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Garden Bamboo Hedging Privacy Screen Guide

    Garden Bamboo Hedging Screen is the best way to shield off unattractive features near the hedge and add a space of admirable greenery. Many gardeners and homeowners prefer garden bamboo screening because they have desirable features such as dense evergreen foliage, height, spread and hardiness.

    About this article: This article is a guide for finding suitable bamboo plants for privacy hedge screening. The bamboo plants are placed into tall, short and medium. Each corresponds to the type of Garden Bamboo Hedging Screen you wish to create.

    We created the tables to make it easier for you to find the ‘right’ bamboo. There are 6 questions, each will lead you to a selection of 5 similar bamboo plants. You can, then, identify the right bamboo that suits you based on the features and qualities.

    Garden Bamboo Hedging Screen Ideas

    A privacy hedge screen can be thin or thick, tall, short or medium, they come in many shapes and sizes. The common hedge screening bamboo plants in the UK have dense evergreen foliage and come in various sizes.

    You can find the perfect bamboo Phyllostachys or Fargesia for screening. To help you, we group the bamboo into different ‘height’ and ‘spread’ categories so that you can use the suggestion as a guide when selecting a bamboo plant for screening.

    Height of bamboo privacy screen

    Bamboo plants often grow (very quickly) to a full height in the first 3 years and remain evergreen for 10 to 20 years. Some bamboo plants are tall, best for the tall garden bamboo hedging privacy screens. Others are short or fall in between tall and short bamboo. The options are endless.

    We group the bamboo in tall (6 metres+), short (1 metre to 4 metres) and medium (4 metres to 6 metres) to give you an idea about their heights.

    Note that the online bamboo suppliers and bamboo retailers will clearly show the average height on the labels. We use them as the standard heights (and spreads) and do not guarantee that the bamboo plants will reach their full potential. However, the new bamboo plants will require some care and attention to grow to the maximum heights.

    In addition, the bamboo plants are tolerant and hardy, but they will succumb to slug attacks and poor soil conditions. So as any good grower should do, always prepare the site before planting. Check out the guides on how to prepare the site for growing bamboo plants.

    Ideas for Tall garden bamboo hedging screens 6m+

    Here are the five tall bamboo plants that can reach a height of six metres or more and make a perfect tall hedge.

    Tall Garden Hedging Bamboo

    Click of the 'image' for more info.

    Phyllostachys vivax aureocaulis (also called Golden Chinese Timber Bamboo or Golden Cane Bamboo)

    • Height: 10 - 12m, upright

    • Spread: 4 - 6m, Running bamboo 

    Golden Groove Bamboo Spectabilis (Showy Golden Bamboo Groove 'Spectabilis')

    • Height: 6 - 8m, Tall bamboo

    • Spread: 2 - 5m, Running bamboo

    Phyllostachys bissettii (Green bamboo, David Bisset’s Bamboo)

    Phyllostachys bambusoides (Madake, Giant Timber bamboo, Japanese Timber Bamboo)

    • Height: 15 – 20m, Tall upright bamboo

    • Spread: 5 – 7m, Running bamboo

    Phyllostachys edulis, Phyllostachys pubescens, Moso Bamboo, Tortoise-shell Bamboo

    • Height: 8 – 10m, tall arching bamboo

    • Spread: 5 - 8m, running bamboo

    Ideas for Small garden bamboo hedging screens 0.5 – 4m

    Here are the next five small bamboo plants that can grow to a height of half a metre to two metres, perfect short hedging screens.

    Small Garden Bamboo

    Fargesia murielae Luca, Umbrella Bamboo, Dwarf Umbrella Bamboo Luca

    • Height: < 1m, small bamboo

    • Spread: 0.5 – 1.5m, clump-forming

    Fargesia murielae Lava, Umbrella Bamboo, Small Bamboo Lava.

