Clumping Vs Running Bamboos

Clumping bamboos are generally tropicals and are non-invasive. They grow in a habit similar to bananas. The shoots emerge in a tight or open habit – depending on the species. Regardless of the degree of openness of each species’ clumping habit, none of the clumpers are considered invasive. They are all well behaved and will not spread wildly.
Tropical, clumping bamboos come in many sizes and overall forms. There are different culm colors (some striated) and leaf sizes (some variegated). With so many options, there are ideal varieties for nearly every application. Choosing the right varieties for screening and hedging will solve privacy issues better than any other plant material. Some of the ornamental bamboos make a stunning landscape statement. Most varieties work well in a mixed tropical garden.

The tropical clumpers are not as frost tolerant as the temperate runners so they are normally grown in warmer climates. Many of the tropical clumpers are more difficult to propagate then the runners.

Running bamboos send out underground stems (rhizomes) from which the new canes will grow. Running bamboos are more common and have a reputation in the U.S. as being uncontrollable. Many U.S. gardeners are familiar with the running bamboo species that send out rhizomes traveling for several feet. These are the culprits of bamboo’s bad reputation among gardeners in the U.S.
Still ,with rhizome barriers or management techniques, the running bamboos can be used effectively and beautifully in home gardens.

If you live in South Florida, make sure that the “Black Bamboo” you buy is NOT Phylostachys nigra. Mail order nurseries will sell it to you, and it may be cheap, but it will burn up in our summer heat.

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Robert Saporito
Tropical Bamboo Nursery & Gardens
2929 G Road E, Loxahatchee, Florida 33470
Office: 561.784.2413, Mobile: 561.543.0742
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