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Clumping Bamboo - is that a thing?

I love bamboo, but having heard so many horror stories about how invasive it is, I almost gave up the idea of having it. However it appears that some varieties are not invasive at all, but rather clump building. So I was wondering if anybody has anything like it growing in their garden?

Do those bamboos really stay where they were planted without colonising the whole garden?  I understand the clump will be growing too, how fast does it grow? And also, would it be too dangerous to plant clumping bamboo too close to the house (I know some plants have such vigorous root system, that they can literally damage buildings from underneath).

I would like to have them grow between the conservatory wall and the fence (there is a small narrow patch of soil, very protected, no direct sun light, but if bamboo grows tall, it will overgrow both the fence and the conservatory, so it will get enough sun light).

I set my eye on fargesia yunannensis, though any not aggressive not spreading bamboo would do. Any info would be so very helpful and appreciated. Many thanks :)



  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,064
    The Fargesias are clump forming - to the best of my knowledge, BBS. I had a nice one in a previous garden - I haven't seen it out and about in the street, so I think it's stayed contained! 
    It would pay to do a bit of research anyway - some of the most 'common' ones, the Phyllostachys types, are the running ones. There's a black and a gold one which you'll see regularly taking over gardens. 
    If you're worried, you could always put in a physical barrier, but it would have to be pretty hefty to be any good,and go down deep. Plastic or a bit of timber wouldn't be enough.
    Sorry - that probably isn't much help.....

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 7,845
    What part of the UK do you live in please?  I ask because Borinda yunnanensis, which is what I still call it, may not be hardy worse than -10C...   I've grown Fargesia rufa, Simba and Jumbo... rufa is my preferred... but if you want a taller one then Robusta would be one to look at... but if you're coastal then the Borinda/Fargesia should be alright I should think..

    In my experience, I found the rufa variety expanded between 6 and 12 inches a year, sometimes I would be a touch alarmed at seeing the new culms appearing above ground a foot away, but they do not run but spread out from the central clump... they are easily removed as just below the soil surface..  however you must keep some new culms because the plant will deterioriate if it has no new growth..

    If you do plant any, and then later decide they are not for you, I would advise that you should remove it within 5 years... any longer and you will need 3 very strong people with various tools to get it out of the ground and disposed of... the clumps are extremely tight making the plant difficult to remove and very heavy in the process...

    If you are looking at the longer term, they are beautiful foliage plants... loved by grasshoppers...
    East Anglia, England
  • I planted some Phyllostachys aureocauli bamboo in those black plastic trugs and sunk them into the ground.

    It was quite a bit of work but the trug barriers have held and 3 yesrs on the bsmboo looks good
  •  Aw, thank you Fairygirl, Marlorena and Silverlight for such quick responses - exactly the info I was looking for. Actual experience from actual people, not a description for a plants seller.

    Marlorena, I live in the South-East, Hampshire/Surrey boarder as we are often called :)

    Borinda Yunnanensis should be hardy enough for our climate, but I think I shall try and grow them in a large pot first, before planting them out. I'm a bit paranoid about any plant spreading too much in our relatively small garden. That's why I really appreciate your feedback as I thought a clump stays one clump, but it looks like a clump, even though it doesn't spread by runners, will produce another clump, and then another clump...  :#

    By the way, I now understand why we have quite a lot of grass hoppers in our garden - our neighbours have large, very tall bamboos in their garden, so they probably come to eat the leaves. Luckily the neighbours bamboo is not spreading under the fence (must have been planted with a very good barrier).

  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 7,845
    Best of luck with your choice of Fargesia... I hope it does well for you in your area... 
    East Anglia, England
  • :) 
  • UpNorthUpNorth Posts: 376
    we have a good clumper, has performed well and not running away.  i think it's the common yellow p. aurea. 
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