    • Height: ~2m, small bamboo

    • Spread: 1 – 2m, does not spread, well-behaved bamboo

    Fargesia Murielae Bimbo, Muriel’s Bamboo, Umbrella Bamboo

    • Height: 2m, small bamboo

    • Spread: 1.5 – 2m, clump-forming

    Fargesia Robusta Pingwu, Green Screen, Umbrella Bamboo

    • Height: 3 – 4m at full height

    • Spread: 1.5 – 2m, clump-forming

    • Height: 2m, small bamboo

    • Spread: 2 – 3 m clump-forming

    Ideas for Medium bamboo hedging screens 4 – 6m

    Here are the last five bamboo plants that can grow to a height of four metres to six metres, perfect for hedges more than two metres and less than 6 metres.

    Medium bamboo for garden hedging

    Phyllostachys nigra (Black Bamboo nigra. Clump-forming bamboo)

    • Height: 4 - 6m

    • Spread: 2 - 4m, Running bamboo

    • Height: 4 - 6,, medium bamboo

    • Spread: 2 - 4m, running bamboo (similar to 'Spectabilis' but smaller) 

    • Height: 3 - 5m

    • Spread: 2 - 3m, clump-forming

    Fargesia murielae ‘Standing Stone’, Umbrella Bamboo, Arrow Bamboo, Flamingo, Green Arrow

    • Height: 5m, upright bamboo

    • Spread: 2 - 4m, non-invasive clump-forming

    Phyllostachys flexuosa Sinuate Bamboo

    • Height: 6m, medium to tall bamboo

    • Spread: 4m, invasive running bamboo

    Bamboo hedge privacy screening, choose the right spread

    Another important feature of bamboo plants to consider for hedge privacy screening is the ‘spread’. The spread is basically how wide the bamboo can spread from the parent plant to shield off the unsightly structure.

    Some varieties of clumping bamboo are perfect options for low hedging privacy screens but may not be ideal for blocking an overlooking-window high up. So, it is vital to take into consideration all you want the plant to do.

    Notably, the running bamboo plants are invasive and will spread if left unchecked. They are ideal for tall narrow hedge screening. On the other hand, the clump-formers do not have running rhizomes. Although they are considered non-invasive, the clumps and culm (or cane) clusters will outgrow the designated site.

    We group the bamboo plants, both running and clumping bamboo, into 3 categories – see below. The groupings are based on their average spread. We hope that the groupings will help you to identify the bamboo plants by how far they spread from the parent plant.

    Dense culm clusters thick hedging bamboo screens

    The clumping bamboo plants rarely grow to 6 metres and are much denser than the running bamboo. They thrive in the UK climate.

    The bamboo plants in this category are predominantly clump-forming with either thicker culms or produce masses of culms in Spring. As the name suggests, the clumping bamboo canes (culms) tend to grow into a tight cluster around the parent plant, forming a formidable tight screen.

    If you are screening a short wall or the neighbour’s shed, the clump-forming bamboos are the best options. However, you may have to buy more than one plant to provide a good cover. As a rule of thumb, plant the clump-forming bamboo no more than 1.5 metres to give you are dense hedging screen.

    Here are the 5 bamboo plants that tend to form clusters of ‘Dense-culms and provide a small to medium garden bamboo hedging screen.

    Dense base thick hedging bamboo

    Click of the 'image' for more info.

    Fargesia nitida ‘Jiuzhaigou’, clump-forming bamboo, dwarf bamboo, Red Panda Fargesia

    • Height: 2 - 4m

    • Spread: 1 – 2m, non-invasive, clump forming

    Fargesia Nitida ‘Viking’

    • Height: 2 - 4m

    • Spread: 1 - 2m, non-invasive, clump-forming

    Phyllostachys humilis, Scottish Bamboo

    • Height: 3 - 5m, medium to tall bamboo

    • Spread: ~3m, running bamboo

    Fargesia murielae Rufa (Bamboo Rufa, Chinese Fountain Bamboo, Dragon Head Bamboo)

    • Height: 2 - 3m, small bamboo

    • Spread: 1 - 2m, clump-forming

    Phyllostachys aurea, Fishpole Bamboo, Golden Bambo

    • Height: ~ 4m, medium to tall bamboo

    • Spread: 2 - 3m, running bamboo

    Arching bamboo for dense privacy hedging screens

    The ‘dense foliage’ category is made up of tall and arching running bamboo plants commonly referred to as the Umbrella Bamboo. Their new shoots grow very fast and tall to about 2 – 3 metres before putting out branches.

