Choosing The Best Bamboo For A Hedge Or Screen

Bamboo plants are an excellent choice for creating a privacy screen or hedge that will serve as an attractive visual barrier or noise and wind buffer. With so many Bamboo varieties available, sometimes it's difficult to decide which one is best to serve your design needs while also being best suited for your location and the planting environment. In an attempt to make things easier for you, I'll try to help narrow down your choices. To do that, you'll first need to answer a few questions...

What USDA Zone am I in?

Every type of plant has a low temperature threshold. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zones help gardeners and landscapers understand which plants will most likely survive the average low winter temperatures at a specific location. They also indicate how far south in the United States a specific plant will likely grow. Some bamboo species are more cold hardy or heat tolerant than others. Knowing your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone is the easiest way to determine if a specific bamboo variety will grow and be hardy in your specific location. Find your USDA Zone

Clumping or Running Bamboo?

There are two basic types of landscape bamboo: "running," and "clumping. " All bamboos spread via underground rhizomes (roots) that grow horizontally underground and sprout new plant shoots above ground. Running bamboos have much longer roots that spread more quickly. Clumping bamboos have much shorter roots that stay closer to their point of origin and do not spread rapidly. While clumping bamboos tend to grow more like an ornamental grass, such as Miscanthus or pampas grass, slowly expanding in size over time, the running types spread wider and can pop up shoots where you might not want them. That said, the spread of running bamboo can be contained by either destroying new shoots as they emerge in spring, or by the use of a bamboo barrier.

Thing is, with the exception of the clumping Fargesia bamboos that are more cold hardy, most of the other clumping bamboo varieties are only cold hardy to temperatures of 15 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. So keep cold hardiness in mind when selecting a bamboo variety for your screen or hedge.

How much sunlight or shade does the planting area receive?

Some bamboo varieties will grow in however much sun you can give them while others tend to prefer life on the shady side. Under the Description tab on every every bamboo plant page in you'll find the sunlight preferences for that specific bamboo variety.

What is the soil like in the planting area?

Most bamboo will grow in a moist but well-drained soil. However, there are a few wetland bamboo varieties that will grow and thrive in a boggy to wet soil and also some that when established will tolerate a dry soil. 

Will your bamboo be grown in the ground or in containers?

While some bamboo varieties will grow well in pots, others don't perform well when confined to a smaller space. Under the Description tab on every every bamboo plant page in you can find out whether or not a specific variety is suitable for growing in containers.

How tall do you want your bamboo privacy screen or hedge to grow?

Are you wanting a tall privacy screen or lower hedge? On every bamboo page in you will find the mature height listed for that specific variety. On varieties where we have collected average mature height ranges for specific USDA Zones you will find these listed as well.

How dense does your bamboo privacy screen or hedge need to be?

While some bamboo varieties have dense foliage from just above the ground to the top of the plant, others tend to be more top heavy. Under the Description tab on every bamboo plant page in, under the Landscape Uses section, you can find out whether that specific bamboo variety is suitable for screens or hedges, often with notes as to foliage density.

Does the color of your bamboo matter?

While many bamboo varieties have green canes, some have yellow, black, red or spotted canes. Click here to see some of the most colorful bamboo varieties we offer.

How many plants will I need for my screen or hedge?

Bamboo are known to be one of the fastest growing plants on earth. That said, how many plants you might need to create your bamboo privacy screen or hedge will depend on how quickly you want to plants to fill in. Rather than go into the details here, check out our article titled How Far Apart To Space Bamboo Plants For A Hedge Or Privacy Screen

Okay, so I didn't provide you with a list of what I might think are the best bamboo varieties for hedge or privacy screens, but that's because I don't know the specifics about the environment you intend to plant them in or your personal preferences for height, color and growth habit. But hopefully the questions above helped you to make that decision on your own!

Here's some links that might help you along in your search for just the right bamboo...

Plant Long & Prosper!

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