Planting and growing bamboo

Hello all,

I`ve just been given lots of roots from 2 types of bamboo! I know that bamboo can be invasive. Does anyone have bamboo growing in their garden or had experience of growing it? Is there anything I can do to keep it in check? I want to plant it along the edge of my property, which is pretty much exposed to the weather on top of a ridge beside the road. Or I can plant it along the edge going downhill which would be more sheltered and not so dry.

Your advice will be greatly appreciated!


When we moved in three years ago there was a large clump of the stuff that grows up to about 5cm thick. When we had a JCB to dig out a filtration bed for our bac degraisseur we had it shifted too. Some roots remained, so I had to stay on top of them whenever I found new shoots. Also, and I had no idea about this, some of the very young green side shoots that fell off took root. There is a place nearby in La Buisson de Cadouin that exhibits the stuff. I chatted with one of the people there and found out that when you are told to contain bamboo it means put it in an all round container. An open bottom is an invitation for the roots to grow under and back up. Just a drainage hole in a large flower pot is enough for the roots to spread. My bamboo is all gone now but I have a wet spot after the filtration bed where I would happily let it take over and have plenty to cut for plant stakes and so on.

I thought I'd share my current task and believe me it's hard work. I've no idea of the name of this variety - it was here when we moved in. Looks beautiful blowing around in the breeze![](upload://qPBAjaUBI6typjIR3U0u3CSw9mG.jpg)Until you notice shoots coming up through the ground up to 4m away. This is now my 'lawn'

I have stolen a nice root of a particularly tall bamboo which grows down by the river Cher. The locals cut it for bean poles, fishing rods and heaven knows what: it’s a biggie!
One of the techniques used by collectors is to grow it inside a big concrete drain…sort of like a huge pot with no base. Dig it into the ground up to the rim so you dont see it and plant the bamboo inside. I guess you could also cut the base out of a huge pot and achieve the same effect but if you want to plant a line of them you can buy a material called “root barrier” which will do the same thing.
As has been said, best not to have it in too exposed a site and they do like a bit of moisture.
We have a bamboo specialist a few miles down the road with a wonderful selection…but oh, those French prices!

I have the Arundinacea type growing down by the river at the end of my garden and it grows 9" a day when it first comes out of the ground. I think a dry site might slow it down

Let me know how you get on. I’m going to plant some behind the pool. It’s 40°C her under our covered terrace and 30°C in the pool. Wonderful. I’m lovin’ it.

I wonder if that is necessary for the clumping varieties, hopefully someone will know. How’s the heat up there? 45 here now!

Hi James
That’s spooky. I was just asking some neighbours for some of theirs. Don’t know anything about varietes but he said we wshould definitely make a barrier for the roots or even plant it into the ground in pots otherwise it spreads out over a large area.



I would like to plant some bamboo to create a barrier, what varieties should I look out for? How far apart should they be planted, do they all need a root barrier?



Good luck Liz - we have at least 5 very different varieties here and it is all lovely in the right place :slight_smile: ps Some of ours isn’t in the right place but it’s still lovely to me.

Thanks Jayne, Janis and Stephen,
I dont know the varieties of bamboo, from looking at their root systems I would say that one is of the invasive kind and the other clump forming. I was thinking about a barrier. Ive got a lot of digging to do!!

Hi Liz

Plant the bamboo (Phyllostachys) in the sheltered spot which is not so dry, bamboo hate wind which dries out the leaves, leaving them brown and withered, they also like lots of moister if they are a green variety you may notice that the leaves are turning slightly yellow, then give them lots of nitrogen like grass depending on what species you have been given some can be yellow. Get as much information from the person that are giving you the roots of the bamboo they should be able to tell you how invasive they have found this variety to the thickness of the stems, which can make a big diffence when it comes to retaining the shoots. You can put down a barrier when you dig a trench put a paving slub or metal sheet. If it’s not so invasive you can just dig around the new shoot and just chop it out. If you have any more questions please let me know, I hope this information is helpful to you Liz.

Do you know which types they are as some are very invasive whereas others are clump forming? You can minimise the invasion by digging deep down and putting a barrier in as you plant. They all like more moisture though so the bank sounds good. Hope this helps a little! Jayne :heart:

Hi Liz you seem really knowledgeable on the subject of bamboo.
I am planing to plant some in a large 1h field do you know if the running breeds will run forever or would i still need to put in barriers eventually as it grows outwards?
Could i plant clumping bamboo around the edges of the field to contain said running in the middle?
Are there any laws regulations in France around bamboo the information I have found is very vague?
Lastly do you recommend any breeds that do well in the south of France i’m based near Pau?
Thank you any help very welcome. Mike

The vigorous running breeds will run forever, and surrounding them with other varieties will make no difference. Shame you are in the west, as the bambouserie de prafrance used to have people who would give great advice as well as telling you which varieties would suit you best.

See which ones are available in your local nurseries and look them up. Not much point giving you varieties as you may not be able to source them as there are a lot.

What is current status of your field, is it agricultural land? We have a small patch of agricultural land and are expressly forbidden from planting on it.

I hate the stuff! When I bought my house there was a thicket on a piece of commune land but now it has taken over half of the back garden, is growing against the house & moving in to the rest of the garden.
I can’t cut it back as I can’t dispose of it!
Every week I cut the new growth while it is soft but the older stuff is over 30 ft high!

must confess… the folk I know who have got bamboo… they curse it… so I’m rather at a loss to wonder why someone would want to plant it… :wink:

I just broke a stainless steel spade digging up bamboo rhizomes!
A small piece of bamboo was given to me by a Chinese lady who lives locally. Unfortunately, she didn’t give me a Panda to keep it unfer control!
Once it gets established, it grows and spreads rapidly, by runners that can travel long distances. They don’t go deep, only a few inches below the surface, so the easiest way to control your bamboo is to dig a 30cm. trench around the planting and cut off the runners twice a year as they appear. You could fill the trench with sand and dig it out each time you prune if that results in a better visual appearance. I didn’ t know this when I planted it, so I am now faced with a major task.
If you want to start a war with your neighbors, plant bamboo along the boundary!

I have spent 22 years fighting bamboo and would not recommend it !

We inherited a bamboo hedge here and find that when any new shoots grow we can just cut them down to ground level and they cause no further problems. Actually ours doesn’t spread that much but other varieties might. I’d never plant it out of choice though.