    The dense arching bamboo plants tend to reach a height of about 4 to 6 metres, ideal for heavy top-hedge screening. For example, these bamboos provide an evergreen cover (or screen) for boundaries, walls and low buildings.

    Here are 5 bamboo plants that can grow to an average height of 6 metres and produce an arching ‘umbrella’ effect.

    Dense arching bamboo privacy hedging screens

    Click of the 'image' for more info.

    Fargesia robusta ‘Campbell’ (Umbrella Bamboo ‘Campbell’)

    • Height: 5 - 7m, arching

    • Spread: 2 - 3m, clumping bamboo 

    Fargesia Robusta Wolong, Fargesia Robust Wolong

    • Height: ~5m, medium height bamboo

    • Spread: 3 - 4m, clumping bamboo

    Fargesia murielae Angustissima, Borinda Angustissima, Umbrella Bamboo

    • Height: 2 - 4m, small upright

    • Spread: 2 - 3m, clumping bamboo

    Fargesia scabrida Asian Wonder, Fargesia robusta ‘Asian Wonder’, Red Umbrella Bamboo

    • Height: ~3m, Small-medium bamboo

    • Spread: 2 - 3m, clumping bamboo

    Fargesia Robusta Formidable, Umbrella Bamboo

    • Height: 3 - 5m, tall arching bamboo

    • Spread: 2 - 4m, clumping bamboo

    ‘Upright’ bamboo for tall privacy screen ideas

    This category is an extension of the Tall garden bamboo hedging screen listed above. Additionally, this extra list separates the tall upright bamboo plants from the arching plants. Take it as an exclusive list of only the popular Phyllostachys running bamboo plants, except the clumping bamboo Standing Stone.

    As the name implies, upright bamboo plants tend to grow straight up. In fact, some can reach over 6 metres if the conditions are right (Read about the growing conditions for each bamboo via the links in the table).

    Many of these upright bamboo plants tend to do well when they are planted away from the direct wind, providing the best hedge screening all year round. Here are the 5 upright bamboo plants that thrive in the UK, in fact, most of them are on

    Upright bamboo for tall privacy screen ideas

    Click of the 'image' for more info.

    Fargesia murielae ‘Standing Stone’, Umbrella Bamboo, Arrow Bamboo, Flamingo, Green Arrow

    • Height: 5m, upright bamboo

    • Spread: 2 - 3m, clumping bamboo 

    Phyllostachys Nuda, Snow Bamboo, Nude Sheath bamboo

    • Height: 5 - 7m, upright bamboo

    • Spread: invasive, running bamboo

     Phyllostachys nigra, Black Bamboo nigra, running bamboo

    • Height: 4 - 6m, upright bamboo

    • Spread: Invasive running bamboo

    Phyllostachys bissettii (Green bamboo, David Bisset’s Bamboo)

    • Height: 6 - 9m, tall upright bamboo

    • Spread: 2 - 3m, running bamboo

    Phyllostachys vivax aureocaulis, Golden Chinese Timber Bamboo, Golden Cane Bamboo

    • Height: 10 - 12m, tall upright bamboo

    • Spread: 4 - 6, invasive running bamboo

    How to select the best privacy hedge screening

    Bamboo privacy hedge screening is the best way to create an admirable natural green space in the garden. Here is a risk-analysis checklist, a guide to selecting bamboo hedging plants, to help you choose the best garden privacy hedge screening bamboo.

    This table is a tool that will surely help you to identify the right garden hedging bamboo screen. Here is how to use the table:

    • firstly, make a shortlist of  suitable bamboo plants,
    • secondly, use what you know and your expectations of the bamboo and
    • finally, use the 5 bamboo plants we stated to identify, by elimination, the bamboo you want.

    You will select the right bamboo if you follow these 3 simple steps.

    How to plant a garden bamboo privacy screen

    Bamboo growers have always asked ‘how close to a structure or the neighbour’s side should they plant a bamboo’. Some bamboo varieties can destabilise the structures or creep into the neighbour’s side.

