Heard scary things about planting bamboo? Never fear! You came to the RIGHT place with the RIGHT plants. Bamboo Texas specializes in CLUMPING bamboo that will not spread and take over your yard (or your neighbor's). Running Bamboo that has been misplanted has earned bamboo a questionable reputation. We have been growing clumping bamboos in Northwest Houston and South Texas for over a decade and can make recommendations to you with complete confidence on what species will serve your needs.
What do you mean, "right kind of bamboo"? There are two main types of bamboo, running and clumping. Running bamboos are beautiful, monoculture plants that spread underground with long, cable-like rhizomes. Their job is to make a large forest of bamboo. This bamboo serves a wonderful purpose in nature, it is the mistake of humankind to plant those species and not expect it to do what it is supposed to do! Unless you have a large amount of open property, clumping bamboo would probably serve you best!
Why should I not purchase my bamboo from just anywhere? Running bamboos are still distributed in the nursery trade and many of the distributors and nurserymen in the trade do not know that much about it. If you happen to see some bamboo in a nursery, chances are that it was not grown in Texas and how it will do in our climate and if the species is correctly labeled is a major concern. Don't get us us wrong, we can name some quality nurseries that have great experience with bamboo and can give quality advice, but those are the exception. Especially after the last few years of extremely cold winters and drought-ridden summers, you want to select your species carefully.
About subtropical clumping bamboo (The kind we grow):
Clumping (sympodial) types have a very short horizontal root structure, are genetically incapable of expanding more than a few inches a year and will generally form discrete clumps. The clumps slowly enlarge as new culms emerge every year and may require anywhere from 2-10 feet in diameter for their planting area, depending on the species. Clumpers make excellent specimen plants and will form very dense screens when planted in a line. We believe these types are most suitable for suburban yards and gardens and ladscape much like a medium sized tree.
Clumpers mature in height and culm diameter much faster than running bamboos. Some clumpers are very tight and dense (canes pop up right against each other) such as Graceful Bamboo (Bambusa textilis gracilis) or very open (somewhat spaced apart) as in Blue Bamboo (Bambusa chungii). The clumping varieties we specialize in are "subtropical" and can handle moderately cold temperatures we generally experience in central Texas and further south.
Bambusa multiplexes are a very hardy family of Chinese hedge bamboos that are typically "gambled" with north of Austin. We always receive good reports, but their performance is usually specific to their local planting environment and some "good luck". We want your experience with bamboo to be successful and will advise you accordingly.