Different Types of bamboo

Bamboo, a versatile and rapidly growing plant, belongs to the grass family and is known for its wide range of species and diverse uses. With over 1,000 species, bamboo is found in various climates, from cold mountains to hot tropical regions. Its classification into two primary types - running and clumping - is crucial for gardeners and landscapers.

Running bamboo is known for its aggressive growth pattern. This type spreads quickly through its underground rhizomes, making it a popular choice for creating natural barriers or screens.

However, this rapid growth also necessitates careful management to prevent it from invading other areas. Running bamboo is ideal for large spaces where its growth can be monitored and controlled.

Clumping bamboo, on the other hand, grows in tight clusters, expanding slowly outward. This type is more suitable for smaller gardens or spaces where uncontrolled spreading can be an issue.

Clumping bamboo grows upwards rather than outwards, making it a more manageable and less invasive option for home gardens.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial for anyone looking to incorporate bamboo into their landscape. Selecting the right type based on your space and maintenance capacity can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your garden while ensuring ecological harmony.

Popular Types of Bamboo for Home and Garden

Top Bamboo Varieties for Home & Garden

There are 7 Popular Types of Bamboo for Home and Garden:

  1. Guadua Bamboo: Primarily found in the Amazon basin, Guadua Bamboo thrives in low altitudes, often below 1,500 meters, but can occasionally be found at altitudes over 2,500 meters. This bamboo species is a critical dietary component for Atlantic and Amazonian fauna and serves as a primary building material in coastal regions and riverbanks of America, especially Ecuador. Guadua Bamboo is valued for its watershed protection attributes and mechanical properties. However, over-exploitation has led to a significant depletion of its natural numbers. Growing this type of bamboo can contribute to carbon dioxide reduction, making it an environmentally sustainable choice.
  2. Japanese Arrow Bamboo: Native to parts of Korea and Japan, this bamboo variety thrives in hardiness zones 6 to 10 across the United States, from Florida to Connecticut. Its ability to withstand extremely low temperatures and preference for partial shade makes it versatile for various garden settings. The leaves of the Japanese Arrow Bamboo species, which can grow between 5 to 13 inches, have a yellowish-brown hue, adding a unique colour to garden landscapes. Its historical use by Japanese Samurai for arrow making reflects its cultural significance and the strength of its canes.
  3. Japanese Cane Bamboo: Interestingly, despite its name, Japanese Cane Bamboo is primarily cultivated in China. It is known for its smooth canes and matures into a beautiful dark green shade. This bamboo variety is an excellent choice for those seeking an elegant, smooth-textured addition to their garden.
  4. Hedge Bamboo: The Hedge Bamboo (Phyllostachys glauca) is an evergreen variety known for its beautiful canes that develop from vibrant bluish-green culms. The bamboo loses its turquoise hue as it ages, and the canes appear yellowish-green. It prefers a warm climate to promote rapid growth and can spread up to 20 feet wide, making it an ideal choice for creating a natural barrier or hedge.
  5. Dwarf Green Stripe Bamboo: This East Asian native is particularly striking in the summer and spring with its striped green leaves. It is a deciduous variety, often mowed to the ground during late summer and fall to maintain its appeal. The Dwarf Green Stripe can withstand extreme temperatures, making it a resilient addition to various garden settings.
  6. Green-Glaucous Bamboo: The Green Glaucous bamboo (Phyllostachys viridiglaucescens) is known for its rapidly spreading growth and is often used as a living fence or privacy screen. It starts with deep emerald green canes that transition to lime green and finally to yellowish-green as they mature. This variety is especially noted for its striped canes and comprehensive foliage.
  7. Painted Bamboo: Bambusa vulgaris, commonly known as Painted Bamboo, is an ornamental variety best known for its golden canes with unique stripes and patterns. It can reach heights of 40 to 60 feet, making it a majestic presence in any garden. This bamboo species' elongated and narrow leaves add to its ornamental appeal.

