There are lots of different types of bamboo plants, and some are just perfect to grow in container gardens and as house plants. If you are interested in growing bamboo plants indoors, read on for our pick of the best varieties.
Bamboo house plants
Bamboos can be perfectly happy indoors, as long as they have suitable conditions – they need the right amount of sun, shade, air circulation, and space. Sometimes it is better to contain bamboos in pots because they can grow incredibly fast and invade the rest of your space if you don’t keep an eye on them.
We’ve picked out our 10 favorite bamboo plants in pictures below. But first, why is growing bamboo a good idea?
Bamboo is versatile
There are lots of ways you can grow bamboo. It’s perfect as screening or as a hedge to make your garden more private. You can have impressive standalone bamboo plants that create a wow effect. There are dwarf bamboos that cover the ground and sit well in borders. Or have a display of different colored bamboos in pots on your patio. Plus, pruned bamboo canes are really useful in the garden for supporting other plants. They also make amazing wind chimes.
Need some privacy fast? Grow bamboo
The great thing about using bamboo as a screen is that it grows really fast. Got big plans for a backyard oasis? You can have that space between you and your neighbors filled in no time with bamboo. Or, grow tall clumps to create an impressive feature in your garden beds. Some bamboos are huge – 70 feet! Be careful not to choose a monster, as it could take over.
Bamboo plants bring color to your garden
The nice thing about bamboo is that the canes (known as culms) come in loads of great colors. You can get black bamboo, green and yellow bamboo, red bamboo, stripy green and white bamboo, and even dark purple bamboo.
Running bamboo or clumping bamboo?
There’s one more thing you should know before you choose your bamboo from our list below. There are two distinct types – clumping and running. It pays to get this right!
- Running bamboo can quickly invade the rest of your garden if you don’t control the roots underground. This can be fairly straightforward, as bamboo has surprisingly shallow roots. You will need to keep an eye on them to check they aren’t spreading wildly though.
- Clumping bamboo varieties are great if you want some impressive canes but you don’t want the bamboo to take over and spread sideways. They form nice non-invasive clumps and are usually easier to manage.
Bamboo plants in pictures
Here’s our pick of ten different types of bamboo plants in pictures. Some of these are perfect as indoor bamboo plants. Others prefer to be outside. They all have funky colors.
Fargesia nitida, Fargesia nitida ‘Black Pearl’
Common name: Blue Fountain, Chinese Fountain
This is an evergreen, non-invasive bamboo which makes great hedges. The Fargesia varieties are compact bamboos that will form dense clumps. Fargesia nitida has rather beautiful green canes with a purplish tinge and slender dark green leaves. The Black Pearl variety has stunning dark purple, almost black canes.
Common name: Ruscus-leaved bamboo
Origin: China and Japan
A low-growing, slow-growing bamboo which gives color all year round with slender green canes. Shibataea kumasaca is a dwarf variety that will grow in nice dense clumps. If you want a bamboo houseplant this is a great choice. Make sure you use an ericaceous potting mix in your container though, or it won’t be a happy bamboo.
Common name: Black bamboo
Stunning black canes with green leaves, this bamboo is a real showstopper. It can get pretty tall, and it is one of the running bamboos, so it will need holding back if you have a small garden. In the beginning it may act like a clumping bamboo, but it will eventually send runners out underground and pop up somewhere else. To stop bamboos doing this you can bury a barrier around its roots – this stops the runners in their tracks.
Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis
Common name: Showy yellow groove bamboo
Another running bamboo. This is a big showy one. The stout canes are striped green and yellow. New shoots are a fantastic dark pink-red color. It’s a very hardy plant and will make an excellent screen because it grows fast and straight. If you grow it in a sunny spot you will get more of the stunning red color coming through.
Phyllostachys bambusoides ‘Castillonii’
Common name: Castillon bamboo, Japanese timber bamboo
Origin: China and Japan
Another of the Phyllostachys family, this large evergreen bamboo has lovely yellow canes that have a striking green stripe running through them. Dark green leaves. Being a Phyllostachys it is another running bamboo, so think carefully about whether you have enough space, or consider containing it in a pot that doesn’t have access to the ground – bamboos can be very determined!
Common name: None
Fargesia robusta is not keen on being exposed to the hot afternoon sun, like most Fargesias. Don’t forget that many bamboos originated in the mountainous parts of China. As its name suggests, this bamboo is sturdy and robust. It has a lovely upright way of growing with green, red and white colors.
Fargesia Robusta ‘Campbell’ is prized for its chequered visual effect. This bamboo makes a great screen or hedge, as it doesn’t mind a windy spot. It will also grow happily in pots and forms clumps, so it’s not invasive.
Common name: None
This is a non-invasive plant that forms clumps. Fargesia rufa is perfect for small gardens or a large pot. It’s a tidy, colorful bamboo with rusty-reddish and green coloring. It grows quickly but doesn’t get out of hand. A combination of sun and shade works best for it. Fargesia bamboos are not suited to very hot humid climates. You can also buy a version of Fargesia rufa with variegated leaves.
Common name: Chilean bamboo
Origin: Chile and Argentina
Perfect for drier ground, the evergreen Chilean bamboo has glossy, olive green culms and small dark green leaves. It is a large bamboo and will make a good screen. Many bamboos are not lovers of drier soil, so it’s worth checking what conditions they like before you buy. Chusquea culeou will tolerate frost, and it’s a clumper – so no running around into other people’s gardens with this one.
Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. Aureocaulis
Common name: Golden groove bamboo
The deep yellow to orange canes of this large bamboo are pretty spectacular grown against a building. Although not considered one of the invasive bamboos, they do need some containment in smaller gardens if you are putting them in the ground. Surround the roots with a barrier that will stop the plant from spreading. Or plant it in a pot to restrict growth. This bamboo makes a fantastic statement piece on a patio.
Pleioblastus ‘fortunei’ variegata
Common name: Dwarf white-striped bamboo
Spread: 5ft if allowed to spread
It doesn’t matter what size your garden is, there’s bamboo for you. This dwarf bamboo looks lovely in a large pot on the patio or as an indoor plant. It grows to about 30 inches and has bold cream and dark green stripes. It’s compact, it won’t invade the rest of your garden if you keep it in a pot and it should be fairly easy to look after.
There are loads of different types of bamboo…
These are ten bamboo plants we like. There are others. You could also look at the Sasa family of bamboos. The Sasas are dwarf plants, although they do tend to spread very quickly sideways. Think about what else you want to include in your garden and the best times to plant as well.
Add a bamboo plant to your garden or house and start enjoying the beautiful colors and structures it will bring to your backyard.