Most people already know that bamboo is a beautiful, exotic plant that comes in a variety of colors to brighten up the landscape. However, bamboo is also associated with being an invasive plant that can quickly take over an area. Today we are setting out to spread the facts about

bamboo that people don’t know. For example, not all bamboo varieties are invasive and can be easily controlled. Also, bamboo is extremely easy to care for and grows very well in containers as the perfect houseplant.

What is Bamboo?

Bamboo is actually a fast growing type of woody grass that is often mistaken for a tree. It has hollow shoots that grow straight upwards and produce leaves. It’s the largest member of the grass family and is considered to be one of the fastest growing plants in the world. There are over 1,000 different types of bamboo, so there is a pretty high chance that you’ll find the perfect variety for your landscape.

Why Plant Bamboo?

Bamboo comes in a variety of different colors with their stalks ranging from reds and yellows to light and dark greens. Add a few stalks here and there in your landscape as accent pieces or as the center of attention for an explosion of color.

A few varieties of bamboo have a growth rate of 10 or more feet per year and with the ability to spring up and block your neighbor’s view of your yard and home in the blink of an eye.

long-bambooIf planted in rows bamboo makes for an attractive hedge that can easily be kept at a certain height. You don’t have to worry about hurting your bamboo if you prune it because it’s quick to regenerate.

When planted in groups bamboo prevents soil erosion on slopes and hills. The regenerative properties of bamboo allows it to be used as an ecofriendly resource for making paper, food, furniture, homes and more.

If you have limited space or have the desire to bring bamboo inside your home, don’t hesitate. Simply place it in a container. Potted bamboo looks excellent on porches, patios and as indoor décor. Not only will bamboo flourish in low light conditions inside but it will also bring fresh air, peace, and luck.

But How To Stop The Spreading?

Running bamboo plants are the varieties that can spread out over large areas. They have roots called rhizomes that spread out horizontally from the root system and produce new shoots. The rhizomes stay close to the surface and can be found about 10 to 12 inches below the soil line.

iStock_000012732829_LargeOne way to stop running bamboo is to get a clumping bamboo variety. Clumping bamboo doesn’t send out rhizome roots. Instead of spreading out over several feet they get a few inches wider. Clumping bamboo tends to have a faster growing rate because it grows taller instead of spreading outwards.

However, what if you like the look of a running bamboo, and you would like to keep it controlled in your yard? There are a number of solutions when it comes to easily maintaining running bamboos.  For example you can plant running bamboo in a container to keep inside or out. To make a privacy fence you can plant bamboo in a long container or multiple containers side by side. The bamboo will still fill in to form a solid living wall.

In the ground you can maintain running bamboo by mowing around the edges of its planting location. It will not harm the plant or the mower to ride over new shoots.

Another option would be to dig a trench around your bamboo that is about 10 to 12 inches deep. The bamboo roots that spread stay close to the surface, and you’ll be able to see them poking through the sides of trench. When you see them cut them with a pair of hand pruners, loppers, or a sharp shovel.

If you don’t want a small trench that’s constantly open in your yard fill it with sand. Once or twice a year take a sharp shovel or spade and send it through the sand to cut any running roots. Instead of filling the trench with sand you can place a solid SunsetGlowBamboo-6-220material like high density plastic in the trench around your bamboo. You can fully enclose it with this material or leave one or more sides open. The runners won’t grow past this barrier. Once you’ve placed the barrier in the trench you can back fill it in with soil.

A common solution would be to plant your bamboo in a raised planting bed that’s surrounded by walls or cement.


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How To Take Care of Bamboo?

Bamboo-HedgeBamboo is often the go to plant for something that is low maintenance and fuss free. They are perfect for beginners if planted indoor or out.

Plant your bamboo in an area that receives full to partial sunlight. Bamboo will grow in a variety of different lighting conditions. Bamboo will grow the fastest in full sun, but young plants may need protection from the harsh summer heat if planted during the summer months.

iStock_000021909782_LargeYour bamboo will adapt to your natural soil even if it’s sandy or heavy in clay as long as it drains well. Make sure that your bamboo gets about an inch of water per week, either from rainfall or by hand. By adding a 3 inch layer of mulch around your bamboo you’ll help the soil retain moisture and nutrients.

Every year in the early spring give your bamboo a little well balanced, organic fertilizer like formula 10-10-10.

If you plan to keep your bamboo in a container make sure that it has drainage holes at the bottom. Water your potted plant until you see liquid draining from the bottom of the pot. Potted bamboo will need water more often than bamboo planted in the ground. Bring your container bamboo indoors once the weather starts to turn cold, or insulate the pots with mulch and wrap the container in an insulating material like burlap to keep to roots warm in areas with extremely cold weather.

Don’t Be Bamboozled!

