Posted by on Nov 16, 2015 in Articles, Uncategorized | 0 comments



Many people are turning to bamboo in their garden, both for aesthetic reasons and often to screen out neighbours. Bamboo provides a green, lush tropical appearance to gardens. The advantages of bamboo are that they are fast-growing, capable of hiding tall structures quickly and occupy relatively narrow spaces.

However, care needs to be taken when choosing bamboo. There are many different kinds with greatly varying habits and growth patterns.

The most important thing to remember is to select a clumping bamboo rather than a running bamboo. All bamboo grows from rhizomes (underground stems). Running bamboo sends out long rhizomes far and wide, each rhizome sending up multiple new shoots. Hence its tendency to colonise large areas and be very difficult to get rid of. Clumping bamboo, on the other hand, produces only one stem (culm) from each rhizome and the new culm is close to the parent culm. Clumping bamboo grow in a dense ‘clump’ and thus do not have the invasive tendency of the running bamboo varieties.

In South Australia, where we have extreme heat and high levels of evaporation, care needs to be taken to provide the right environment for bamboo. It is not recommended to plant bamboo in full sun.  A position with some protection from full sun, as well as protection from wind, is ideal. In the first few years, particularly in SA, bamboo will need regular and deep watering. When planting, make sure you add some blood and bone and mulch well. Once established, bamboo is relatively unfussy in its requirements.

Once your bamboo has grown to the required height and width, simply cut off any unwanted culms. You can also trim the lower leaves from the base. This allows for a more uniform, neat appearance and provides an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the culms.

Good varieties of clumping bamboo in SA are:

Bambusa gracilis textilis, Slender Weaver’s bamboo. This is a fast- growing variety that will reach between 4 and 6 metres in height. It is good for narrow spaces where height is needed. (If it grows too tall, a simple way to trim the top is to grab hold of the adult culms at head height, pull them down and cut the tops off. They will spring back up and continue to grow vertically)

Bambusa multiplex Alphonse Carr. This is a beautiful and tough bamboo for wider spaces than Bambusa gracilis textilis. Although prone to mealy bug in tropical and semi-tropical locations, this does not seem to be a problem in SA. It can be kept at a height of between 2 and 4 metres with regular pruning.

Drepanostachyum falcatum, Himalayan Weeping Bamboo. This fine-leaf variety needs part-shade and protection from strong winds. It grow to approx. 2.5 metres and lends itself also to being grown in a pot.

Himalayacalamus porcatus Nepalese Blue. Compact bamboo with bluish culms that grows to approx. 4 metres. It needs a part-shade position.

Bambusa textilis gracilis, Slender Weaver’s Bamboo growing in

small garden in Glen Osmond South Australia


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