How To Plant Bamboo Outdoors In The UK

Last Updated on April 10, 2024 by Real Men Sow

Bamboos are a popular choice for garden plants due to their rapid growth rate and ability to produce architectural stems (culms). While some bamboos can be used in tropical plantings, others are better suited for urban or contemporary designs. Natural screening is possible with some clump-forming species. Bamboo plants come in a wide variety of colors, from black to yellow.

Can You Grow Bamboo Outdoors In The Garden?

Bamboos can grow large clumps that are suitable for screening, building structure, or as focal points. Other species may quickly outgrow their space, and can become unattractive if they are not properly managed. They can become almost impossible to control if they are allowed to grow unchecked.

Understand Bamboo Before Growing 

There are two types: running and clumping. Clumping bamboo plants are characterized by their tendency to grow in clumps. Running bamboos have long underground stems or rhizomes that allow for new growth.

What Soil Should You Use To Plant Bamboo

Bamboos do best in well-drained, moist soil. Although they can be grown in all soil types, some bamboos do best in acid soil. Avoid wet, boggy, or dry conditions. While most bamboos prefer sunlight, some bamboo species like the Sasa can be grown in shade.

Which month is the best to plant bamboo

To encourage bamboo to grow roots and canes, plant it in spring. You can feed your bamboo plants with a balanced fertilizer all year. Allow some bamboo leaves to grow around the base to return nutrients to the roots. This will help them stay healthy and strong.

How To Plant Bamboo

Running bamboo can be very invasive so you should plant them in containers, dig a trench, and line it with paving slabs, or another impermeable material. Dig a hole twice as big as the root ball to plant clumping birch in the ground. Place the bamboo so that the root ball is at the same level as the ground. Fill in with soil and water well.

Where To Grow Bamboo

Bamboos can grow in any environment. To create height, plant bamboo in the back of your border, in your lawn, to create a focal point, or against a wall or fence to create a screen or contemporary hedge. Bamboo plants can be grown in a pot. Some varieties are more adaptable than others. However, some ‘running’ bamboos do best in larger pots to keep them in check.

How To Take Care Of A Bamboo Plant

Bamboo plants thrive on regular liquid food from spring through autumn. Take out any dead leaves around the base of the plants. However, it is best to allow some to remain so that the plant can get the nutrients silica back to its roots.

Regular root inspections are important, especially if you grow running bamboo. To keep the growth under control, dig down to the base of your plant and remove any stray roots with a sharp spade.

How To Propagate Bamboo

Divide bamboo clumps using a spade with a sharp edge to separate the root balls from the smaller pieces. Water well and plant the bamboo clumps in the ground.

Growing Bamboo: Problem Solving

Pests and diseases are rare in bamboo. Bamboos can, however, become unmanageable when its a running bamboo variety.

How To Plant Running Bamboos

Don’t worry if you want to grow running bamboo. There are many ways to stop it from growing out of control. It is important to be prepared and vigilant.

  • Dig a trench between 40-60 cm deep and line it with impermeable materials such as corrugated iron sheets, paving slabs or strong root barrier fabrics. Make sure the barrier is not below soil level
  • Place the bamboo in a trench so that the root ball is below the trench. Fill the trench with soil, compost, or well-rotted manure. To hide the barrier that is proud of the soil’s surface, water well and then mulch it

Types Of Bamboo To Grow Outdoors


The mountains of Latin America are home to the Chusquea bamboos, which can clump. Their culms are not hollow, unlike most bamboos. There are many varieties, including Chusquea gigantea which is a large species that can grow to 4m high and bears thick green stems. There is also the Chusquea culeou, a Chilean bamboo. The best bamboos to screen are the Chusquea, and they can also be used as focal points. Only for large gardens.


Fargesia clump-forming Fargesia are popular garden bamboos. They usually form small clumps and are native to the alpine forests and mountains of East Asia. Fargesia murieliae Luca is a dwarf Fargesia murieliae that can grow to 50 cm in height. It’s one of the most popular bamboos to grow in a pot.


Himalayacalamus refers to a genus clumping bamboo that is native to the Himalayas. It also includes Himalayacalamus hookerianus. The young culms of this species are blue with a hint of red or purple and mature to golden. It is a great plant to use as a focal point for showing off its color.


Sibataea, a genus that includes short-growing bamboos with dark green leaves, is one of the most popular. It is ideal for tall ground cover and short hedges.


Thamnocalamus Bamboos are clump-forming, and they are native to South Africa, Madagascar, and the Himalayas. It has tiny leaves and a pale blue culm that turns tinged red with age.


Phyllostachys refers to a genus that includes Asian running bamboos. Most species are native to China. The culms are easily identifiable by their distinctive groove, known as a sulcus. It runs the length of each segment. Many species can spread quickly by underground rhizomes and cause garden problems. Some species can grow up to 30m tall. Many Phyllostachys are able to grow as a focal point, or screen. They have decorative culms. Phyllostachys nigra is a popular choice in gardens due to its black culms.


It’s also known as broad-leaved bamboo, is a genus that includes running bamboo. Sasa palmata F. Nebulosa is a tropical Japanese bamboo that has yellow culms. Sasa kurilensis, which is the northernmost bamboo in the world, is also included. They are great for shade gardens.


Hibanobambusa tranquillans is the only species in this genus. It’s a variegated, running bamboo with large leaves and bushy habits. Hibanobambusa tranquillans Shiroshima retains its variegation more than other species and is ideal for use as a focal point.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.