Bamboo Descriptions

The description for each species or cultivar includes the scientific name, the maximum height (in feet), maximum culm diameter (in inches), growth form (clumping or running) and a cold hardiness rating that indicate the minimum temperature at which rhizomes, culms, and leaves will survive. Bamboos will survive temperatures lower than those given but some leaves will drop and canes will die.

Bamboo Describtion Bambusa multiplex — 35' max. ht., 1 ½" culm dia., clumping, cold hardiness 12 °F.
This bamboo and cv. Silverstripe (above) are the best non -invasive bamboos to use for tall screens and hedges. It may be trimmed to a desired height without damaging the plant. This plant and the cultivar Silverstripe make excellent windbreaks. This species including all of the cultivars listed below grows well in middle and south Georgia and suffers some culm damage in cold winters but always comes back from the rhizome. Reports of the hardiness of this species in Atlanta vary but it can probably be grown from the north end of I -285 and most points south. If the temperatures drop to the single digits or low teens you will probably see some cold damage but it usually recovers. The northern Atlanta suburbs and mountains are too cold unless you have a warm microclimate. The culms bend out toward the light as the plant grows and this creates a vase shaped plant. The size of this species and the cultivars listed here can be manipulated by irrigation. Dry conditions result in smaller plants and lots of water create larger plants.

Bamboo Describtion Chimonobambusa (Qiongzhuea) tumidissinoda — 20' max. ht., 1 ¼ " culm dia., running cold hardiness 10 °F.
This bamboo is used to make walking sticks in China. It is unusual because of the swollen nodes, arching culms and delicate, feathery foliage. It can be used as a dense screen or the low branches can be pruned to show off the interesting culms. Will grow outdoors from Atlanta south and does best with shade.

Bamboo Describtion Hibanobambusa tranquilans — cv. Shiroshima, 16' max. ht., 1 ¼" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
This species is native to Japan and is thought to be a natural hybrid between Sasa veitchii and Phyllostachys nigra 'Henon'. The cultivar 'Shiroshima' has cream and green variegated leaves. This bamboo is notable for its moderate size, stable variegation and ability to grow in the shade or sun. Maximum size of our plants so far is 8 -10' in the sun with some afternoon shade.

Bamboo Describtion Indocalamus sp. "solidus", 10' max. ht., ½" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
The culms are solid and the leaves can be as long as 8 to 10 inches.

