Bamboo is a plant that grows into a clump that can provide an attractive feature in the garden. There are two different types of bamboo and it is important that you choose the right one because the other can become a monster that will take over the landscape. I learned this from an article by Martin Cole which I found on his Gardening Step by Step website. Martin is a bamboo enthusiast who grows this plant in every garden he creates.
Bamboo is undoubtedly one of my favourite plants. I almost always use it in gardens I create.
Bamboo has striking presence. It can be used as a specimen plant ? a star in the border, like this phyllostachys nigra ? or as a wonderful screen.
Learning how to grow bamboo is pretty straightforward. I?ll take you through the important points in this article.
What is bamboo?
Bamboo belongs to the grass family (Poaceae). Species of Bamboo are native to most continents, except Europe. Most of today?s cultivated species originate from China, Japan or South and Central America.
Many of these species hail from mountainous regions or lowland plains of Asia where, in both cases, winter temperatures can drop as low as -25 to -30 degree Celsius (-15 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit). The consequent hardiness of these bamboos makes them ideal plants for the temperate regions of Europe and North America.
In addition, there are a number of tropical species of bamboo which originate from Africa, Australia and tropical parts of Asia. These require frost free conditions to survive in home gardens, but they are often amongst the most spectacular specimens you will find.
What are the main different types of bamboo?
The principal distinction among different types of bamboo relates to the plants? root systems.
This is really important for home gardeners, because it can make the difference between selecting a species that suits your situation perfectly and one that takes over you garden (and your neighbour?s as well.)
Put simply, most bamboos either have a running root system (technically called a leptomorph system) or a clumping (or pachymorph) root system.
To explain the difference, it helps to understand some of the botany. Bamboo root systems comprise rhizomes and roots.
Botanically, rhizomes are underground stems. This means that like above ground stems they have nodes, which are the parts of the stem from which new shoots emerge.
In bamboo, the difference between running and clumping forms arises as a result of the size of the space between the nodes on the rhizome (the internodes).
Clumping forms have short internodes, which means that new culms are produced close to each other. Running forms have much longer internodes. The rhizome stretches out and may reach lengths equivalent to the height of an above ground culm, with new individual shoots growing up from any of the nodes along its length.
Whilst the tendency of each form to run or clump can be a bit variable according to the particular conditions a plant is grown in, this distinction is one that it will always pay to have in mind when selecting bamboo for your garden.
See more at Gardening Step by Step