Many types of bamboo thrive in Florida—they are ideal for privacy screens or beautiful landscape accents. Cold hardiness is an important factor in choosing a variety, and most bamboo types aren’t as invasive as you may have heard.
Bamboo is an inspiring and beautiful plant that can be used as a privacy screen or to create an exotic feel in an otherwise ordinary landscape. Native to every continent but Antarctica and Europe, bamboo will be entirely at home in your Florida yard.
Stay Where You Are!
Your first thought might be that planting a single shoot will soon lead to a full-scale bamboo invasion. The common misconception that all bamboo behaves this way is based on some truth—there are invasive varieties that will spread quickly and aggressively. The good news is that many types grow in natural clumps, meaning they don’t send out underground shoots that surface 25 feet away.
The clumping varieties will invariably be the best choice for homeowners with property lines. They provide beauty and functionality without the risk of a bamboo assault on the neighbor’s lawn.
Summer is bamboo growing season, so homeowners looking for the most growth this year should make sure the plant is established before then. Late winter or spring is ideal; if you can’t get to it until spring, plant as early as possible in the season. Once summer hits, expect the bamboo growth to take off.
Bamboo Varieties for Floridians
Though some bamboos will grow in the northern and central parts of the state, southern Floridians will have the most options with their year-round warmth. Cold is an enemy of many varieties, so plant only hardy bamboo in any region susceptible to low winter temperatures.
Below are five suggestions, starting with less resilient varieties that will only do well further south and ending with cold-hardy bamboos. And don’t worry, we didn’t include invasive types!
Giant Timber Bamboo
As the name suggests, the cane of this bamboo is well-suited for constructing small huts or houses. The thickness of each stalk also makes it ideal for robust privacy screens. It’s only a viable option for this purpose in areas south of Orlando; cold temperatures produce thinner canes.
Cold hardy to about 18 degrees, the canes of this beautiful variety will eventually bow down to create a magnificent fountain effect. It reaches maturity at heights of 50 feet and 2 ½ inches in diameter.
Similar in cane height and diameter to Buddha’s Belly, Royal Bamboo grows straight upward with a bluish-white tint. Leaves and branches begin growing at 15 or 20 feet and don’t require pruning. It is cold-hardy down to about 15 degrees.
Chinese Goddess is a good option for North Florida since it can withstand temperatures in the low teens without a problem. This species grows to 8 or 10 feet, making it ideal for hedges or other small spaces. It also serves as a lovely accent to any landscape.
Green Multiplex Bamboo
This standard clumping variety is as hardy as the Chinese Goddess and is similarly well-suited for dense privacy hedges. The difference comes in height—Green Multiplex Bamboo grows nearly twice as tall as the former.
Regardless of your location in Florida, there is a bamboo for you. Nearby nurseries are a wonderful place to get local information on the variety that will thrive in your area.