Bamboo for Specific Uses

Dwarfs, Ground Covers & Short Hedges

When most people think about bamboo, they imagine groves of towering timber bamboo, but there is an astounding array of shorter bamboos, including dwarfs and ground covers. In fact, in the world of bamboo, any species that stays below six feet tall is considered ‘ground cover’! Some of them grow only a few inches high, and many can be made into beautiful bonsai, potted accent plants for your deck, short hedges or borders, decorative shrubs, or can even be mowed to create lawns.

Because running type dwarf bamboo spreads and fills in quickly, it is highly effective in places that require extreme erosion control, such as hillsides or embankments near water, or spaces that are small/low clearance. In the Bay Area, dwarfs are evergreen, and make for an excellent, attractive under-story for your landscape or garden where the spread can be controlled. To keep your dwarf bamboo low and to encourage healthy new growth, it is recommended that you mow it once a year or two in the spring. After the mowing it will create a nice low fill that requires very little maintenance throughout the year. Dwarf bamboo can also be grown effectively in containers to create a lush, full plant or low screen.

Dwarf bamboo comes in a wide variety of looks, from broad to thin leaves, dark to bright lime green, even dramatically striped/variegated cultivars!