Scientific: Bambusa species
Common: bamboo
Family: Poaceae (a monocot grass)
Origin: southern Asia

Pronounciation: Bam-BOO-sa SPEE-sheez

Hardiness zones
6-9, 12-24
USDA 8-11

Landscape Use: Restricted planter beds, container plants, raised planter beds, mesic landscape designs, water gardens, background, wall screen, ground cover, foliar accent

Form & Character: Evergreen, oriental, tropical, erect, uplifting.

Growth Habit: Monocot, technically a perennial clumping grass plant. Its growth is highly variable depending on species and cultivar. Bambusa species grow culms, whch are fully preformed stems that emerge from the ground and give rise to clumps or spread via underground rhizomes. Different species of bamboo have growth habits that range from being arborescent (tree-like) to woody climbers.

Foliage/Texture: Lanceolate leaves, sessile, sheathed on green stems that sometimes bear spines, variable in shape and size but taper to a somewhat pointed tip, can be variegated or multi-colored; texture can range from fine to coarse.

Flowers & Fruits: Both flowers and fruit are inconspicuous in Phoenix landscapes.

Seasonal Color: None

Temperature: Heat sensitive, especially when young. In Phoenix, plant on the north and east sides of buildings for heat protection.

Light: Partial sun to shade in Phoenix. No reflected sunlight or western exposures.

Soil: Tolerant, bamboo can be highly tolerant of saline soils.

Watering: Regular supplemental water is required

Pruning: Little to no above ground puning of shoots should be done. Otherwise, it's important to restrict rhizome spread with rigid, hard root barriers such as concrete or metal.

Propagation: Division of clumps in spring.

Disease and pests: Spider mites on dry dusty leaves.

Additional comments: Bambusa is an incredibly diverse and complex genus of about 150 species of clumping perennial grasses from subtropical and tropical regions of Asia through Indonesia into Australia. It has also naturalized in tropical regions of North and South America. Bambusa olhamii can be grown in southwestern landscapes using drip irrigation to control spread. Be careful to contain bamboo when using as a landscape shrub, it can and will penetrate soft barriers such as asphalt.

Bamboo has undergone a somewhat recent resurgence in popularity for use in woodworking by the artsy, affluent and aging hippy eco-crowd.