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Bamboo. We see it in all the garden design magazines. Bamboo looks so elegant and graceful, how harmful can it be? Can bamboo be safely grown in home gardens? Yes and no.

Bamboo is one of the most useful plants in the world, but you need to know what kind of bamboo you are getting and you need to take care that it doesn't take over. Growing bamboo in containers is an excellent option if you can provide retaining walls. Here's a Bamboo 101, with some words of encouragement and caution.

Some of you bamboo growers may have noticed your plants flowering in recent years. This is beautiful, but it usually means the plant will begin to die off soon. Thatís not a major problem for gardeners, since if you look closely around the area of the bamboo plant, you will probably find a seedling or two popping up. But it can be devastating for cultures that rely on bamboo as a crop. The American Bamboo Society has an interesting article on how Flowering Bamboo Presents an Opportunity.

Photo: © Marie Iannotti

Comments

April 7, 2009 at 5:41 pm
(1) Laura Z says:

Bamboo is too invasive for me; I’ve seen it growing up through asphalt. I’d use a container and an armed guard!

April 7, 2009 at 10:18 pm
(2) Emma says:

Loved Laura’s comment. I grow it in a bomb proof pot AND will add an armed guard. We live near the water and have very sandy soil. We plant bamboo in whiskey barrels that are 3/4 submerged. It makes a beautiful privacy screen for our hot tub. Every few year we dig up the pots and dig out the roots that have punched through. It’s pretty easy work to dig out the roots in our sandy soil but I wouldn’t grow it in hard packed soil. You’d need a jack hammer to get it out.

April 8, 2009 at 2:54 am
(3) Scott says:

If your a person that plants something and looks back 5 years later and is shoked or disappointed bamboo is not for you. If you think bamboo is a great screen like a nice room devider bamboo is not for you. If you realize plants grow, bamboo is a grass that is also a tree, and there’s no free lunch, bamboo is for you!!

April 8, 2009 at 12:31 pm
(4) Marie Iannotti says:

I’m so glad to hear you all talking about using caution. I hesitated to even write about bamboo, but I do get questions.

My biggest complaint is with people who plant bamboo and then move without warning the new owners about it. Even though you can kill off tender new growth by simply stepping on it, it’s very hard to get rid of the whole plant, once it’s established.

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