate and the 7- to 10-foot-tall rufa.

Running Bamboo

Running bamboo can spread at 3 to 5 feet per year, with some varieties sending runners out even farther. Common varieties of running bamboo include the 30-foot-tall yellow grove, 25- to 30-foot golden crookstem, the 25- to 30-foot nude sheath bamboo and the 20- to 35-foot black bamboo.

Bamboo Barriers

Bamboo barriers for running bamboo need to be a minimum of a 60-mil high-density polyethylene barrier. Some people plant running bamboo inside poured concrete containers. For very small plantings, a plastic garbage can with the bottom removed can serve as a good bamboo barrier. Make sure, however, that whatever barrier you install goes down a full 36 inches below ground with 3 to 4 inches above ground.

Climate Zones

Bamboo varieties exist for United States Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 5 through tropical zones too warm to be listed by the USDA. The key to successfully planting bamboo in your climate zone is to select a variety that will survive the harshest winters in your area. In some cases, bamboos recommended for USDA hardiness zone 5 may grow in zone 4, as long as you accept that the canes will die off down to the ground, thus limiting the height that the bamboo can reach in a particular year.

Keywords: bamboo growing, bamboo cultivation, bamboo basics

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.