Bamboo in your garden?… Why not? Create a Zen-like haven in your backyard where you can relax with bamboos rustling gracefully, making you feel very close to nature. Or you can use it as a screen if you want privacy from your neighbors.
Bamboo has a reputation of being invasive, that it’s hard to control because of its ability to spread rapidly. This is why some people are intimidated in growing them in their garden. It is therefore best to know more about bamboo, what they are and how to plant, grow and care for them. Once you know them, I’m, sure you will easily fall in love with this amazing plant.
To begin with, bamboo belongs to a subfamily of grass called Bambusoideae. Yes, it’s a grass, a supersize grass which can reach from a height of 2 feet to more than 100 feet. They are native to Asia with over 1,400 species. Bamboo is both perennial and annual and grows in colonies.
There are some few things you should know before planting bamboo. They are classified into two types, runners and clumpers. Runners are the hardy, aggressive and downright invasive type. And this is not the type you want in your garden. The clumper on the other hand, is a tender, slow growing and less invasive which make this the ideal type to grow.
You can plant the clumper type without worrying about them spreading like crazy. Their underground root system or rhizome, forms a tight U shaped cluster from a rather small root mass which spreads from 2 to 12 inches per year in a circular formation. Their canopy growth is also slow, usually a couple of feet per year. Mature height reaches to about 10 to 20 feet. Clumper bamboo comes in different colors and sizes. Some of my favorite clumpers are the Fargesia ‘Juizhaigou’; Fargesia ‘Rufa’and the Fargesia ‘Namping. They are very ideal for garden and they can be grown indoors in containers.
Growing clumping bamboo. Like all types of bamboo, they thrive well in neutral soil and can be planted at any time of the year. Those planted in colder climates needs to be harden off and protected with heavy mulch of organic compost. Normally, they prefer partially shaded environment and needs regular watering to keep them in good shape. Others that grow from 25 feet up need a lot of sunlight. Smaller bamboo does not need to be staked as the rootball will grow big enough to support the plant.
Bamboo requires very little maintenance. And your only main concern is to control them from spreading. This can be done by putting a natural barrier or by pruning the rhizome. You can fertilize them twice a year, preferably using organic compost. Signs that you should watch out, if the leaves are rolled up, that means the plant is dehydrated. Either from too much sun or needs watering. If they are falling off with no replacements, it’s standing in water.
I hope this article offers you a new outlook on garden-scaping possibilities of bamboos. Start some be amazed.
Have fun gardening!