Japanese Bamboo Garden in United Kingdom, Kew, London

Bamboos are stunning garden plants, their gentle movements, rustling sounds of the leaves, evergreen foliage and colourful stems are some reasons they are popular. 

One place to see the bamboo in all its beauty is the Japanese Bamboo Garden at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London. 

The Bamboo Garden has an amazing collection of Chinese and Japanese bamboo. The garden holds over 130 different types of bamboo plants. In addition, the Tropical Glass House has three tropical giants.
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Chinese and Japanese bamboo gardens

Check out the images and videos of the 13 amazing bamboo plants we’ve recorded over the years. 

Let’s begin with the three giant timber bamboos that are currently growing in Kew Tropical Glass House.

Giant Timber Bamboo (Gigantochloa verticillate)

The giant bamboo is one of the largest bamboo plants you can find in the UK. 

It grows 25-30 metres in the wild, as tall as a tree. 

This bamboo is native to Southeast Asia and New Guinea. 

In the UK, this bamboo reaches over 20 metres.
Gigantochloa verticillate Giant Bamboo Gigantochloa verticillate Giant Bamboo - Kew Royal Botanic Garden (Photo: GBP - Inside Glass House)

Buddha's Belly Bamboo (Bambusa ventricosa)

Buddha belly bamboo, also known as Bambusa ventricosa, is a type of bamboo species that is known for its distinctive swollen stem, which gives it its name. Here are some reasons why:

  • Water Conservation: Buddha belly bamboo is an excellent plant for water conservation because it has a high water-holding capacity. Its swollen stem allows it to store water for long periods, which helps the plant survive during periods of drought. This makes it an ideal plant for areas that receive low rainfall or have limited water resources.

  • Nutrient Conservation: The swollen stem of Buddha belly bamboo also plays an important role in nutrient conservation. The stem stores nutrients, which are used by the plant when it needs them. This helps the plant to survive in nutrient-poor soils and reduces the need for fertilizer applications.

  • Soil Conservation: The extensive root system of Buddha's belly bamboo helps to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. The plant's roots can reach up to several meters deep, which helps to anchor the soil and prevent it from washing away during heavy rainfall or flooding.

The culms are deep dark green smooth and glossy with multiple branches growing at each node.
buddha belly bamboo

Buddha's Belly Bamboo (Bambusa ventricosa)

Bambusa vulgaris

The giant tropical bamboo, Bambusa vulgaris or Common Bamboo, grows in Kew Tropical Glass House. 

It’s an amazing bamboo with glossy green culms, large brown sheaths and hairy rims around the nodes. 

This giant timber bamboo is predominantly used in building and construction or as stakes for large garden plants in rural China.
Bambusa vulgaris

Bambusa vulgaris

Phyllostachys nigra ‘Henonis’ Black bamboo

This is a tall running bamboo with bright green stems that turn olive green. 

It is one of the Black Bamboo cultivars. 

Be careful not to confuse them with Phyllostachys bissettii. 

They both have glossy green leaves, bright green stems and evergreen arching foliage. 

However, looking closely at the matured stems, the Phyllostachys nigra f. henonis will show signs of olive-yellow canes whereas the Green Bamboo Phyllostachys bissettii canes are obviously dark green, with yellow indentations or stripes.

Phyllostachys nigra ‘Henonis’ Black bamboo

Phyllostachys bambusoides var. subvariegata

Phyllostachys bambusoides has several cultivars. 

The var. subvariegata cultivar, as seen in this image, has upright and dark glossy green culms and zigzagged internodes at the base. 

Phyllostachys bambusoides are commonly called the Japanese Timber Bamboo.

Phyllostachys bambusoides var. subvariegata Phyllostachys bambusoides has several cultivars. The var. subvariegata cultiva

Phyllostachys bambusoides var. subvariegata

Phyllostachys nidularia

Phyllostachys nidularia or Broom Bamboo is a stunning bamboo with erect canes. 

It is known as Broom Bamboo because branches and culms are great bamboo brooms. This running bamboo can grow to 4 metres. 

As a precaution, use the root barrier when growing this bamboo, it is one of the invasive species.

Phyllostachys nidularia or Broom Bamboo

Phyllostachys nidularia

Phyllostachys sulphuria var. viridis

Bamboo Phyllostachys sulphurea viridis is a running bamboo also known as the Ougon-kou Chiku or Kou-Chiku bamboo. 

It’s a stunning ornamental plant due to its appearance. 

At 4m average height, this bamboo is a great addition to woodland forests, large gardens and dense garden hedges. It is edible bamboo.
Bamboo Phyllostachys sulphurea viridis

Phyllostachys sulphuria var. viridis

Phyllostachys vivax aureosulcata

Golden Yellow Chinese Timber Bamboo Vivax Golden or Golden Yellow Cane Bamboo is a Tall and thick running bamboo, best for tall hedges and screens. 

The golden stems have spectacular bright green stripes running vertically along the internode. 

Bamboo vivax is an RHS Merit Award-winning bamboo, that grows well in a mild temperate climate.
Golden Chinese Timber Bamboo vivax phyllostachys vivax

Phyllostachys vivax aureosulcata Golden Yellow Chinese Timber Bamboo

Kew's Japanese Bamboo Garden London

Kew’s Bamboo Garden is the best place to see magnificent bamboo plants. 

As mentioned, there are over 130 running and clumping bamboo plants. The giant timber bamboo is about 20 metres tall, reaching the top ceiling of the glasshouse. 

When you’re in Kew Gardens, this is definitely a must-see. These 13 bamboos are our top picks. We hope you like the images and videos. 

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