Bamboos are stunning garden plants, their gentle movements, rustling sounds of the leaves, evergreen foliage and colourful stems are some reasons they are popular. One place to see the bamboo plants in all their beauty is the Japanese Bamboo Garden at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London.
The Bamboo Garden has an amazing collection of Chinese and Japanese bamboos. The garden holds over 130 different types of bamboo plants. In addition, the Tropical Glass House has three tropical giants.
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Chinese and Japanese bamboo garden
Check out the images and videos of the 13 amazing bamboo plants we’ve recorded over the years.
Let’s begin with the three giant timber bamboos that are currently growing in Kew Tropical Glass House.
1. Giant Timber Bamboo (Gigantochloa verticillate)
The giant bamboo is the largest of all the bamboos. It grows 25-30 metres in the wild, as tall as a tree. This bamboo is native to Southeast Asia and New Guinea. In the UK, this bamboo reaches over 20 metres.
- Video on YouTube
2. Buddah’s Belly Bamboo (Bambusa ventricosa)
Buddha’s Belly Bamboo is probably the most peculiar-shaped bamboo. This amazing bamboo is a must-see when in Kew Garden Tropical Glass House, London.
It has a clumping nature, great as a pot plant or garden plant. The swollen or bulging internodes of its culms resemble Buddha’s fat belly which is why it earns the name Buddha’s Belly Bamboo. The culms are deep dark green smooth and glossy with multiple branches growing at each node.
- Video on YouTube
3. Bambusa vulgaris
The giant tropical bamboo, Bambusa vulgaris or Common Bamboo, grows in Kew Tropical Glass House.
It’s an amazing bamboo with glossy green culms, large brown sheaths and hairy rims around the nodes.
This giant timber bamboo is predominantly used in building and construction or as stakes for large garden plants in rural China.
10 amazing bamboos Kew Japanese Bamboo Garden – our picks
4. Pleioblastus agenteostriatus Variegated Bamboo
It’s a beautiful small running bamboo. This photo was taken in winter, the leaves have are green and white stripes. In summer, these leaves are going to turn dark green contrasting beautifully with the whites. This spectacular variegated bamboo forms low patches with slender dark green culms to just 1 metre in height.
The distinctive characters are in the green variegated leaves.
5. Chimonobambusa tumidissinoda
Chimonobambusa tumidissinoda or Walking Stick Bamboo is a running variety.
It is large and can grow to 6 metres in the wild. Its culms are used as walking sticks for many centuries in China and Japan.
6. ‘Bamboo’ Pleioblastus viridistriatus
Pleioblastus viridistriatus is a running variegated bamboo. It’s Perfect for gardening borders and privacy screening.
It has beautiful purple-green culms for landscaping and adding colours to the garden.
Check out other variegated bamboo plants.
7. Sasa nipponica
Sasa nipponica is an evergreen small bamboo that can grow to 1 metre in height, hardy and evergreen. It has slim culms and is comparatively small compared to other bamboos. One of the best to grow in small gardens, driveways or as ground covers and undergrowth.
This small bamboo is undemanding, thrives in the UK climate.
8. Pleioblastus fortunei
Pleioblastus fortunei (or Pleioblastus pygmaeus or Dwarf Bamboo) is a small bamboo. There are two types, one has variegated leaves, and the other does not have variegated leaves.
Pleioblastus fortunei ‘Variegata’ is the variegated cultivar whereas Pleioblastus pygmaeus or Dwarf Bamboo is not variegated bamboo. Check carefully if you are buying the Pleioblastus fortunei online.
9. Phyllostachys nigra ‘Henonis’
This is a tall running bamboo with bright green stems that turn olive green. It is one of the Black Bamboo cultivars.
Be careful not to confuse them with Phyllostachys bissettii. They both have glossy green leaves, bright green stems and evergreen arching foliage.
However, look closely at the matured stems, the Phyllostachys nigra f. henonis will show signs of olive-yellow canes whereas the Green Bamboo Phyllostachys bissettii canes are obviously dark green, with yellow indentations or stripes.
- Video on YouTube
10. Phyllostachys bambusoides var. subvariegata
Phyllostachys bambusoides has several cultivars. The var. subvariegata cultivar, as seen in this image, has upright and dark glossy green culms and zigzagged internodes at the base.
Phyllostachys bambusoides are commonly called the Japanese Timber Bamboo.
11. Phyllostachys nidularia
Phyllostachys nidularia or Broom Bamboo is a stunning bamboo with erect canes. It is known as Broom Bamboo because branches and culms are great bamboo brooms.
This running bamboo can grow to 4 metres.
As a precaution, use the root barrier when growing this bamboo, it is one of the invasive species.
12. Phyllostachys sulphuria var. viridis
Bamboo Phyllostachys sulphurea viridis is a running bamboo also known as the Ougon-kou Chiku or Kou-Chiku bamboo. It’s a stunning ornamental plant due to its appearance.
At 4m average height, this bamboo is a great addition to woodland forests, large gardens and dense garden hedges. It is edible bamboo.
13. Phyllostachys vivax
Golden Chinese Bamboo Vivax Golden or Golden Yellow Cane Bamboo is a Tall and thick running bamboo, best for tall hedges and screens.
The golden stems have spectacular bright green stripes running vertically along the internode. Bamboo vivax aureosulcata is an RHS Merit Award-winning bamboo, that grows well in a mild temperate climate.
- Video on YouTube.
Kew’s Japanese Bamboo Garden London
Kew’s Bamboo Garden is the best place to see magnificent bamboo plants. As mentioned, there are over 130 running and clumping bamboo plants.
The giant timber bamboo is about 20 metres tall, reaching the top ceiling of the glasshouse. When you’re in Kew Gardens, this is definitely a must-see.
These 13 bamboos are our top picks. We hope you like the images and videos. Please share on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. We share bamboo gardening ideas, images and videos on YouTube. Join Us.