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Non-invasive bamboo plants for shade

If you want to grow non-invasive bamboo plants in a shady spot, this article will help you find the right one. We provide in-depth information about 5 common clumping bamboos that prefer shady sites.

You’ll also find the links in the lists of non-invasive bamboos useful. So check them out.

What are non-invasive bamboo plants?

Clumping bamboos (also called clump-forming or clumpers) and running bamboos are fast-growing grass plants. Yet both bamboo plants are different in many ways. The differences are what make them interesting.

At Garden Bamboo Plants’ website, we showcase 30 clump-forming bamboos from over 70 featured bamboos. Here are the top 5 clumping bamboos for shady spots. Click on the link to read more about the height, spread and growth requirements.

How to identify clumping bamboo?

parts of a clumping bamboo

The clumping bamboo and running bamboo plants have distinct rooting systems, which make it easy, to identify them.

We cover the parts of clumping bamboo in this article.

We also identified the pros and cons of growing the invasive running bamboos, and what you can do to contain them. More info here – Should You Grow Running Bamboos?

This group of bamboos have compact rhizomes that often form dense clumps, hence the name clumping or clump-forming bamboo.

In fact, the rhizomes determine whether bamboo is invasive or non-invasive. So, take a closer look at the rhizomes to work out if it is clumping or running bamboo.

Non-invasive clump-forming bamboos to grow in the UK

As mentioned earlier, there are over 30 clumping bamboos on this site, which grow well in shady spots. The 5 listed above thrive in shaded to medium-shaded areas.

These clumping bamboos are further subdivided based on their appearances. The groups are, but are not limited to the following:

They come in different colours, sizes, heights and shapes.

What red clump-forming bamboo for shade?

Not only red clumping bamboo can grow in shady spots. There are also green, yellow and black non-invasive bamboo plants, including their cultivars, that are suitable for the garden.

Clumping bamboos for shady spots ranges from mini to medium bamboos. There are in fact many cultivars that tend to grow well in shady spots.

The bamboos change colours as they mature. This is one of the things that makes bamboo a beautiful plant.

Some clumping bamboo plants have shoots that are bright pink, others purple. The early colour changes are spectacular.

Some bamboo culms will turn black, yellow or green after they lose their sheaths. They also respond to Summer and Winter conditions though they remain evergreen.

You can prune some of these bamboos, they are best for garden hedges, while the others have fountain-like or umbrella-like foliage. The options are unlimited!

fountain bamboo red dragon fargesia nitida

Clumping bamboo vs running bamboo

So, is clumping bamboo a better option? Not really. It depends on what you want for the garden, including:

  • how tall do you want the privacy screen,
  • where you want to grow the bamboo, or
  • how thick you want the garden hedge, etc.

Both clumping and running bamboos and their cultivars provide gardeners with unlimited options. So, it depends on what you want.

Facts about clumping and running bamboo plants

Though the clumping bamboo plants are non-invasive, they pose risk to the built environment. The base expands over time, which can damage patio or fence structures. Also, their culms and leaves can cover the garden when neglected over time.

Likewise, the running bamboos will run into the neighbour’s side or invade the garden if you neglect them.

So, it is vitally important to plant them right the first time.

Here are some facts about growing the clumping and running bamboo plants.

  • Fast-growing plants.
  • Need care and attention.
  • Use a barrier to grow running bamboo. They are invasive.
  • Clumping bamboos have rhizomes that expand at the base.
  • Running bamboos have rhizomes that grow along the surface.
  • Both require a lot of work to uproot them.
  • Both bamboos do not grow as deep into the soil as trees do.
  • Most clumping bamboos are in the Fargesia group.
  • Most running bamboos are in the Phyllostachys group.
  • Some clumping umbrella bamboo is best for garden hedging and privacy screens.
  • Some running bamboos are tall and ideal for tall privacy screens.

Warning about invasive and non-invasive bamboo plants

For every home and garden, there is a perfect bamboo. They are tough plants. They’ll grow where you put them.

But, before planting bamboo, always follow the 3 steps:

  • survey the area,
  • take precautions, and
  • use roots barriers or pots.

These steps will protect the built structure near where you grow the bamboo.

bamboo roots rhizomes barriers UK

Bamboo without barriers

Many homeowners may have inherited bamboo that does not have a root barrier. If you are in this position, it is not too late!

Take a look at how we managed to control our running bamboo in this YouTube video. You can do the same, but it is hard work digging the rhizomes.

Here is how to dig bamboo plants – you’ll need bamboo digging tools.

Firstly, dig around the bamboo to a depth of 30 cm to 50 cm. Use a pickaxe, crowbar, and a pair of secateurs. See the complete list of tools for digging bamboo roots.

Secondly, lay roots barrier. You can get them from your nearest garden centre or DIY shop. Or, use patio slabs or thick plastic sheets as root barriers.

Then cover the hole, leaving 5 cm to 10 cm uncovered.

All in all, barriers are best for stopping clumping bamboo bases from expanding, or running bamboo from invading other areas.

how to cut bamboo rhizomes

Conclusion (non-invasive bamboo)

Clumping bamboos have special places in the garden. They are fast-growing and provide an evergreen screen all year round.

Your choice of clumping bamboo depends on what you want the bamboo to do.

We hope the options provided in this article help find a better bamboo that meets your expectations.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

4 thoughts on “Non-invasive bamboo plants for shade”

    1. Hi Jammie, thank you for the message. Agree, clumping bamboos are undemanding.

      Use a root barrier to grow running bamboo. Some small to medium running bamboos are best for pots.

      Either way, both are undemanding and low maintenance if you provide the right care.

  1. Shade-loving and well-behaved? Look for clumping bamboos! These beauties like Fargesia Angustissima offer privacy and lush foliage without the aggressive spread of running varieties. Perfect for cooler gardens, they add a touch of tranquility with minimal maintenance.

  2. It lacks depth in discussing individual plant characteristics and care requirements. More detailed information would enhance its usefulness for readers seeking specific bamboo varieties.

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