Bamboos for the Garden

Bamboos grow well in most parts of the world, and can be appropriate to gardens almost anywhere provided you select an appropriate variety to suite the climate and situation it is used in; then treat it according to that situation. Bamboo poles have also been used as construction material in gardens (and elswhere) for centuries.
Stands of bamboos can provide an Asian feel of theme to the garden, whether small or large varieties are used.

  • Clumping types produce tight stands of bamboos, relatively easy to maintain and good to use for most landscape jobs.
  • Running types have been known to escape into other properties and can be very difficult if not almost impossible to contain.

For most landscape jobs, clumping forms are the preferred bamboos to use.

 

Landscape use of Bamboos:

Classic Chinese design places running bamboos at a distance to provide a vivid background due to its fine texture. Clumping bamboos were placed predominately in the foreground, with a few placed between fore and background to harmonise the arrangement.

 

Clumped bamboos are best scattered sparsely over a landscape, not evenly positioned.

 

The number of culms left to grow and develop in the clump may affect the density of the clumps appearance. If too thick, it may cut out attractive views. If too thin, it may allow too much breeze through. A balance needs to be established, which will be different for each landscape location.

Thinning may also lighten the landscape by allowing light to permeate to the ground.

 

Running bamboos can be used to make hedges whereas clumping groups are best used as a standard tree specimen.

 

Paths which pass through a bamboo grove were called 'Bamboo Paths' according to ancient Chinese landscape architects. They are perfect cool zones to escape hot summers.

 

A classic location near pond or river banks, or near rocks tend to emphasis the structure of the bamboo and the surrounding features.

 

In domestic gardens serious consideration should be given to pest potential of the bamboo. If running types are desired, ensure planting location is far enough away from services and structures and that there is some kind of solid structure in the ground to control stolons. Bamboo has been known to come up through slabs of concrete. Placing running bamboos in pots raised above the ground can aid control.


 

 

 

Botanical Name

Common name

Bamboo Group/Type

Height

Culm Features

Leaf Features

Arundinaria anceps

-

Running

up to 4m

shiny green to matt green-brown

narrow and short

Bambusa eutuldoides

Dai Ngan

Clumping

12m

erect, dense

 


Bambusa glaucescens

-

Clumping

8m

matt yellow

Medium green

Bambusa heterostachya 'Variegata'

Variegated Malay Dwarf

Clumping

3m

Silver stripped

 


Bambusa 'Alphonse Karr'

Yellow Stem Hedge

Clumping

8m

Green with yellow stripes

 


Bambusa 'Golden Goddess'

Golden Goddess

Clumping

4m

Golden colour when mature

Medium green

Bambusa 'Riviereorum'

Chinese Goddess

Clumping

3-4m

Yellow

Fern-like

Bambusa oldhamii

Oldham's Sweetshoot

Clumping

10m

Straight

Dark green broad

Bambusa textilis var gracilis

Slenders Weavers

Clumping

5m

Thin-walled, slender

Small

Bambusa vulgaris 'Vittata'

Painted

Clumping

15m

Yellow with green stripes

Dark green

Dendrocalamus latiflorus

Sweet

Clumping

24m

Straight green

Large dark green

Drepanostachym hookerianum

-

Clumping

6m

Stripes of yellow, pink, pale green and cream

Green to 30cm long

Gigantochloa sp

Timor giant Black

Clumping

20m

Mature to dark purple

 


Gigantochloa apus

String

Clumping

20m

Dark grey-green

Huge green

Gigantochloa atter

-

Clumping

20m

Straight green

 


Indocalamus tesselatus

-

Clumping

1m

Arching stems

Big shiny matt dark green

Otatea acuminata var azetecorum

Mexican Weeping

Clumping

15m

Slender black

Long narrow attractive

Phyllostachys aureosulcata

-

Running

10m

Mature to yellow

Small green

Phyllostachys humilis

-

Running

5m

Grey-green

 


Phyllostachys nigra

 


Running

5m

Mature to shiny black and arched

small

Pleioblastus fortunei

 


Running

40cm

Green

white and green striped

Pseudosasa japonica

 


Running

3.5m

Green

Shiny, leathery

Sasa veitchii

 


Running

1.5m

Dark green to light green

Dark wide green

Schizostachyum brachycladum

-

Clumping

13m

Erect yellow with green stripes

 


Schizostachyum

jaculans

-

Clumping

8m

Tight culms

Abundance of green

Semiarundinaria fastuosa

Column

Running

7m

Erect, green to dark brown

 


Thalmocalamus tesselatus

-

Clumping

2-4m

Erect, almost reddish in full sun

Blue-green

Thrystachys siamensis

Monastry

Clumping

13m

Delicate erect

Attractive fine

 

Want to Learn More?

 

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In Australia: www.acs.edu.au/Courses/horti.aspx


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