Anyone growing cold hardy bamboo?

yogi80205February 6, 2007

I hope this gets posted in Rocky Mountain Gardening.

Backyard got a new deck last summer, this year I'm going to focus on getting plants back there. I'd really like to see some bamboo along the fence to provide more privacy, and flow w/ the asian feel I'd like in that area. Is anyone growing bamboo , or know a bamboo that will survive the Denver winters? I have the option to plant in the ground, or in giant pots. Any info will be great....

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sunnymorninggardens(z4-5 CO)

I've heard that the Denver Botanical Gardens is growing bamboo. You might talk to them.
I'd also like to grow bamboo, but I'm not sure it can survice the clay soil and the wind, even though the bamboo websites list some plants that are hardy in zone 5.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 11:10AM
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shudavies(Zone 6a, CO)

There is one running (meaning it's going to spread a lot) bamboo you could try. I have seen it here and there around the midwest, as well as here in Canon City. I have also seen it for sale locally and at Harding Nursery in Colorado Springs, so you can no doubt find it in Denver too. With bamboo you have to be aware that you're not going to see much growth the first year or two, and you have to water it a lot. Then when it gets established and starts to spread, it will stay evergreen a little better, grow a little taller, tolerate drought a little more, and so on. But you'll still probably need to water it as much as a lawn.

The following information is from the '' web site:
"Phyllostachys aureosulcata - (common name:)'YELLOW GROOVE BAMBOO'"

"One of our top picks for very cold areas in need of privacy screening. I have measured this species at 46 feet and 2.6 inches in diameter in climate zone 7. We have customers growing this cold hardy species in parts of Minnesota. The culm (cane) sheaths are pale green with creamy streaks. Auricles and oral setae are present on mid culm. Can be absent on lower and upper portions of the culms. A very upright species at maturity. Less aggressive in cooler climates. Yellow Groove is from Jiangsu and Zhejiang in east China."

"This species is doing very well in the Missouri Botanical Gardens, Logan, Iowa and Grand Island Nebraska. One of our customers in zone 3b/4a Wisconsin where temperatures have gone to -30 reported his 'yellow groove' dies back in the Winter months. It comes back each Spring 6 to 8 feet tall from a 5 year old planting. Reports back to us this year that it is doing great at the University of Minnesota Arboretum."

"It averages 10 to 12 feet in height by .75 inch diameter at the Denver Zoo after 12 years and appears that this will be the mature average height at that elevation and climate zone 5."

"In USDA Climate Zone 7 expect mature size canes to be over 40 feet in height.
In USDA Climate Zone 6 expect mature size canes to be 18 feet in height.
In USDA Climate Zone 5 expect mature size canes to be 12 to 14 feet in height.
In USDA Climate Zone 4 expect mature size canes to be 8 feet in height."

"I recommend this species for USDA Climate Zones 5 and warmer."

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 1:28PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

I don't know if it's the same species shudavies is talking about, but Paulino's used to carry at least one species of bamboo that was supposed to be hardy in their nursery. I'm not sure they have anybody there right now who knows much about the nursery stock---actually, if you call them, ask for John at the front desk---I think he might be the best person to try to answer your question there at this time of the year.

Or, better yet, call Timberline Gardens (it's on the west side of town), and ask for Kelly Grummons. If there's one that is truly hardy in this area, he probably carries it---and he could definitely answer your questions about what the hardiest species is. Kelly knows everything! Or at least it sure does seem like he does! I'll link their site below.

I see you just registered, so---welcome to RMG. Glad to have another Denverite around here!


Here is a link that might be useful: Timberline Gardens

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 3:00AM
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hollenback(z6 WA)

There is information on the bamboo at the Denver zoo on their website at

If you would like to see what some of my bamboos look like after -12*F you can see them at:


    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 8:24PM
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windeye(z5 CO)

Have a Fargesia rufa (clumping variety) that is potted. Left it out till it started gettin close to 0, then moved it into the garage. Has stayed evergreen. This variety will supposedly make it through our winters with little damage. Fargesia murielae is also cold tolerant in our area. Dan Johnson from the Denver Botanical Gardens suggested Phyllostachys nuda for our area, it is a running variety. I have also seen P. aureosulcata (Yellow Groove) for sale in our area. I am going to try a few of these this year, imagine the wind would be a problem and they would need supplemental irrigation even in winter if we get really dry. Am thinking if you had the right protection, and gave it special attention the first few years it would do well. Keep us posted if you have any success with it. Glad to see interest in growing it in our area, maybe the climate here would help keep the running varieties in check.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 9:15PM
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emagineer(z5 CO)

I went to the Home/Garden Show in CO Springs yesterday. Don't know why I go to these things, they are always disappointing. One huge landscape had so many plants dying, even a couple of roses. And this year it was all about fake turf.

They had bamboo growing in a couple of the gardens...well, not growing, they were probably in pots. Didn't see your post til this morning, so I don't know the name. But as a couple here have suggested, call the people noted. They have their job because they love it and are always willing to share knowledge. We have Rick's garden center here and he is great about email or talking to you in person (writes a garden column). You could also email the Denver Post/RMN as their garden section might answer the question specifically for your location, soil, etc.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 6:59AM
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Hello from Iowa! Yes there is cold hardy bamboo in Iowa. I was gifted with some dug around Thanksgiving in 1984 from one of the Carolinas (can't remember whether it was North or South) and it is a well established patch in Des Moines, Iowa currently.

Yes it does stay green all winter and is a good screen, and reaches about 12' tall with 3/4" diameter canes. The canes are quite handy around the garden and it is easily kept under control with the lawnmower.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 3:50AM
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