I am often asked, “Is bamboo bad?” I know that the fear is that the bamboo will go crazy, swallowing house, home and pool, but no, bamboo is not bad. The key is to make sure you buy your bamboo from a reputable source to ensure that it is a clumping, not running, bamboo.
Bamboo is one of my favorite plants for screening in narrow areas. The very upright habit makes it ideal for creating privacy without taking up a huge amount of square footage. At our house we use Slender Weavers bamboo, Bambusa textilis gracilis, to hide the two story house behind us that looks right into our yard. As if reading my mind, Thompson’s Bamboo (my go-to source for all things bamboo related) writes, “This clumping bamboo is possibly the ideal bamboo for the residential landscape. Its tight clumping nature and upright habit make it suitable for spaces too small for many larger species.”
The “Is bamboo bad?” question stems from the bad reputation of aggressive, fast growing running bamboos. These types of bamboos can be a nightmare. But not the nice, friendly, oh-so-beautiful clumping bamboos!
I recommend only buying bamboo from reputable sources. The neighbor trying to pawn off a plant to you is not the way to go. Expect to pay good money for high quality plants. Bamboo is slow to establish so these plants will cost more than many other fast growing tropicals.
But it will be well worth the costs!
Along a chain link fence section of our sideyard we are using Dwarf Blue Bamboo, Bambusa chungii ‘Barballata‘, and Asian Lemon Bamboo, Bambusa eutuldoises ‘Viridi-Vitata’, to also provide screening. These are a little larger, but their beautiful colors are more of a focal point than a background in this instance. There isn’t anything else planted around them to help show off their stately presence.
Some might call me a “bamboo pusher” and it may be true! I can’t think of a better plant for screening and creating a beautiful backdrop. Is bamboo bad? I think not!