Bamboo grows natively in many areas of the world, including colder mountainous areas and cooler regions. Although some bamboo is evergreen, others may die off during bitterly cold winters. Varieties rated for colder climates often don't suffer from leaf and cane die off at the same rate as other bamboos, and thus can be considered evergreen.
Bamboo is native to many parts of the world, including areas in climates where below-freezing temperatures are common. When selecting a hardy bamboo, select a variety native to a colder region, such as Phyllostachys aureosulcata or another type of Chinese mountain bamboo.
The Phyllostachys aureosulcata bamboo grows in visually interesting zig-zag patterns. Although not usable for many building materials, this bamboo is cold hardy to zones 4 or 5, according to Lewis Bamboo. According to Burt Associates Bamboo, Borinda maccluriana is a clumping bamboo from Tibet that is cold hardy down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Burt Associates also lists the Chinese clumping bamboo Fargesia denudata as cold hardy down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. They also suggest that Fargesia murielae, Fargesia nitida and Fargesia nitida are all very cold hardy and able to withstand temperatures down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although many bamboos are listed as being evergreen, temperatures below freezing may result in some leaf kill. Even so, very cold hardy bamboos will often keep some of their green leaves even when temperatures are well below freezing.
Some very cold hardy bamboos propagate via rhizomes that run underground and create new plants relatively far from the parent plants; such bamboo can become invasive and spread rapidly. The other main type of bamboo is clumping bamboo, which is not invasive.
Planting Running Bamboo
When planting running bamboo, the more invasive type, it is very important to install a bamboo barrier. Bamboo barriers are plastic sheets or barriers that go down at least 3 feet and stick up above the ground several inches to block the spread of the bamboo rhizomes. Failure to install a barrier can result in bamboo quickly spreading to unwanted areas.