Selecting the right bamboo variety for your landscape:
Different bamboo species have evolved to live in different environments. You should match your plant selection with your landscape conditions to ensure your plants thrive. (See our Catalogue website page.) The main considerations are: 1) Sun or light levels, 2) Clumping vs. spreading, 3) Desired height, 4) Moisture.
Light levels – For sunny landscapes with southern or western exposures select from the sun-loving groups (genera) such as the Phyllostachys, Semiarundinaria, or Chusqueas. They tend to be taller bamboos, from 15 to 60 feet, and there are dozens of options. Most are tolerant of lower light levels too, provided they get a few hours of direct sunlight, although they will grow slower. However, other bamboo species have evolved in the shade under trees and their foliage will burn in bright locations with southern or western exposures. They will only look their best with afternoon shade or light filtering through trees (softer morning sun is usually OK). These tend to be smaller bamboo species, two to 18 feet high, often with larger leaves to collect more light energy, and many belong to the Fargesia, Sasa, and Pleioblastus genera. (See our Bamboos website page.) Generally, sun loving bamboos will manage in semi-shade if they get a few hours of direct sunlight but shade lovers will burn in the afternoon sun.
Spreading or clumping?
Spreading bamboos send out underground rhizomes to populate surrounding areas. Some spread very slowly, only a few inches a year, while others can move quickly, sending up shoots three or more feet from the original mother plant. They can be very useful if a large hedge or screen is required quickly or erosion control on steep hillsides is needed. Underground bamboo barrier can be installed to control spreaders and a reduction in fertilizer and water will slow them down once they reach desired size. Our dry summer climate makes spreaders easier to control (just stop watering) but avoid planting very fast spreaders such as Phyllostachys vivax next to your vegetable garden or property line unless a bamboo barrier is installed. The slower spreading bamboos (Phyllostachys aurea ‘Koi’ or Phyllostachys aurea ‘Holochrysa’ and Phyllostachys bambusoides ‘Castillonis’ or Phyllostachys bambusoides ‘Allgold’ for example) are an excellent option if you want the size and vigor of a spreading bamboo with slower expansion and lower maintenance.
Desired height - Each species of bamboo is genetically pre programmed to grow to a specific height, although this can be affected by environmental influences (water, fertilizer, climate, soil, light). This makes bamboo very useful for low maintenance hedges and screens, as top trimming and ladders will not be necessary. Therefore, select your bamboo carefully for the desired height. (See our height column in the Bamboos page.)
Moisture – Bamboo benefits from regular irrigation during our dry summers, but needs good drainage during our wet winters. Waterlogged soils will kill most plants, including bamboo. In summer, especially over the first few years, water new bamboo two or three times a week in dry weather until it is well established. Bamboo tends to be shallow rooted and will not do well under large evergreen trees unless appropriate species are planted and irrigated well.
Some drought resistant species - Sasa veitchii, Sasa palmata, Fargesia robusta ‘Wolong’, Chusquea culeou, Chusquea gigantea
|Bamboo is different from most plants, in that it is genetically programmed to grow to a specific height See More...|
|Some people think of bamboo as an unstoppable force that will invade and dominate See More...|
|While some species do much better than others in pots, most bamboo See More...|
|How much does bamboo cost?||Although bamboo is generally tough and fast growing once established See More...|
|If you can manage a lawn you can grow bamboo. Both are grasses and both will thrive in our climate See More...|
|Clumping bamboo species will not spread and are generally low maintenance plants. See More...|
|Fast growing, spreading bamboos are useful for producing a lush, tropical effect and high vertical screens quickly See More...|
|Dig a hole twice as large as the pot containing the bamboo. If the excavated soil See More...|
|The majority of our customers buy bamboo for hedging and it makes an excellent screen for a number of reasons See More...|