Bamboo Varieties for Specific Purposes

Bamboo types for specific purposes

There are 10 Bamboo Varieties for Specific Purposes:

  1. Chinese Dwarf Bamboo: This variety is characterized by its modest stature, typically reaching around 3 meters in height. Chinese Dwarf Bamboo is ideal for smaller gardens or spaces where a compact yet visually appealing plant is desired. Its relatively small size also makes it suitable for container planting, allowing for garden design and landscaping flexibility.
  2. Slender Weavers: Known for their thin, tall, and straight culms, Slender Weavers (Bambusa textilis var. gracilis) form attractive clumps. Rapidly growing, this bamboo is perfect for creating privacy screens or hedges. Established clumps can spread up to 1.5 meters wide. Planting clumps at 1-meter intervals is recommended for forming a dense wall, making it a popular choice for its aesthetic and functional value in landscaping.
  3. Timor Black Bamboo: A favourite for its striking appearance, Timor Black (Bambusa lako) features glossy black culms and light green foliage, offering a visually striking contrast. While it is best suited for medium or large gardens, its contained growth in planter beds or pots makes it manageable for smaller spaces. This variety is an excellent substitute for the running form of black bamboo, Phyllostachys nigra, and serves as a stunning visual element in garden design.
  4. Giant Bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus): As the name suggests, this bamboo variety is known for its extraordinary height, reaching up to 20 meters. It is an excellent choice for extensive gardens where privacy, even from aerial views like drones, is a priority. Its rapid growth rate makes it an effective and fast solution for creating natural barriers or screens.
  5. Dwarf Green Stripe (Pleioblastus sp.): Dwarf Green Stripe is an excellent choice for ground cover or edging, with its striped yellow and green leaves adding vibrant colour and texture to garden beds. It is a low-growing running bamboo, perfect for covering larger areas or creating lush borders.
  6. Pleioblastus' Tsuboi': This highly ornamental bamboo is also a runner, best grown in pots or planter beds lined with a root barrier. It reaches about 1 meter in height, making it suitable for smaller spaces or as an accent plant in mixed garden beds.
  7. Goldstripe Bamboo: The bamboo type, Bambusa 'Goldstripe', is ideal for compact spaces, growing well in narrow beds. It can be pruned to reveal ornamental green and gold stripes on the culms. Its typical height ranges between 3-4 meters, making it a versatile choice for privacy and decorative purposes.
  8. China Gold Bamboo: With bright lemon-yellow culms and green striations, China Gold (Bambusa eutuldoides var. viridi vittata) is a visually exquisite bamboo. The heavily branched upright culms make it an excellent screening plant. Pruning the lower growth can enhance its ornamental value, revealing the stunning golden canes.
  9. Gigantochloa Apus: Known for its bold size, Gigantochloa Apus is suitable for large spaces, reaching a typical height of 12-15 meters. It significantly impacts landscape design due to its size and presence.
  10. Bambusa' Fernleaf': This variety is excellent for trimming hedges or screens, featuring soft green foliage that emerges from tightly packed culms. It typically reaches about 4 meters in height, making it a manageable and attractive option for various garden sizes.

Each bamboo variety serves specific purposes, from creating dense hedges and privacy screens to adding ornamental value to gardens. Their diverse sizes, colours, and growth patterns provide a wide range of options for gardeners and landscapers to enhance their outdoor spaces' aesthetic and functional aspects.

