The Q&A Archives: Width Of Mexican Weeping Bamboo

Question: A renowned plant expert recently told me that my Otatea (Mexican weeping bamboo) would become a 20 foot clump in 10 years, that it would be woody and difficult to remove - in other words, an invasive nightmare. Is this true?

Answer: Otatea acuminata aztecorum (Mexican Weeping Bamboo) reaches about 20' in height in its native habitat but will only reach 12'-15' in your southern California garden. It is a clumping rather than a running bamboo. As such, the clump will continue to expand as the plant matures. The root system will be concentrated in the top 12" of soil. Otatea does not have a reputation for being an invasive nightmare, but if you're concerned about keeping the plant under control, I'd suggest planting in a large container and burying the container in the ground. This way you can unpot and divide the plant, and keep the clump small.

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