We provide these suggestions to help you make your selections; however, no guarantee of success is implied. The following recommendations are generalizations, and do not account for microclimatic differences. Before selecting a species for your garden, always check the temperature, sun/shade ratings, height, and running/clumping type, and take into account your humidity levels.
Far South (Tropical, semi-tropical, humid, warm year round, no frost)
Recommended: Bambusas, Chusqueas, Dendrocalamus, Drepanostachyums, Himalayacalamus, and all Phyllostachys, including Ph. nigra 'Henon,' except those noted below. Can be planted any time of year.
Not recommended: All Semiarundinarias, Phyllostachys nuda, and all Ph. nigras (except Ph. nigra 'Henon'), which need cold winters and cooler summer nights to do well. Also Fargesias, Himalayacalamus hookerianus "Blue Bamboo," Chusquea circinata, and Ch. sulcata will not do well in areas where the temperatures exceed 100 F. and summer nights are above 70 F.
South East (Hot, humid summers, some winter frost and down to 10 F. in some areas)
Recommended: Almost anything will grow in this area if minimum temperature rating of species is appropriate. It is one of the few areas that Phyllostachys heterocycla pubescens 'Moso' grows well. All bamboos in this region are best planted in spring, to maximize growing season. In the fall, be sure to plant at least 3 months before your first frost. In colder areas, clumpers should be mulched before wintertime.
Not recommended: Chusquea circinata and Ch. sulcata, Fargesias, Himalayacalamus hookerianus "Blue Bamboo," Phyllostachys nuda, and Semiarundinarias will not do well in areas where the temperatures exceed 100 F. and summer nights are above 70 F.
South West (Low desert, with hot, dry summers and very light or no frost in winter)
Recommended: Bambusas, Otateas, Phyllostachys and Semiarundinarias (exceptions noted below), Hibanobambusa, Pseudosasa japonica "Arrow Bamboo" and "Pleioblastoides," and most Pleioblastus species. Drepanostachyum sengteeanum, Borinda boliana, Chusquea nigricans, and Ch. pittieri may also do ok. In shade, Yushania, some Himalayacalamus, and other Drepanostachyums may be grown as well. All variegated forms of the above genera and dwarf forms of Pleioblastus should also be grown in shade only. It's best to plant in mild fall weather to give plants time to get established before hot summer temperatures and take advantage of winter rains. Shield plants from extreme heat, cold, and sun when first planted. They will also need frequent watering in this climate, probably daily in summer. All plants will look somewhat better if in a little shade some part of the day. Installation of misters to mist the foliage daily is an optional but useful aid to help plants get established, look their best and grow ultimately taller.
Not recommended: Bambusa multiplex 'Silverstripe,' B. vulgaris vittata, Chusquea circinata and sulcata, Fargesias, Sasas, Himalayacalamus hookerianus "Blue Bamboo," Indocalamus, Semiarundinaria fastuosa, and Phyllostachys nuda.
High Desert (Hot, dry summers, cool nights, cold winters)
Recommended: Pleioblastus, Semiarundinarias and Phyllostachys(except as noted below), Sasella masamuneana albostriata, Psuedosasa japonica "Arrow Bamboo" and 'Pleioblastoides,' and Hibanobambusas. Be sure to check that the temperature rating for the species is appropriate for your area. Chusquea nigricans may do all right, but there are no other clumpers that will do well in this climate. All variegated forms of the above genera and dwarf forms of Pleioblastus should be grown in shade only. Early spring after danger of frost is past is the best time to plant, in order to allow them to get established before the extreme heat arrives, and it's good to shelter plants from extreme heat, cold, or sun when first planted. Plants in this climate will need frequent watering, probably daily in summer. All plants will look somewhat better if in shade some part of the day. Installation of misters to mist the foliage daily is an optional but useful aid to help plants get established, look their best and grow ultimately taller.
Not recommended : Bambusas, Fargesias, Sasas, Indocalamus, Phyllostachys nuda, Semiarundinaria fastuosa.
North (Cold winters down to 0 to –20 F.)
Recommended: all Fargesias (shade plants which are native to high mountain environments) are a good choice. Also many Phyllostachys, with bissetii, nuda, rubromarginata being among the most cold-hardy; Pleioblastus, particularly simonii and simonii 'heterophyllus'; many Semiarundinarias and Sasas. Be sure to check that the temperature rating for the species is appropriate for your area. Spring is the best planting season, allowing the whole growing season to get established before the next winter. In fall, plant at least 3 months before first frost. Mulching deeply in the cold season is also important, using 12 inches of wood shavings, leaves, or hay and then removing the mulch in the spring. Some plants may freeze back in winter, but if mulched deeply will shoot up again in the spring. In the coldest regions mature heights will be lower.
Not recommended: any plants not designated to be cold-hardy enough for your lowest nighttime winter temperatures.
Near Ocean (At least 200' away from water, with salt laden air, but not salt spray) In general, bamboo does not like salt laden air and is prone to leaf tip burn. However, the following bamboos are relatively more salt tolerant.
Recommended: Assuming the species' temperature rating is appropriate for your area, some good choices are the Bambusas, Otatea acuminata, Pseudosasa japonica, Chimonobambusa quadrangularis, Semiarundinaria fastuosa, Pleioblastus hindsii, Pl. gramineus, Pl. simonii and simonii 'heterophyllus.' (Certain other families of bamboo can grow here but are much more vulnerable to leaf tip burn: Phyllostachys, Dendrocalamus, Fargesias and some Chusqueas, such as Ch. pittieri, sulcata, circinata, foliosa, and the culeous).
This region has many highly varied microclimates, and thus can sustain a multitude of bamboo species. Hot and dry climates may choose from recommendations made for the southwest or high desert, colder mountain climates from the northern recommendations, etc. Again, always make sure your temperatures, sun exposure, sun-shade, and humidity are appropriate for any particular species you may choose. One nice feature is that Bamboo in the West is a deer-proof plant! Because there is no bamboo native to the west coast and the deer did not co-evolve with it, they will not eat bamboo unless it is the only fodder for miles around.
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