Bamboo plants are a graceful member of the grass family. There are two main kinds of bamboo: clumping and running. Within those two different kinds of bamboo there are 45 genres with more than 1,200 species. Clumping bamboo is called so because it grows in large clumps. Although the roots of this kind of bamboo can be very competitive with close by plants, it is not as invasive as the running bamboo. Running bamboo can actually take over your yard and your neighbor's yard in a very short time. The answer to this problem is simply to plant your bamboo in a pot, underground. In this way, the roots cannot spread, and you may enjoy the loveliness of the bamboo tree without regretting your choice.
Great Wall Bamboo
The Great Wall bamboo grows clumps that resemble fountains, with canes covered in a bluish powder. This is an attractive landscape clumping bamboo that will tolerate extremely cold temperatures to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Not every bamboo needs a tropical climate. Reaching 12 to 15 feet in height, it is perfect for a tall, yet not oversized, wall or hedge. Consider the Great Wall bamboo when there is a need for privacy or protection against wind.
The attractive black canes (showing the second year) with the contrast of green leaves of the Black Bamboo makes it an excellent landscaping plant. However, it does grow to a mature height of 20 to 35 feet, depending on climate zone. If this is too tall for your taste, merely keep it trimmed to the height you prefer. This is the same type of bamboo used for making furniture and for decorative timber building. The plant will withstand temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a running bamboo.
Big Leaf Bamboo
Big Leaf bamboo is one of the taller dwarf running bamboos. The most recognizable characteristic of this slow growing plant are its large, shiny leaves that are the largest of any bamboo tree; they can grow up to 2 feet in length. The tree's mature height is up to 6 feet. It is a shade-loving plant, preferring only morning sun with full to partial shade at all other times. It will tolerate cold temperatures to -15 degrees Fahrenheit, even though it has a very tropical appearance. This is a good bamboo choice for a potted plant on the deck, porch or patio, where it will have overhead shade.