Bamboo Plants (Bambusa spp.)
Bamboo plants cover a diverse botanical spectrum, including different species, types, sizes and colors. They’re all in the grass plant family (Poaceae), and they typically take one of two primary forms: runners and clumpers. It’s the running types that are invasive, spreading laterally across the landscape as fast as 5 feet each year as they choke other plants in their path. As a rule, clumping types are more restrained as they slowly spread into a circular pattern only an inch or so each year. Some Bamboo plants may reach heights of 120 feet, while others may only grow 12 inches tall. The tall cane-like stems are segmented and the leaves may be solid or striped, depending on variety. Depending on the species and cultivar, Bamboo plants are hardy across USDA plant hardiness zones 4-12.
After plants are established, they prosper in moist soil, but they are also drought-tolerant. Most Bamboo species are adaptable to a variety of soils and are low-maintenance plants.
- Few plants can match Bamboo as a fast-growing green screen.
- Bamboo gives any yard or garden a tropical look.
- As a design element in the garden, Bamboo provides vertical lines that form a backdrop for softer, rounder plants in front of it.
- The root system of Bamboo effectively controls erosion in those hard-to-plant spots in your yard.
- Bamboo is a dramatic container plant.
- You can harvest Bamboo stems at any time to make natural plant stakes.
- In the landscape, Bamboo plants provide shelter for wildlife.
- Bamboo plants prosper in full sun, but they also tolerate part shade or filtered sunlight.
- Dig a hole only to the depth of the rootball and twice as wide.
- Don’t add soil amendments, compost or fertilizer to the planting hole.
- Place the rootball slightly higher than the soil level and gently spread out the roots.
- Backfill the hole with the removed soil and gently firm the soil around the plant.
- Water the plant deeply to eliminate the air pockets in the soil.
- Water. Give newly transplanted Bamboo plants a thorough watering once or twice a week for the first six months. Watering tip: Bamboo leaves will often roll up when the soil is too dry.
- Fertilizer. Wait until the second year after planting to begin fertilizing your Bamboo plant. Apply a water-soluble application of fertilizer, applied at double strength according to the application frequency on the label. Potted Bamboo may need more frequent applications.
- Pruning. You won’t have to prune Bamboo very often. Simply remove all dead canes and older canes to allow for new growth.