    If you a going to plant a bamboo hedging screen near the boundary, you’ve got to choose the site well.
    There are several factors that will affect your choice of site for planting the running bamboo screen. If you can control the bamboo from the start, it will become easier as they grow, but how close to the neighbour’s side should you plant a hedging bamboo?

    Expert tips to help you plant bamboo in the right place

    Always plant the running bamboo where you have control over them when they are growing.
    As a rule of thumb, plant the hedging bamboo at least a metre away from your neighbour’s boundary if there is no raised structure or root barrier. This is an important space that will provide the access to the bamboo plants as they grow.

    Here is an article about ‘how to control the running bamboo plants’ from invading the neighbour’s side. It also provides more information on planting hedging bamboo near patios, pavements and houses.

    Bamboo for balcony privacy screening

    Unlike the garden bamboo hedging screens, the bamboo plants for balcony privacy screens need should thrive in confined spaces. Many Bamboo plants are tolerant to different soil types and conditions and that makes it easier to select any one of them.

    But it is also pleasing to select a bamboo for balcony screening that is colourful. Here are 6 bamboo plants that have different stem (cane) colourations, perfect for balcony screening. These bamboo plants:

    • are undemanding,
    • grow well in confined spaces,
    • are evergreen and hardy
    •  will thrive in large pots and containers and
    • best for bamboo for balcony privacy screening.

    Bamboo for balcony privacy screening

    Click of the 'image' for more info.

    Fargesia nitida ‘Pillar’ (clump-forming bamboo, fountain bamboo)

    • Height: 2 - 3m

    • Spread: 1 - 2m, clumping bamboo 

    Fargesia murielae nitida (Black Pearl, Fountain Bamboo)

    • Height: 3 - 4m,

    • Spread: 2 - 3m, clumping bamboo

    Fargesia nitida Winter Joy Fountain Bamboo

    • Height: 3 - 4m

    • Spread: 2 - 3m, clumping bamboo

    Fargesia nitida ‘Obelisk’ (Hybrid Umbrella Bamboo Obelisk)

    • Height: 3 - 4m

    • Spread: 1 - 2m, clumping bamboo

    Fargesia nitida ‘Volcano’ (Chinese Fountain Bamboo ‘Volcano’, Red Fountain Bamboo)

    • Height: 1.5 - 2m. small upright bamboo

    • Spread: ~1m, clump forming bamboo

    How close to the pavement to plant screening bamboo?

    Careful when growing privacy screening bamboo near patios and pavements. The patios and pavements laid with sand do not stand a chance against the rhizome’s tips. The tips will invade the tiny gaps and force their way through the pavement blocks.
    Choose a suitable clumping bamboo to plant near patios and pathways. We listed these bamboo plants under the category Dense-culms bamboo hedging screens.

    If you choose running bamboo, create a barrier using root barriers. Alternatively, dig a small trench or a raised base (bed) to protect the pavement.

    Solve Bamboo Problems with ‘Access Way’

    Many people want to grow bamboo, but they fear it might spread uncontrollably.
    Reassuringly, there is no need to worry if you want a quick result for the garden bamboo hedging screen.

    The four practical tips are based on our experience dealing with hedging bamboo. They have helped us control the spread of their growth in the garden. You will find these tips useful when your bamboo reaches its full growth.

    • Create an ‘Access Way’: The hedging bamboo plants are controllable if you create an ‘Access Way’. The access will enable you to monitor the new growths that are not behaving.
    • Trim the new shoots: Trim the new bamboo shoots close to the ground, usually in Spring, when the new plants are germinating. (You will need the access way to monitor the new shoots).
    • Control the new rhizome tips: To stop the running bamboo rhizomes from misbehaving, dig the new rhizome tips and remove them, immediately. (See below are other techniques you can use to control the running bamboo rhizomes from spreading)
    • Selective pruning: This applies to both the running and clumping bamboo where you can remove the old culms to promote new growth. You can also direct the new growth into the foliage to create a dense hedge. (See the video of our work running bamboo. We tie back the Phyllostachys aureasulcata Spectabilis and create a dense hedging screen)

    Importantly, without any access to the hedging bamboo screen, it is going to be hard to control them as they grow. Here are some suggestions and care tips that will help you with your choice of bamboo covers.