IMG_1359Don’t deny yourself the pleasure bamboo can bring to your home and landscape with its unique texture and marvelous color. With its extremely fast growth rate your yard will be popping with color before you know it, plus you can quickly grow a privacy screen to block out prying neighbors. Don’t let rumors of bamboo being extremely invasive stop your gardening dreams. Check out the clumping varieties or take the simple steps to control running varieties.

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12 years ago I was sitting around, talking with two of my favorite, fellow Plant Geeks. We were trying to figure out why so many, superior plant varieties were not available to the public and were seldom offered in Garden Centers. Instead, the stores sold less attractive, older varieties, proven to be disease and insect prone. They also sold the sprays and chemicals that their customers would eventually need. The Ah Ha moment hit us and a company was formed. We decided that we would only offer the highest quality plants that must be Easy to Grow.
  • We planted a non-invasive bamboo a couple years ago to start a screen for our back deck and spa. It’s starting to take off well. We have on big problem though… how do you get rid of all the pesky pandas???

    • AllisonTrees

      Hmm… It sounds like you can easily distract them from eating all your bamboo by letting them enjoy your back deck and spa. 😉

    • malcolm johnston

      Take my advice, enjoy them while they are at their cute cuddly ‘teddy bear’ stage, they’ll soon be hanging out in your jacuzzi with their pack of bamBIMboos knawing at your oriental bamboo shoots and knockin’ back your Kirin Stout as if it were the swill of ‘Coors Light’ (Der Not See’s Vinest) !!

  • Goudeuk

    I can not find the sunset glow variety anywhere online? Any suggestions please?

  • Sara Michelle

    Please tell me the best clump bamboo for south Mississippi? How far from the neighbor’s fence is safe for their peace of mind and can I plant near septic leach lines with out damage down the road? Thank you

  • Gil Hernandez
  • Tracy

    I live in Louisville, KY in a very old part of town where putting up a privacy fence isn’t an option due to the massive amounts of tree roots. I have one of those neighbors. One that buys Wanting to form a bamboo hedge as a fence line to block my neighbors junk. I want it to grow tall and spread wide, but not deep due to AC unit. Any suggestions on bamboo that will grow tall and spread in width?

    • Amanda

      Hello Tracy! Depending on your growing zone, the Black Bamboo would be a good choice for you. It’s recommended for growing zones 6-10 which is determined by your zip code. One plant would reach about 15-25 ft. in height and 5-10 ft. in width. You can learn more about it on our website here:

  • Tara Aden-Bonnell

    I am wanting to block my neighbors backyard few from my balcony. I was thinking about putting bamboo plants in pots and placing them on the edge of my balcony. Not sure where to begin and if they even grow the area I live in. I live in the desert, it gets up into the 100’s at times and lots of sun. Will they survive? Please help I am needing direction.

    • Amanda

      Hi Tara! Putting Bamboo in containers is a great idea for a privacy screen! To determine if it will thrive in your climate year-round, what is your zip code?

  • Grace Nielsen

    Is the plant they sell, Lucky Bamboo, of the running variety? RUnning Bamboo is illegal to plant in CT. What do you recommend?

  • Steve Allcock


    I live in Maryland and I wanted to use Bamboo for a fast growing solution to our rear yard – we have a pool and i would like to create a privacy screen along the fence line

    What fast growing non invasive Bamboo would work here as the temperature here in the summer can be very high – close to 40C and in the winter as low as 20C


    • Amanda

      Hi Steve! Thanks for reaching out to us! To determine what would grow best in your climate, what is your zip code?

  • are black bamboo invasive?

  • Lana

    Will clumping bamboo spread at all, at least slowly? Or should I buy multiple clumps?

  • Jenny Massinello

    Hi, I’m in south Florida. What is best for semi large ceramic pots on the patio? Also what would be best for a privacy wall between houses? Thanks

  • Disqusux

    The title of this article is “These varieties Aren’t invasive” but the article doesn’t list a single cariety of bamboo. Hmmm.

  • Disqusux

    Do you sell clumping bamboo seeds? I need to cover 300+ ft of fencing and can’t afford to do that at the cost of live plants.

    • Amanda

      We do not sell any seeds. Sorry!

  • Vickie

    Hi there – I am in the Bay Area in California. Our yard is mostly concrete with pool, surrounded by a plant filled border, approx. 1.5 feet wide. We recently removed the messy Italian Cypress (12 trees) that had been growing for close to 20 years, but now the fence line is looking bleak! I’d love to add in bamboo trees, some that will add color and fill in empty spaces, but not take over the planter areas and grow too tall. Any suggestions?

  • Eileen Lichtenfels

    Hi. Our zip is 15206 PA. Looking for clumping bamboo to plant between a pond and a fence that is part of a patio garden we are designing. Want bamboo for it’s look and privacy. Suggestions appreciated.

