A VERY MISUNDERSTOOD PLANT
The easiest way to visualise a clumping bamboo is to think of the common Golden Cane Palm. Golden Cane Palms have multiple stems coming out from the ground but they are clumped together forming one round plant. Clumping bamboo, as opposed to running bamboo, grow the same way. They produce short, individual rhizomes that grow out of the soil and up into individual culms (bamboo poles), forming a round 'clump' of culms.
The growing tip of the bamboo shoots is very shallow and near the surface, and can physically only produce one culm per rhizome, not like a running bamboo that spreads everywhere. Clumping bamboo cannot physically run and will 'stay put' in the clump where you plant the original bamboo.
There are many different types of clumping bamboo species and they all vary in clump size, height, colour and thickness of culm. For example some species form a clump of one metre round in diameter so are great for narrow screening, as opposed to some larger or loose species that can form up to a 4m diameter footprint - making it essential you get the right advice in selecting the most suitable bamboo for your needs!
A great analogy for this is walking into a pet shop to purchase a puppy - are you wanting a Chihuahua or a Great Dane? They both have a certain 'size' they will stop growing at but this differs greatly - just like clumping bamboo! We can help you choose the right bamboo for your needs and know all the right questions to make this an easy task!
Running bamboo is the type of bamboo that everyone knows about - it spreads to the neighbour's yard, pops up in the middle of the grass and is 'uncontrollable'. This is factual but the sinister reputation of running bamboo is caused by it being planted in the wrong application and after a few years wondering what went wrong! For example in a narrow garden bed right next to the neighbour's fence - being unrestricted it will naturally become invasive and problematic in this area! However on large acreage properties, in restricted contained areas or in pots, they can be extremely useful plants.
Running bamboo spreads from an underground rhizome which grow in unpredictable directions and up to as much as six metres in length. New bamboo shoots will then grow through the surface at varying intervals along the length of that rhizome to form the bamboo culms (poles). Running bamboo then send off further rhizomes, again spreading up to 6 mtrs in any direction beyond the original plant - producing the running bamboo grove. Think of this like an underground web of rhizomes that don't have a spacial limit.
Running bamboo can produce amazing groves, forests or when kept in pots be great screening plants. They are also very popular in cities where a lot of garden beds are already concreted around due to the buildings and roads, which forms a root barrier for them. Running bamboo are particularly useful in narrow spaces where you need extra height! With a root barrier, this prevents them from spreading... but the majority of people just need a clumping non-invasive bamboo!
Bamboo is a very unique and often misunderstood plant. Many people still have the idea that all bamboo is invasive, when in fact, there are two very different types of bamboo.
Running bamboo and Clumping, non-invasive bamboo.
It seems that everyone has heard the horror stories about bamboo, where the root systems are out of control, it would take over your garden and your neighbours' gardens, and it would constantly drop all its leaves!
Unfortunately bamboo has received a bad reputation all due to a few running species planted in the wrong circumstances. (Just like fig trees planted right next to a house or pool!) In the right setting, running bamboo are very beautiful and useful plants, but most people just need a clumping bamboo.
The good news is, we specialise in CLUMPING, NON-INVASIVE BAMBOO! These wonderful plants have SHALLOW ROOTS, have NON INVASIVE rootballs and grow in a neat circular footprint. They actually have fine fibrous grass-like roots that are much safer than most palms and trees!
Please do not hesitate to ask us any questions you have on clumping or running bamboo.
Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are trained in species identification, selection & best uses for all species of bamboo, and can help find the bamboo that is perfect for you. And they know all the right questions to ask to make this an easy task!
Want more information?
Let us explain the difference of running, invasive bamboo and clumping non-invasive bamboo: