Cold hardy Bamboo?

rampantMay 27, 2006

I've only recently become more interested/brave enough in growing bamboo. So I am quite the newbie, I am interested in starting small, not an entire grove or multiple groves etc.

As listed by (I provided the link) I'm in a zone 6 for hardiness, but as I've searched the few threads involving Michigan weather by other posters some of them have said 4 or 5, although I don't know if they were in a Northern part of the state or not.

Some of the species that I've begun to admire are:

Robert Young

Phyllostachys heteroclada

Phyllostachys Aureosulcata "Spectabilis"

Phyllostachys Aureosulcata (Harbin)

Phyllostachys Bissetii

Phyllostachys Nuda

Phyllostachys vivax

Phyllostachys vivax 'Aureocaulis'

I'm curious as to whether or not these species are at all subitble for my climate, I've done research but many websites list a varied description and recommended planting environment.

I'd appreciate any adive or common sense tips that anyone has to offer. Whether it's a worthwhile pursuit for me in my current spot or if I should quit before starting or move to a warmer place.

Also are there any books to recommend?

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to my temperature zone from

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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

In your Zone most of those bamboo are going to have topkill in the winter or die. The hardiest is the Ph. nuda, which is hardy to -20F (in the ground). The two vivax are only hardy to -5F and are thin-walled and break under snow loads. The others are also probably not survivors in your winters. I suggest you try the nuda and see if it survives. Or do what I did: move from the Midwest to the West Coast!
If you want to get data and hardiness ratings of various bamboo, go to the database at

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 1:19AM
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I've had good luck with spectabilis here in zone 6. A couple of my vivax got some frost damage this past winter, but another one of them didn't

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 2:20AM
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Phyllostachys heteroclada
Phyllostachys Aureosulcata "Spectabilis"
Phyllostachys Aureosulcata (Harbin)
Phyllostachys Bissetii
Phyllostachys Nuda

Any of these above are worth trying in zone 5/6.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 9:55AM
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Much appreciated, thank you all.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 10:41AM
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I have yellow groove bamboo (Phyllostachys Aureosulcata)in Cleveland Ohio and it is hardy here but I mulch really heavy in winter and bend over the canes as much as I can and the canes I cannot some lose there leaves but some stay green and come back every spring more vivid. I know someone here that has a gorgeous groove all year long with yellow groove with not much die back. I guess it would depend on the location in which you have it too.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 3:30PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

I have one in the ground, and one that I foolishly potted up in a whiskey barrel (I was feeling daring) Both are Yellow Groove as far as I know. The one in the ground did great, losing only a quarter of its leaves and not losing a single cane. The one in the barrel did not fare as well, in fact as far as I know it is currently dead.

I have kept track of the coldest winter days here ( in St. Clair Shores) and the lowest temperature I've measured over the past 5 years was -2. This last winter our coldest night was 6 degrees (which means the last winter was roughly a zone 7 one here).


    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 8:20PM
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I am testing to transplant my bamboos in Washington DC to cooler areas such as Western New York and Baffulo area.

This morning, while walking on the street, I saw some bamboos growing in the front yard of a house on East Delavan Street in Buffalo. I talked to the owner, Howard, he told me that the bamboo leaves will become brown in winter, and grow back green in spring and grows very well.

This is obviously much better than bamboos in Boston, MA, as the bamboos there would die out in winter. I saw some growing in Harvard Univ near the Chinese East Asian Institute, but in the winter, the bamboos would die out.

Howard told me there are only a few houses in Buffalo have bamboo growing, and all are transplanted from him.

He is willing to give me some.
It made my day!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 12:43PM
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hello i'm 1hr from ohio border i have a bamboo? or false Bamboo?? i can't find any info on..sorry i cannot post a pic It's very HARDY HERE! HAVE HAD IT 22YRS & CANNOT KILL IT..GOT IT FROM MY MOTHER & SHE HAd it @ my family home for 57yrs(she is now passed away=she was from Oklahoma & always brought back plants from her vacations)
It grows very tall & unlike the thin slender leave bamboo, this Has large almost heart shape leaves the bamboo stalk is easyly broken & is hollow..has a white unbrella type flower cluster, very sweet smelling bees love it & gets 15 to 20 high, it just die back in winter & goes crazy again in spring...I love it a a privacy hedge & like all the other bamboo it comes up everywhere! but is not deep I can pull it easily... Can anyone tell its name & a site to show a pic & growing instructions

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 2:09AM
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What you've described is Japanese Knotweed, not bamboo. It's a rather invasive herbaceous perennial that has a scourge reputation with many gardeners. It's very hardy and will propagate from the smallest root sections.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 8:08AM
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Fori is not pleased

I'm almost next door in Dearborn, and I think we're classified zone 6 still. I've had good luck with the Fargesias here. You'll likely be told it's too hot here for them to be happy, but it isn't if you have a shady spot for them. These are smaller clumping bamboos--no worries about spreading. If you want to start bambooing with something safe and small, try F. nitida or another Fargesia.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 9:56AM
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nucci60(6 Ma.)

that japanese knotwood is all over Massachusetts and it really is tough to get rid of. it does have a resrmblance to bamboo,but in the late fall it collapses and looks terrible,imho.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 8:09PM
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I'm close to both "fori" and "chills" as I am in Sterling Hgts. Can I ask where you have gotten your boo's from? As I am just starting out, I am not finding a local nursery that can be of any help.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 2:06PM
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dcballard(z6 SE MI)

I bought my most recent bamboo from Needmore Bamboo. A couple of years ago I bought from a place near Cincinati, Burton Bamboo.

I have had best results with bissetii. Planted in spring 2003, this years shoots are 12'+. The first winter it was killed back 75%. Each year it has less damage (though last winter was very mild).

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 3:56PM
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From an email I received from a nursery I have been talking with for bamboo plants in Sterling Hts., MI., z6b:

My number one choice for your area and needs would be the Phyllostachys 'BISSETII'. Is a beautiful little bamboo with dark green canes and leaves that grows around 18 feet X 1 inch in diameter. It is cold hardy to around -15 degrees F.

My second choice would be the 'SPECTABILIS' It doesn't get much prettier than this collector's species. The average mature size is 1.5 inch diameter and 26 feet tall. It is hardy to -15 F. Aggressive in full sun.

Third suggestion would be 'Yellow Groove'

Fourth choice would be Nuda is the most cold hardy species, a very sturdy bamboo with excellent wood qualities.

One division of bamboo will start a grove, however if you are wanting a privacy screen fast then purchasing plenty and spacing as we recommended to get there fast. Plant 3 gallon size 3 to 5 feet apart, plant 2 gallon sizes 1 to 3 feet apart.

Hope this helps some.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 11:44PM
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patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

FWIW, my what I'm assuming is aureosulcata originally came from Boston's Franklin Park Zoo, where I never noticed any winter die back in the several years I was there. In zone 5, northern MA, I would ocasionally have winter leaf die back. Here in 4/5 it completely dies back, even in last year's mild winter, but springs back, at half the height and diameter that I'd known in Boston.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 6:24AM
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jvnpppl(Zone 5/6)

Hey there anyone , I am here in michigan (Jackson MI) and would be interested in obtaining some Bamboo, I have a small quantity of "black" indoors in a pot. and I think my yellow groove that I obtained last year has died.

please help anyone!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 2:31PM
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Was the "Yellow Groove" planted outside? How big was it? Did you provide it with any protection?

Here is a link that might be useful: Michigan Bamboo Company

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 5:11PM
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