cold hardy bamboo for Chicago

v1rtSeptember 15, 2008

Hi folks,

I'm in zone 5a. I am looking for a bamboo that can withstand our winter here. I'm also looking for a bamboo that is not invasive.

Oh, and which online store that I can buy them and can be trusted. :)

Any help would be greatly appreciated.



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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

I know one that'll make it just fine there in Chicago, but it's a little invasive, that's yellow groove. I'm zone 5 too and have a pretty large grove about 40' x 12'

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 3:21PM
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What is the specific name for the yellow grove bamboo?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 5:39PM
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Hi Sandy,

I don't like an invasive type. I was doing some research and found fargesias. Can fargesias really endure z5 winters?

I would like to have bamboo clump instead.



    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 12:34AM
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Greetings all. I'm in the high desert west at about 4800 ft elevation. Our summers are hotter than...well, they run in the high 90's and we get freezing weather and snow for about six months.

Like Neil, I'm hoping to learn about bamboo that can withstand these kind of climate extremes. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 4:13PM
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tomhoffman(NE Iowa)

Hi everyone. I live in NE Iowa. I have successfully raised Phylostachis (sp) Nuda and Fargesia here for several years. Most winters, the tops winter kill and then they come back from the buds under ground. Each year the Nuda gets larger. My biggest so far is 3/4" dia. and around 10' tall. The fargesia has made it to about 5' tall.

I have seen a very nice large clump of Golden Groove (Yellow Grove?) Growing at the University of Minnesota Botanical garden in the Oriental Garden out side and seems to make it year to year. It has been several years since I last saw it and they may have had to replant or replace, don't know. That is in Minneapolis in the Chanhassen area.

My theory was, hey what the heck, buy some and try it.

I would recommend planting on the southern side of a large structure and giving the canes lots of mulch in the fall. I had mine planted down in a lower entry walk way to a basement protected on W, N, and E side with full sun in the winter from the S. Also, the snow tended to drift down into this area and normally the boo would be burried in a drift 6-10' deep most of the winter.

Give it a shot.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 10:26PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

Sorry, I can't help you on other kinds of bamboo since I only have the one kind.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 5:52PM
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I would worry less about escaping bamboo, because it will likey just be a challenge to get it to survive. I had good luck(came back from rhimozomes) in zone 4 with a clone of the native Arundinaria gigantea, also Pleioblastus viridistriatiaus did great. I tried P.bissetti, P.nuda, P.rubromarginata, P.yellow groove, a few Sasa's, some other Pleiblastus species, Fargesia nitidia, F.nitidia nymphenburg, F.murelli, and a few others I forget, but almost all did not return.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 8:50PM
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I have half dozen Yellow Grove bamboo plants available.
Most of them n 1-gallon or 2-gallon containers. If interested, send me a email at

I planted Yellow Grove bamboo in Naperville/Warrenville
area (i.e. 5 to 10 degrees colder than the lakefront area)
since early '90s. Their shoot come up each spring, and
their branches died after hard frosts, just like
other perennials. Unlike Southern states, running-root concerns are lesser of an issue in northern Illinois,
as winter hibernation pretty much scale back its growth.

Planting them in a sunroom can turn a single-gallon plant
into a bamboo jungle in five years, assuming you multiply
them each spring around early April.

An expert advise, leaving potted bamboo plants outdoor
will not survive the Chicago winter, even a mild one.

Paul L. Naperville IL

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 9:55AM
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One of the cold hardy phyllostachys species will be the best thing that fits your needs. fargesia genus tends to not have enough bounce back vigor, therefore, it'll take much longer for it to become taller.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 11:10AM
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