Frequently Asked Bamboo Questions
Q: How Fast does Bamboo Grow? I've heard that bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world.
A: It's true! Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world. They say it grows so quickly that you can hear it. Under optimum conditions, bamboo has been recorded growing up to 46 inches per day. That's nearly 4 feet! The plant will reach its maximum height and girth after a single season of growth, which can be close to100 feet tall and 8 inches wide. This gives bamboo the ability to produce about five times more "Bio-Mass" than your average tree. Learn more about bamboo here.
Q: How do I control bamboo from spreading? I want to grow bamboo but am concerned that it is invasive and will take over my garden.
A: There are two types of bamboo, runners and clumpers. Running bamboo is the stuff you have to watch out for. Your best bet is to install a bamboo rhizome barrier. This method requires that you dig a trench around the perimeter of the plant and insert an plastic panel. Read full installation instructions here. If this sounds like too much work, it is usually sufficient to plant near a fence or retaining wall. Just expect to kill off new growth every year in the spring.
Q: Does Bamboo Flower or Bloom?
A: Yes! However it does so in very long intervals. Some species of bamboo take well over 100 years to flower. In the rare case that your bamboo does flower, expect the plant to weaken or even die. The energy exerted by the plant to produce flowers is often too much for the bamboo to recover. This mechanism has amazed and perplexed botanists for centuries. Read more about the bamboo flower here.
Q: How do I Identify the Bamboo Growing in my Garden?
A: Bamboo has long had a reputation as being difficult to identify and classify. The classification of bamboo species has been a bit chaotic and jumbled over time. Some varieties are easily distinguishable, such as Black Bamboo, but for the vast majority this is not the case. Check out our page on bamboo identification for some additional resources.
Q: Are Bamboo Shoots Edible. Can you Eat Bamboo?
A: Not only are bamboo shoots edible, but they are a staple of any Asian cuisine. The tender young shoots of some species are used in various dishes and broths. They can been found commercially either canned or fresh. The stems and leaves of the bamboo plant are not edible by humans, but happen to be a major food source for the Giant Panda of China.
Q: How Many Types of Bamboo Exist?
Although an exact number has not been agreed upon, most sources estimate that around 1200 species exist.
Q: In What Areas or Climates will Bamboo Grow?
A: Bamboo has the ability to grow in a wide range of climates. Some species can grow in the cold Himalayan mountains of Tibet, while others thrive in the hot sub-Saharan regions of Africa. Giant running bamboos tend to favor temperate climates and clumping bamboos like warmer tropical climates. The most reliable factor to consider before growing bamboo is your hardiness zone.