  • Beverley Carlson

    I want to create an evergreen privacy hedge with bamboo. What variety should I buy? Bear in mind that my husband is terrified it will take over the whole yard! We live in Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Also how far apart should you plant them? Thank you 🙂

    • Amanda

      Hello Beverley! Harwich Port, Massachusetts is within growing zone 7. Most bamboo varieties will thrive in your area. To easily avoid the spreading of bamboo, choose a clumping variety such as Denudata, Robusta, and Scabrida. They should be planted about 3-5 feet apart to create a dense privacy screen. Unfortunately, we do not have any bamboo plants in stock at this time.

  • Melissa Lam Deneault

    I live in 95409. South facing so the yard gets FULL sun. Weather gets hot in summer and dips down at night.Yesterday it was hi of 105 and low of 56!. In winter it can get in low 30’s and freezing temps are common. I would like to screen our neighbor that sits above our backyard, what is the tallest growing bamboo? Ideally if we could cover 30 ft from ground to top that would be great. Just wondering if bamboo that grows that tall would continue to screen when “full grown”. But if it grows, will the lower half of the plant be the skinny stalk base then a big burst of leaves that grow above the fence line? Thank you

  • Gus

    We live in 28277. Looking to to do bamboos in a raised retainer bed( 20 feet long, 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall) for screening our neighbors yard. We do not want the root system
    to go beyond the retainer box. Over half the area is full shade. Any recommendations? Height potential?

  • Thayer

    Last spring we came home one day to our NEW neighbor cutting down our 25′ tall at least 30′ long row of hemlocks!!! He thought they were his! We would like to plant bamboo but are unsure as to what to buy?? I’ve seen yellow grove at a nearby zoo and liked it but would like a more professional opinion. We live in Connecticut on Long Island sound! We are looking for something fast growing and hardy. Thank you

  • Michael Mancini

    what do you recommend for zone 7a in ny. I am looking for non invasive privacy border.

  • Onie Barin

    I just found this site and this is just what I was looking for! I live in Arizona where we have hot summers. Zip code 85120. I live in a 55 plus mobile home community with a small area that I am trying to create a privacy wall and keep my little yorkies within the area. The rules of community limit my posibities so clumping bamboo could work. The area is 16’x6′ I can go about 1 foot wide and about 3-4 feet tall. I have no idea what to buy or where. Not even sure if there is a bamboo that can grow here and fast!

  • argalite

    Hi, I live in Sacramento, CA (95827) and would like to plant bamboo in a space next to the garage 25’x3′ , and would like it tall if possible, and the clumping variety. It gets full sun. What kind of bamboo do you recommend and how many plants should I plant?

  • Rick Summers

    I live in a southwest suburb of Chicago which is located in the 5-6 range on the tolerance maps. Although are winters are getting milder of late, we can still have 5-7 day runs of 0 to minus 10/15 degree temperatures. I am looking for a clumping bamboo to use as a screen to block out electrical boxes in a corner of our yard, covering a 10 x 12 spot, hoping for about 12-15 ft of height. What varieties would you suggest?

  • Melissa Ngo-Harris

    I live in Atlanta (30080) and have an in-ground pool. Would like to plant bamboo for privacy. What’s the best kind that grows tall, creates privacy but won’t be invasive? What kind of bamboo do you recommend and how should I plant it?

  • Liz

    Would it be safe to plant dwarf buddha belly bamboo 2 feet from a house along a walkway? I wasn’t sure if the clumping variety could cause harm to the foundation. I live in southwest Florida.

  • John J Blazekovich Jr

    Our property backs up to a 250′ stretch of country road – unfortunately we get more road noise than we anticipated when we built the house. We have a 40′ offset that include variety of trees, however each fall when the leaves fall we lose most of our privacy. I was thinking that bamboo would help with both issues. Does that sound correct? If so any recommendations on what variety to use (obviously we don’t want it to invade the neighboring properties)

  • Mike Finnell

    In my previous life I was a Ninja apparently which is why I grow Bonsai, develop and design Koi Ponds and Water Gardens and LOVE Bamboo. I am learning this subject, but would not the same liner system at 25mm thick used for koi ponds stop running bamboo from spreading? I was thinking of a deep trench, line the trench with Firestone 25mm thick liner, brick work on top to hold the trench liner in place, running bamboo and soil. Would the running bamboo actually climb up and over the brick work? I need this is a privacy fence, so I would not be able to get to and manicure the back side of it..

  • Marlo Milligan

    Is there a bamboo varietal that does not drop leaves or very few? Thank you

    • Amanda

      Hi Marlo! Bamboo is an evergreen perennial, so most varieties should keep their foliage all year in warm climates. In cold climates, they will drop their leaves every winter.

  • Marie

    Hello, Would you please suggest a bamboo that will survive the cold winters of Ontario, Canada? I reside in zones 5 / 5a. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

  • Lynn

    I want to plant a privacy screen along the back of my property. I live in central IL. Could you recommend a type and place to purchase? I want like the picture at top.

  • Carol

    My neighbors and I loathe the bamboo that is spreading like wildfire. How can I remove it so it stops growing? It’s awful. Thank you for any advice you may give.

  • Ship Sands

    Forgot to list the varieties which was the whole point of the article.