Cold-Hardy Clumping Bamboos

By Charlie Nardozzi, January 30, 2007

Bamboos have become popular landscape plants for creating garden rooms, blocking unsightly views, or lending your garden an Asian feel. Bamboos are grouped as either running or clumping types. Running bamboos are generally hardier than clumping types, but because they can become invasive, many gardeners avoid planting them. Clumping bamboos are tamer, but the selection of cold-hardy varieties for northern gardeners is limited. Now two forms of evergreen clumping bamboos have been introduced in the U.S. that are hardy enough for a northern gardener to try.

Green Panda bamboo (Fargesia rufa Green Panda) produces deep green leaves and green culms (stalks) with orange-red sheaths (covering). It grows 6 to 8 feet tall and 8 feet in diameter at maturity and is hardy to USDA zone 5. Its well-behaved habit makes Green Panda a great addition to a perennial garden or even a container.

Asian Wonder (Fargesia scabrida Asian Wonder) grows larger than Green Panda -- up to 16 feet tall -- and features colorful steel-blue new culms with bright orange sheaths. Asian Wonder is hardy to USDA zone 5.

Both bamboos thrive in full sun but will tolerate some shade. They grow best in well-drained soils with high organic matter content.

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