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10 Variegated Bamboos for Gardens and Pots

    Variegated bamboos come in different forms. Some are running while others are clumping bamboos. In this article, we list 10 variegated bamboo plants that grow well in the UK. We arrange the bamboos by culms and leaves variegation to make it easy for our readers to identify them.

    Quick facts about variegated bamboos

    This group of special bamboo plants have two features in common. The leaves and culms have either distinct stripes or spots. They are standout plants for pots and planters or grown as individual plants in the garden.

    • Great pot and garden plants.
    • Can be either running or clumping.
    • Have either culms or leaves variegation.
    • Come in various sizes, shapes and colours.
    • Have white, green, yellow, or various stripes on leaves and culms.

    Read on to find out where to buy the variegated bamboo plants in the UK.

    5 Running variegated bamboos

    Yellow Bamboo UK Phyllostachys Sulphurea Viridis
    Variegated culm

    The running variegated bamboo plants are spectacular individual plants. They also make great pot plants, best grown where you can see them. Especially near driveways and walkways.

    1. Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘spectabilis’

    Also called the ‘Showy Golden Bamboo Grove ‘Spectabilis’. It is a large running bamboo with new pinkish bamboo shoots.

    The culms are thick and zigzag with stunning vertical green stripes.

    (The ‘Showy Golden Bamboo Grove ‘Spectabilis’ has green stripes along the culms)

    2. Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘aureoculis’

    Also called the Golden Yellow Bamboo Grove ‘Aureocaulis’. It is an average size bamboo with reddish new bamboo shoots.

    The culms are golden yellow with green variegated rims near the nodes.

    (The Golden Yellow Bamboo Grove has yellow rims around the culm nodes)

    3. Phyllostachys aureosulcata vivax

    Also called the Golden Chinese Timber Bamboo, Golden Cane Bamboo. This running variegated bamboo has spectacular green stripes contrasted with the yellow culms.

    (The Golden Chinese Timber Bamboo has green stripes along the culms)

    4. Hibanobambusa tranquillans ‘Shiroshima’

    A running variegated bamboo with large leaves and slow-spreading rhizomes. One of the few running bamboos with stunning yellow leaf variegation.

    (Shiroshima has yellow stripes along the leaves)

    5. Phyllostachys nigra ‘Boryana’

    A stunning Phyllostachys nigra bamboo is also called Tiger Bamboo or simply ‘Bory’. It has upright tall stems with distinctive brownish-black spots, hence the name Tiger Bamboo. (spots on culms)

    Warning: Always use roots barrier or large heavy-duty pots to grow these bamboo plants. Read about the best ways to grow running bamboo plants for privacy screening and garden hedging.

    5 Clumping variegated bamboos

    Gigantochloa verticillate Giant Bamboo

    Clumping variegated bamboos grow well in the garden and pots. These bamboos require care and attention just like the running bamboos but are less invasive.

    The dwarf variegated bamboo tolerates shades and is ideal for undercover plants. Here are some common features you should know about the variegated bamboos.

    1. Sasa Veitchii – variegated bamboo

    This clumping variegated bamboo has very large leaves. The leaves turn white as autumn falls, giving them a striking variegated appearance.

    It is non-invasive, a great shade plant that can grow to a height of metres.

    (Sasa Veitchi bamboo has white stripes along the leaves)

    2. Bambusa multiplex Alphonso-Kar

    Also called the Alphonso-Kar Bamboo. This clumping variegated bamboo has fine green stripes that contrast beautifully with its yellow culms.

    This variegated bamboo is reasonably large at 3 metres height, ideal pot plants for balcony and patio.

    (The Alphonso-Kar bamboo has green stripes along the culms)

    3. Arundinaria viridistriata ‘Pleioblastus’

    A beautiful dwarf bamboo with variegated leaves, a desirable garden and a pot plant. It has eye-catching bright yellow stripes on green leaves. This clumping bamboo can grow to 2 metres – an ideal bamboo for large pots.

    Grow it in a central location where you can enjoy its beauty, such as near the driveways and patios.

    (Arundinaria v. ‘Pleoplastus’ has yellow stripes along the leaves)

    4. Pleioblastus variegatus – variegated bamboo

    Also called the White Stripe Bamboo or dwarf bamboo. It grows to less than 1 metre tall and has spectacular white stripes on the green variegated leaves.

    This clumping bamboo is a great undercover plant, also grows well in pots and prefers shape to part shaded sites.

    (Pleioblastus variegatus has stripes along with the leaves)

    5. Fargesia Robusta Pingwu

    A thick foliage clumping bamboo with variegated culms that are upright, turning green to yellow when mature. An ideal bamboo for containers and planters.

    This clumping bamboo is also used for privacy screening and garden hedging due to its thick foliage.

    (Fargesia Robusta Pingwu has green/yellow stripes along the culms)

    Growing variegated bamboo plants

    The variegated bamboos add colour and statement where they grow. They contrast beautifully with natural garden colours. For example, the white stripes of Pleioblastus variegatus will match the green undergrowth.

    So, pick the right colour that contrasts well with the colours in the garden.
    A better way to choose the right colour is to start with the list of bamboos in this article.

    • Take a look at the stripy colours of the culms and leaves from the 10 running and clumping variegated bamboos.
    • Match the colours to the colours of your garden, patio, balcony, porch, planter, etc.
    • Then, choose the right bamboo that you think is best for your garden.

    Crocus is a UK retailer that supplies variegated bamboos.

    Running vs clumping bamboos, UK

    We collected data for over 70 running and clumping bamboos that grow well in the UK climate at

    We advocate for using roots (rhizomes) barriers when planting running bamboos. That way, you do not have to worry about bamboo invasion.

    Clumping bamboos are non-invasive. They are best grown as garden centrepieces or near built areas. But keep in mind that these bamboos need pruning and thinning to keep them in shape.

    Conclusion (Variegated bamboos)

    Variegated bamboos are spectacular garden and pot plants. Their culms and leaves have stripes ( or spots) that contrast with natural colours.

    These bamboos are ideal as standalone or undercover plants.

    You can find them as either running or clumping bamboos.

    We hope that this article gives you an idea about the variegated bamboo plants. If you want to grow them in the garden or in pots, check out

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