Whether your garden is oriental, tropical, modernist or simply in need of fascinating greenery, there is one group of plants that fits the bill perfectly – bamboos. These magnificent, fast-growing species have been around for centuries and serve many wonderful uses in the garden, such as privacy screens, hedges or feature plants. But they are also one of the most misunderstood plants in the world, with many novice gardeners shuddering at the thought of growing them. That’s because there are two distinct types of bamboo – clumping and running, and the running species can become quite invasive if they aren’t well contained. But if you choose the right type and species of bamboo, you will see there is a lot to love about these amazing plants.
1. A feature plant or a privacy screen, bamboo straddles both roles just fine. Remove lower leaves so you can show off the culms (stems), too.
2. Wham bam-boo! This group of plants will add grandeur to your garden.
3. These clever canes can be used in any garden setting, from tropical to formal. Here, the straight black culms are a beautiful contrast against clipped buxus balls.
4. Reaching up to heights of 20m, the culms of giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus) are only suitable for large gardens.
5. Low-growing forms of running bamboo like Pleioblastus sp. make excellent edging plants.
6. A highly ornamental 5 bamboo, Pleioblastus ‘Tsuboi’ is also a runner, best grown in a pot or planter bed lined with a root barrier. It will reach about 1m.
7. There’s nothing mellow about yellow! For an oriental display, plant China gold or golden painted bamboo and surround with black mondo.
8. Bamboo is ideal for screening out nosy neighbours. It is fast growing and also provides a wonderful backdrop for garden beds.
9. Big and bold, Gigantochloa apus grows to 12-15m tall, so make sure you have enough room!
10. The soft green foliage of Bambusa ‘Fernleaf’ emerge from tightly packed culms – great for a small hedge or screen.