Bamboo Describtion Indocalamus (Sasa) tessellatus, 12' max. ht., ½" culm dia., running, cold hardiness -5 °F.
The ultimate height can vary from 3 -12' and depends on the amount of shade and whether moisture is limited. This bamboo has the largest leaves (24" long, 4" wide) of any bamboo in cultivation. This bamboo grows well in pots and requires shade for best performance. The leaves hang down and this plant would look good on a slope.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys aurea cv. Koi , 27' max. ht., 1 5/8" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 5 °F.
The culms turn from green to yellow after the first 6 months, but the culm grooves remain green. The color pattern is identical to P. bambusoides 'Castillon' but this plant has the upright form, vigorous growth, shortened internodes and low branching typical of P.aurea. This is a wonderful yellow bamboo for zones 7, 8, and 9 that is not widely grown in the trade.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis, 26' max. ht., 1 ½" culm dia., running, cold hardiness -10 °F.
The yellow culms with green grooves are the opposite of the typical form. This plant is a striking ornamental that is suitable for colder climates but also does well here in central Georgia. It branches well on the lower part of the culm and is a good screening bamboo.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys bambusoides cv. Allgold, 35' max. ht., 2" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 5 °F.
Very similar to P. bambusoides cv. Castillon but the culms are entirely golden yellow except for an occasional thin green stripe. This form should make an extremely attractive garden ornamental.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys bambusoides cv. Castillon, 30' max. ht., 2" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
This bamboo differs from the typical form by having brilliant yellow culms with green grooves and occasional cream colored stripes in the leaves. This bamboo was popular and somewhat widely distributed in the U.S. until it flowered and died out in the 1970's. It makes a striking ornamental plant and appears to be a vigorous grower. It and cultivar Allgold are susceptible to thread scale, rust and noxious mealybug and the foliage on older culms can look bad if these pests are not managed.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys bambusoides cv. Slender Crookstem, 48' max. ht., 3" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
This cultivar. is distinguished by having one or more curved (not as abrupt as a zigzag pattern) internodes occurring near the base of the culm in a high percentage of culms in a clump. Most of the culms are also more slender in relation to their height than those of the typical form of the species.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys bambusoides tanakae — 48' max. ht.?, 3" culm dia.?, running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
This cultivar has culms marked with elliptical purplish-brown spots. The spots increase in size and number as the culms age. It is a vigorous and erect like the species and has an open appearance in mature groves. This bamboo makes a striking specimen planting.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys dulcis — (Sweetshoot bamboo), 40' max. ht., 2 ¾" culm dia., running, cold hardiness -8 °F.
Referred to by Frank N. Meyer as the "edible bamboo of central China". Robert Young reported that it had the best tasting shoots when raw. The plant is vigorous, fast growing and shoots early. The culms bend toward the light resulting in curved culms and a vase shaped grove. This is the best suggestion when someone wants a bamboo for edible shoots. This bamboo sizes up quickly and grows well in zones 6, 7, and 8.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys edulis (P. heterocycla pubescens) (Moso bamboo), 75' max. ht., 7" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
Culms have dense hairs (pubescence) hence the name. This is the largest and most sought after of the giant running bamboos but is difficult to propagate. Plants are easily identified because young culms are hairy to the touch. The “landscape presence " of this species is clearly superior to P. bambusoides, P. nigra 'Henon', or P. vivax but it was rarely seen because it was not widely available in the nursery trade. Seedling plants are now more common because of the availability of seed of this species.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys nidularia, 33' max. ht., 1 ½" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
It is fast growing and produces many culms forming a thick screen. The small strong culms make good plant stakes but do not split well. The nodes on this species are large and prominent and distinguish it from other Phyllostachys species. The shoots of this bamboo are popular in the markets of China.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys nigra (Black bamboo), 30' max. ht., 2" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
This species is a very desirable garden ornamental. The emerging culms are green but gradually become almost completely black within 6 -24 months. Mature rhizomes are also black making this bamboo easy to distinguish in the field. Also used in the orient for cabinetry work. This plant is the undisputed “queen " of hardy ornamental bamboo. This species is grown in the trade but is almost always in short supply. It is also well known to landscape designers and contractors and is one of our most requested plants.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys nigra cv. Bory, 50' max. ht., 3" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
Young culms are green developing brown and purple spots with age. Plants are larger and more vigorous than the common form of P. nigra. This plant can be used in place of P. nigra 'Henon' and the brown spots add additional interest. It is definitely underused in the landscape.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys nigra cv. Henon, 65' max. ht., 4 ½" culm dia., running, cold hardiness -4 °F.
This is a much larger cv. of the common black bamboo whose culms do not turn black. It has dense dark green delicate foliage and a gray waxy film on many culms. This bamboo is a striking ornamental that also has strong culms that are good for construction purposes. This is plant is well known and widely used for specimen plantings including some high profile installations. This bamboo has a distinctive “look " but it could be said that it is overused because other species are not readily available.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys viridis cv. Robert Young, 45' max. ht., 3" culm dia., running, cold hardiness -5 °F.
This is a lovely ornamental form of P. viridis with culms that are yellow-green when young but turn golden yellow a few months after emergence. Some culms have a few narrow, vertical, green stripes on the lower internodes. This is an attractive plant that is moderately available in the trade but always sells well. The large yellow culms make an impact in the landscape.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys vivax, 70' max. ht., 6" culm dia., running, cold hardiness -5 °F.
This is an excellent timber bamboo for ornamental use. This species has been observed to out grow P. bambusoides when planted side by side but has thinner culm walls than that species and the culms are slightly zigzag. This bamboo may also have greater cold hardiness than some clones of P. bambusoides. This bamboo easily reaches culm diameters of 5" in central Georgia and probably grows even larger. This is the best timber bamboo to try in cold climates but a mature grove with 5 " culms is growing in Ocala, Florida. The leaves of this species are larger than P. bambusoides and the foliage has a denser appearance.

