Bamboo Download Printable PDF here
Bamboo is the plant to select when looking to create an Asian themed garden. It is typical of tropical theme, and can look stylishly understated planted on its own. Bamboo can create a wonderfully calming and peaceful feel in the garden, and the foliage blowing in the breeze is another sensory element that gives it appeal.
Bamboo is fast growing and low maintenance, depending on which variety you select and what look you want to achieve.When selecting bamboo it is very important to determine whether it is a runner or a clumping form. Runners will spread under fence lines into neighbours backyards which can become a nuisance. Clumping bamboo can potentially expand quite wide, so ensure that you have enough space for this to occur.
Specimen/feature plant, privacy/screening, pots, grove planting, shade, noise barrier, windbreak, erosion control, air purifying, edible shoots (on some varieties), tropical/Asian/modern gardens.
For screening purposes, here’s a guide of planting distances:
If you prefer to feature the individual plants, rather than create a dense screen, expand the distances above to allow more room around the main clump.
Bamboos can tolerate a range of soil types however good drainage is essential.
Best in full sun, but will grow in part shade.
Some bamboos carry the majority of foliage across the top, revealing bare culms, others shoot foliage from the base up. If you want more of the culms to be visible from the base, simply trim off new shoots from the base. If you cut bamboo across the culm however, it will not continue growing up from the cut. Bamboos can be sheared to form hedges too.
Bamboo is fairly drought tolerant, however best to give additional water in hot weather. They drop leaves naturally, but the extra water will help reduce leaf drop.
Bamboo will benefit from pelletised slow-release fertiliser that is high in nitrogen and also a liquid fertiliser. A soil conditioner is recommended when plants may be struggling, however Bamboo is generally very hardy and will grow well by themselves.
Goldstripe Bamboo >> Bambusa multiplex ‘Goldstripe’
Named Goldstripe because of the golden stripes that appear on the bamboo culms, this is clumping bamboo great for screening. Similar to B. Gracilis, it has uniform sized culms that arch at the top. Leaves will appear from the base up. Goldstripe is resistant to the fungus sooty mould and is also drought tolerant.
Height: 4m Width: 1.5m
Blue Bamboo >> Bambusa chungii
Blue Bamboo is a highly ornamental variety with lovely blue/green thick culms. With a more open habit than other clumping bamboos, it is good for informal screening, and looks stunning mass planted in an avenue style where it will arch over a walkway, creating shade. It needs space to grow into its full form, and is fast growing. Will grow in part shade to full sun.
Height: 10m Width: 2m-3m clump
Timor Black Bamboo >> Bambusa lako
A stunning bamboo with thick black shiny culms, marked with thin lime–green streaks. Can be planted in a clump on its own or mass planted for informal screening. Foliage is quite large in size and contrasts well with the black stems. It can grow up to 12m high, however it can be hard-pruned to form a neat hedged look. Best grown in full sun, but will grow in part shade too.
Height: 12m Width: 2m clump
Gracilis Bamboo >> Bambusa textilis ‘Gracilis’
A tall and fast growing clumping bamboo, ideal for creating privacy. Can grow in narrow garden beds such as along fence lines and driveways, and can be sheared to create a more formal look. It has great uniformity in its shoots which arch gracefully from the top. Can also be grown in large ornamental pots and containers. Foliage can be removed from the base to expose the culms. Will tolerate windy positions and is drought tolerant. Gracilis will grow in part shade to full sun.
Height: 6m-8m Width: 2-4m
Yellow Stem Bamboo >> Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’
Alphonse Karr Bamboo has a short, bushy habit. It has golden-coloured culms and lime-green foliage. In humid environments, it is susceptible to mealy bug, so it is better grown in colder climates where it will tolerate temperatures down to –12 degrees. Creates an oriental feel in the garden. Good in pots.
Height: 4m Width: 1-2m
Giant Timber Bamboo >> Bambusa oldhamii
A tall growing bamboo suitable only for acreage or large blocks. Fast growing with strong, wide culms up to 10cm in diameter. Plant in full sun. Very hardy.
Height: 12m Width: 2-3m clump base
Giant Buddha's Belly Bamboo >> Bambusa vulgaris ‘Wamin’
A bamboo with distinctive ribbed culms. Culms arch in different directions unlike the more traditional upright forms of bamboo. When planting, the soil needs to be well turned to prevent the plant from being stunted. Best planted in full sun. A stripy variety is also in cultivation which has striped culms.
Height: 6m Width: 3m-4m clump base
China Gold Bamboo >> Bambusa eutuldoides viridi-vittata
A clumping bamboo known for its tolerance of drought conditions. It has distinctive bright yellow culms with thin green stripes. China Gold Bamboo has a tight growing habit with dense foliage. It is a superb screening bamboo, and is fast growing. Foliage may be from the bottom so that the decorative culms can be viewed and appreciated. Will grow in full sun to part shade.
Height: 10m Width: 2m-3m clump base
Malay Dwarf Bamboo >> Bambusa heterostachya variegata
Not your typical bamboo, Malay Dwarf has a dense bushy habit which makes it great for hedging. It has variegated green and white striped foliage which hides the culms. Fast growing, it will fill out in a very short period of time. Will grow in full sun to part shade and is drought tolerant. Can be used as a contrast against burgundy or deep green coloured plants.