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Sagano Bamboo Forest
Kyoto Basin, Japan

click pic to enlarge

Zone 7-10

Most folks think Bamboo is for sure a tropical plant. Yet some species can handle down to -20 degrees.  Further, some bamboo varieties like shade but most like full sun


Budda Bamboo
Bambusa vulgaris wamin

click pic to enlarge


Some species are very small, suitable for pots, and others can grow 100 foot canes. The canes of the largest varieties are used like wood for home construction, indoor paneling or fine tropical furniture, like Bambusa oldhamii, known as "Giant Timber Bamboo"

Bambusa oldhamii, click pics to enlarge

Bamboo is not a swamp plant

Bamboo is actually grass

For example, when you feed, use a lawn type fertilizer (high nitrogen) but not a weed/feed type product. However, plenty of bamboo aficionados prefer organic slow-release formulations to chemical foods

There is no particular care for bamboo if you have a variety suited to your climate zone. Soil can be a negative factor if too thick (clay) or rocky, but ordinary soils are usually adequate

In Florida, many of the more exotic bamboo types are susceptible to insects so spraying or systemic insecticides are needed ongoing

Bamboo grows from rhizomes, like roots, an underground food-storing system. The tropical (clumping) types are known as Sympodial and (temperate climates types), Mondopodial

In Florida we are blessed to enjoy numerous exciting bamboo varieties. Pictured at the top of the page is Budda Bamboo, known for its bulging canes and modest non-aggressive size

We have also planted the rare Blue Bamboo (Bambus (Lignania) chungii), and the equally rare yellow striped Dendrocapamus latiflorus Mei-Nuug. Bamboo also comes in black

Black Bamboo, click pics to enlarge

Many varieties can be wonderful in your landscape for tropical effects and exclusivity of style. The problem is uncommon bamboo is hard to find and always extremely expensive. Small 3-gal rare varieties (say 24-30 inches tall) can cost $150 retail. That's what we planted and two years later became full and totally established

For tropical accents, you can't beat bamboo. For exclusivity, bamboo is unusual to see. As a screen, bamboo is unexcelled. Our favorite feature is with some wind, the canes clink together to make bamboo music

Interested in more bamboo information? Start at the American Bamboo Society

By the way, Lucky Bamboo is not bamboo, more is here