Bamboo Describtion Phyllostachys vivax aureocaulis ?' max. ht., ?" culm dia., running, cold hardiness -5 °F.
This is a yellow form of P. vivax with culm coloration similar to P. bambusoides 'Allgold'. Our grove planted from a single 2 G plant in 2000 has 3 ", 35'+ culms which attract the eye of all who see the grove. If you want an outstanding LARGE specimen plant for your landscape, this is the one to use.

Bamboo Describtion Pleioblastus distichus Mini, 2' max. ht., 1/8" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 10 °F.
Similar in appearance to P. pygmaeus but has tiny leaves that are often only 1" long and ¼" wide. This bamboo is a good ground cover for shady locations and is a good container plant. It can be very invasive, especially in cooler climates.

Bamboo Describtion Pseudosasa japonica (Arrow bamboo), 18' max. ht., ¾" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
Common ornamental in U.S. and easily pruned into hedge form. Small rhizomes are easier to remove than larger running bamboo. Among U.S. bamboo this one is the favored food of visiting panda bears. This is a great choice for shady areas or interior use where dwarf bamboo is not large enough.

Bamboo Describtion Pseudosasa japonica tsutsumiana 10' max. ht., ¾" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
This is an attractive ornamental that prefers partial shade. Green Onion Bamboo got its name because some culms are swollen at the base like a green onion. Plants growing in full sun may not get as tall. The rhizomes are also swollen and shortened compared to the species and as a result it is not as invasive as P. japonica. This is the best choice in situations where clump bamboo won't grow and clients are afraid of running bamboo.

Bamboo Describtion Sasa palmata 7' max. ht., ½" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
This plant needs some shade for best results. In middle Georgia it will be 2 -4' tall when grown in full sun but can reach 7' under shade. It has long wide leaves and is an attractive ornamental.

Bamboo Describtion Sasa veitchii 5' max. ht., 1/3 " culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F. This small bamboo produces dark green leaves to turn white along the margins in winter, seen in all Sasas, is pronounced. This, along with large leaves on short plants gives a unique and striking appearance.

Bamboo Describtion Sasaella masamuneana albostriata, 6' max. ht., ¼" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
This is an attractive bamboo with white striped leaves. Does well in moderate shade.

Bamboo Describtion Semiarundinaria fastuosa, 30' max. ht., 1 ½ " culm dia., running, cold hardiness -5 °F. This is an erect, elegant bamboo with straight culms and short branches. The green culms can turn from green to purplish brown with age or exposure to sun. S. fastuosa has performed well in dry harsh growing conditions in central Texas.
Shibataea kumasaca, 6' max. ht., 1/8" culm dia., running, cold hardiness 0 °F.
This is a small and distinctive ornamental bamboo. The branches are short, the leaves broad and ovate -lance shaped, sharp pointed, and are whorled around the slender culm. Prefers some shade and makes a good groundcover. The leaves will tip -burn when grown in alkaline soils.

Bamboo Describtion Sinobambusa tootsik albostriata, 30' max. ht., 1 ½' culm dia., running, cold hardiness 10 °F. This is a vigorous growing runner with straight, erect culms and boldly variegated green and white foliage. This running bamboo grows well in warmer parts of the southeast but will survive as far north as Birmingham and Atlanta. It can be used as a screening bamboo or as a striking specimen plant.

Bamboo Describtion Yushania anceps Pitt White, 25' max. ht., ½ " culm dia., long necked open clumper, cold hardiness 0 °F.
This bamboo spreads out like a running bamboo but grows slowly. It forms small clumps of culms within the grove like Arrow bamboo or Simon bamboo. It has handled our heat quite well and should do well in the piedmont areas of the southeast. The culms are upright and the leaves long and narrow. This bamboo grows well in sun or shade.