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Different types of bamboo: learn about bamboo plants for the garden

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Clumping bamboo grows just as the name suggests ” in a big clump of grass that mainly grows up and stays put where you’ve planted it. This is the recommended type if you want a well-behaved bamboo stand in your garden that you don’t have to worry about spreading.

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Running bamboo, on the other hand, will spread like crazy if not kept in check. It propagates by sending out underground runners, called rhizomes, which send up new shoots elsewhere. These rhizomes can travel more than 100 feet before sprouting, meaning your new bamboo patch may suddenly become your neighbor’s new bamboo patch as well. And then their neighbor’s. Because of this, you should not plant running bamboo unless you know how to contain it and are willing to keep an eye on it.

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You can achieve a containing effect underground by surrounding the bamboo with metal sheeting, concrete, or a store-bought root barrier, buried a minimum of 2 feet below ground and extending a minimum of 4 inches above ground. Bamboo roots are surprisingly shallow, and this should stop any runners. You should still check on the bamboo regularly, though, to make sure no rhizomes have escaped. Planting your bamboo in a large above-ground container that does not rest on soil is a more foolproof option.

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Common Bamboo Varieties

Bamboo is an evergreen grass that has different cold tolerances for different types of bamboo. The varieties of bamboo you can plant outdoors will be dictated by the coldest temperature your area reaches in winter.

Cold-hardy types

Three running bamboo varieties that are very cold hardy include:

  • Golden Grove
  • Black bamboo
  • Kuma bamboo
  • Two cold hardy clumping bamboo plant types are:
  • Chinese Mountain
  • Umbrella bamboo
  • The warmer your climate, the more your options you have for different types of bamboo.

  • Warm climate types
  • Clumping bamboo varieties:
  • Chinese Goddess
  • Hedge bamboo
  • Fernleaf Silverstripe
  • Running types include:
  • Black bamboo
  • Red Margin Golden Golden
  • Giant Japanese Timber

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