Bamboo Plant Types for Indoor Use

Indoor Bamboo Plant Varieties

Bamboos are not just limited to outdoor gardens; they can also thrive indoors, given the right conditions. They need an appropriate balance of sunlight, shade, air circulation, and space. It's often best to use pots or containers to control their growth for indoor cultivation, especially for varieties that can increase and become invasive. Here, we explore some bamboo varieties that are well-suited for indoor environments:

  1. Fargesia nitida and its Varieties: Including 'Blue Fountain' and 'Chinese Fountain', Fargesia nitida is an evergreen, non-invasive bamboo, making it an excellent choice for indoor settings. These compact bamboos form dense clumps, with green canes with a purplish tinge and slender dark green leaves. The 'Black Pearl' variety features stunning dark purple and almost black canes, adding a unique aesthetic to indoor spaces.
  2. Shibataea kumasaca: Also known as Ruscus-leaved bamboo, this variety is low-growing and slow-growing, providing year-round colour with slender green canes. Being a dwarf variety, Shibataea kumasaca grows in dense clumps and is an excellent choice for a bamboo houseplant. It requires an ericaceous potting mix for optimal growth.
  3. Phyllostachys nigra: Commonly known as Black Bamboo, this variety is a real showstopper with stunning black canes and green leaves. It can grow pretty tall and is a running bamboo, so controlling its spread is essential, especially in smaller indoor spaces. Initially, it may behave like a clumping bamboo but eventually sends runners underground.
  4. Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis: Known as Showy Yellow Groove Bamboo, this is another running bamboo. It grows fast and straight, making it excellent for creating screens even indoors. The stout canes of this bamboo type are striped green and yellow, with new bamboo shoots displaying a dark pink-red colour. This variety is exceptionally hardy and thrives well in sunny indoor spots.
  5. Phyllostachys bambusoides 'Castillonii': Also known as Castillon bamboo or Japanese timber bamboo, this variety has lovely yellow canes with a striking green stripe. Its dark green leaves and the yellow-green colouration of the canes make it a visually appealing indoor plant. As with other Phyllostachys species, it's a running bamboo, so careful consideration is needed regarding space and containment.


In conclusion, with its diverse varieties and growth patterns, bamboo offers many options for gardeners, landscapers, and indoor plant enthusiasts. The species range from towering giants to compact dwarfs, each with unique characteristics and uses. Whether the goal is to plant an umbrella bamboo tree to create a privacy screen, add a decorative element, or cultivate a serene indoor environment, a bamboo variety suits these needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the two primary types of bamboo?

There are two primary types of bamboo: running and clumping. Running bamboo spreads quickly through its underground rhizomes while clumping bamboo grows in tight clusters and expands slowly outward.

Which bamboo type is more suitable for small gardens?

Clumping bamboo is more suitable for small gardens or spaces where uncontrolled spreading can be an issue, as it grows upwards rather than outwards and is less invasive.

Can bamboo be used to create natural barriers or screens?

Yes, running bamboo is often used for creating natural barriers or screens due to its aggressive growth pattern. However, it requires careful management to prevent it from invading other areas.

What are some popular types of bamboo for home and garden?

Popular types include Guadua Bamboo, Japanese Arrow Bamboo, Japanese Cane Bamboo, Hedge Bamboo, Dwarf Green Stripe Bamboo, Green-Glaucous Bamboo, and Painted Bamboo.

What is the significance of Japanese Arrow Bamboo?

Japanese Arrow Bamboo is historically significant as it was used by Japanese Samurai for arrow making, reflecting its cultural significance and the strength of its canes.

How can bamboo contribute to environmental sustainability?

Growing bamboo like Guadua Bamboo can contribute to carbon dioxide reduction, making it an environmentally sustainable choice.

Are there specific bamboo varieties for creating privacy screens or hedges?

Yes, varieties such as Slender Weavers, Timor Black Bamboo, and Giant Bamboo are perfect for creating privacy screens or hedges due to their tall, dense growth.

Can bamboo be grown indoors?

Yes, certain bamboo varieties like Fargesia nitida, Shibataea kumasaca, and Phyllostachys nigra are well-suited for indoor environments, provided they have the right conditions.

How should bamboo be managed when grown indoors?

It's often best to use pots or containers to control their growth for indoor cultivation, especially for varieties that can overgrow and become invasive.

What are some considerations when selecting a bamboo variety for indoor use?

When selecting a bamboo variety for indoor use, consider its growth pattern, space requirements, and the balance of sunlight, shade, and air circulation needed for optimal growth.

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