    How far away from the neighbour’s side to plant screening bamboo

    Plant the bamboo at least a metre away from the boundary. The ‘one-metre’ space provides access way to the bamboo plants and will help you to monitor the growth of the new shoots and rhizome tips.

    The key point is that the Access Way helps you to spot and stop running rhizomes and shoots growing into the neighbour’s side. In other words, leave a gap between the boundary and where you chose to plant the bamboo.

    If you wish to grow a bamboo hedging privacy screen close the boundary, use a raised base (bed) or dig a narrow trench to stop the bamboo from creeping onto your neighbour’s side.

    Garden bamboo hedging  privacy screens care

    Here are three options for ensuring complete control over your garden hedging privacy screens.

    • Build Raised-base: The raised base will help you to spot the rhizome tips and trim them before the tips creep into the small gaps in the pavement or the neighbour’s side.
    • Dig narrow trench 0.3m to 0.5m deep: The running bamboo rhizomes tend to grow on the top layer of the soil. As the name implies, the rhizomes are running horizontally, not deep into the soil. A narrow trench will help you to monitor the rhizomes and trim them as they grow out. The narrow trench acts as an open root barrier.
    • Plant the bamboo in large pots: If you are growing bamboo plants for balcony privacy screening, plant them in large pots or containers. This is the best way to contain the bamboo.

    How does a bamboo plant grow?

    This is an important question because after you’ve planted a garden bamboo hedging screen, you’d be anticipating that lush evergreen screen. Right?

    Under the right conditions, the hedging bamboo plants will provide that beautiful greenery within 3 years. The first growth will continue to mature for up to 5 years and, interestingly, remain evergreen for up to 20 years.

    The new shoots will be taller than the previous growth until the bamboo groove reaches its maximum height. Thereafter, the bamboo groove will remain evergreen for as long as it can.

    As the bamboo matures, you will need to prune the old bamboo culms and rhizomes to promote new growth. Or transplant the ones that outgrow the pots. Here are some guides to bamboo Care and Maintenance Tools that you will find useful if you have older bamboo plants in your garden.

    Bamboo plants provide fast privacy hedging screens

    There are two groups of bamboo – the running bamboo and clumping bamboo. Bamboo plants can grow at an astonishing rate of 2 – 5cm in a day. In our experiment, we found out that the bamboo we monitored grow 1.43cm in Autumn.

    The running bamboo plants grow horizontal underground stems (canes) called rhizomes. They are invasive. In addition, the rhizomes do not grow deep into the soil like other deciduous plants with taproots do.

    In retrospect, if the running and clumping bamboos are left unchecked, they will encroach on other spaces, so it is important to keep them in check. These evergreen hardy plants need attention once or twice a year.

    If you are growing a new bamboo plant or propagating them from seeds and cuttings, you will find this care guide useful. The guide provides handy tips for propagating bamboo successfully.

    Guide for selecting the right garden bamboo hedging screen

    So we have covered many tips and ideas and presented several suggestions for selecting bamboo for hedging garden screens. Here is the ‘Guide’ to help you make your decision!

    Note that the questions are structured especially for you to eliminate the undesirable bamboo plants, leaving only the best option for you. Download the PDF version – Guide for Selecting Garden Hedging Bamboo.

    Guide and ideas for selecting garden bamboo plants for hedging screens

    The right garden bamboo privacy screen matters

    Finding the best, even better the right, bamboo is what matters the most. So, use your preferences, and what you expect of the bamboo and the table to find the right bamboo for garden screening.

    Other factors to consider are, for example, how high the bamboo should grow and how much space is available for it to spread. These important factors have been included in this article, so you will not go wrong when selecting bamboo for hedging.

    Furthermore, growing bamboo on the hedge as a privacy screen means that you will have to plant the bamboo close to the neighbour’s side. All these risk-benefit analyses are important as you choose bamboo for your garden.


    To conclude, the right option for a balcony or garden bamboo hedging screen depends entirely on your selection.

    We create the risk-analysis table as a tool for helping you choose the right bamboo. So, use the suggestions in this article to help you identify the best home and garden hedging privacy screen.

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