What Bamboo Can I Grow?

Bamboo belongs to the grass family, a characteristic most frequently emphasised. There are at least 1,000 species known to botanists and more are being documented. The huge differences between bamboo running and clump-forming bamboo give bamboo growers a wide range of plants to grow in the garden. So, if you are asking the question 'What Bamboo Can I Grow', you've come to the right place.

Here we take a look at the standout bamboo cultivars that feature prominently in many gardens around the world.

What bamboo grows best near me?

Bamboo plants range from the Southeast Asian giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus), which may grow to be 30 metres tall, to the 45 cm long pygmy bamboo (Pleioblastus pygmaea).

Bamboo plants are common in Asia and are also native plants of North America, the Pacific, and Africa. Some species also are native to the United States and Mexico.

For Europe and the United Kingdom landscapes, the clump-forming bamboo species are greatly preferred over running types, which can be invasive. Also, running species grow best in warmer parts of Europe.

Here in the UK, many clump-forming bamboos such as  Fargesia murielae Simba perform well. Unlike popular belief, they can be slow to grow in the cooler areas however thrive when mature.

Feature bamboo: Bamboo murielae rufa is a variety of Fargesia cultivars from Southeast Asia. Plants grow rapidly and feature dense (umbrella) canopy, ideal for privacy screens.

What bamboo plant can I grow?

One of the award-winning running bamboo species in Europe and the UK is the Black Bamboo Nigra

The Black Bamboo is outstanding because it behaves like clump-forming bamboo in the cooler area. This cold-hardy bamboo plant grows 4 to 6 metres tall in rich soil. It produces chocolate dark stems where there is plenty of direct suns. 

For dense screens along boundaries, grow the bamboo plants 2 - 4 metres apart. 

The umbrella bamboo cultivars owe their elegance to densely packed leaves and arching foliage. Their sheer thickness bends the bamboo stems, giving the impression of cascading plumes of foliage that sway in the slightest breeze.

Where can I buy bamboo plants?

Clump-forming bamboo plants range in height and provide additional options. One of them is Seabreeze bamboo, which grows rapidly to 12 metres in height. It tolerates pruning well, so it’s often used as a soft hedge.

A favourite of bamboo lovers in mild areas is the Phyllostachys aurea (Fish-pole golden bamboo), a 2-4 metres slender stem bamboo that gives the best garden sticks. It is winter hardy to - 20 degrees Celcius. 

Potted plants of the bamboo mentioned are available online.

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