Incorporate bamboo into your landscaping as an accent or a privacy screen. While you may think all bamboo spreads aggressively, that’s not the case. Floridians can choose from many non-invasive varieties, but you must consider cold hardiness if you live in Central or North Florida.
Bamboo is one of those plants that you’ll see almost anywhere in the world. In fact, aside from Europe and Antarctica, it’s native to every continent! This peaceful, beautiful plant will be comfortable in your Florida yard, making the perfect privacy screen or adding an exotic touch to your landscape.
Not All Bamboo is Invasive
Homeowners often hesitate to incorporate bamboo into their landscaping for fear of it overtaking their yard and other plants. However, while some bamboo species are invasive (known as running bamboo), aggressively spreading wherever they grow, this is not the case for many varieties.
Clumping varieties are not uncommon and are the best option for Florida properties that lack ample room for bamboo to spread. These varieties naturally grow in clumps, staying put where they are planted and creating beautiful accents, privacy screens, or property line markers without going rogue.
The bamboo growing season is during the summer, so now is the perfect time to plant. Installing it in the fall allows bamboo to establish, grow roots during the winter, and be ready to produce lots of new growth by the time summer comes.
Florida Bamboo Varieties
Lucky for South Floridians, most bamboo varieties will thrive in our warm climate. However, many types are sensitive to the cold, so the options are more limited for North and Central Florida homeowners. If your area sees low temperatures in the winter, be on the safe side and plant a hardy bamboo variety.
Get started with some of our suggestions. We begin with cold-hardy varieties that will do well in the north and end with bamboos that aren’t as resilient and should only be planted in the southern portion of the state. And don’t worry; these are all clumping, not running, varieties.
Green Hedge Bamboo
Green Hedge is one of the hardiest varieties you’ll find, great for North Florida. This bamboo can tolerate temperatures down to the low teens. It grows a dense hedge, providing excellent privacy, and will reach a height of up to 25 feet!
Chinese Goddess is another dense clumping variety that’s as hardy as Green Hedge and does well in North Florida. If your space requires a more compact plant, go with this one. Chinese Goddess will only reach 8 to 10 feet, half the size of Green Hedge.
Make a statement with Royal Bamboo, a towering variety that’s cold-hardy to 15 degrees F. At maturity, this bluish-white bamboo reaches 50 feet tall, with 2 1/2-inch-diameter culms (shoots) growing in tight clumps up to 20 feet wide. The plant grows upright, branches begin to grow 15 or 20 feet up, and it doesn’t require pruning.
This variety reaches a size comparable to Royal Bamboo but does not grow upright. Instead, the cane bows into a stunning fountain shape over time. Buddha’s Belly tolerates temperatures as cold as 18 degrees F.
Giant Timber Bamboo
As you might have guessed, Giant Timber grows thick and robust, making an excellent privacy screen. This is one variety that you’ll want to keep in South Florida, however. When grown in cold temperatures, the resulting cane is thinner than it should be. No matter where in Florida you live, there’s a bamboo that will suit your preferences and growing conditions. Visit your local nursery to learn about the best varieties for your area.