The Eight Types of Japanese Bamboo You Should Know About


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If you love bamboo, you are probably already aware that there are many different varieties, and these grow in very different shapes and sizes. Bamboo is a beautiful plant, and some of the top kinds include:

  • Golden Bamboo
  • Black Bamboo
  • Buddha Bamboo
  • Japanese Arrow Bamboo
  • Blue Bamboo
Japanese Bamboo types
Bamboo types

If you plan to grow bamboo in your garden, please note that most kinds are very vigorous growers and will spread throughout a plot with speed and determination.

It is best to plant it in containers unless you choose a non-invasive kind.

Type One: Golden Bamboo

Bamboo that seems to magically change color in sunshine and shade, Golden Bamboo is a very popular variety.

Phyllostachys aurea
Golden Bamboo

Its canes manage to look a rich yellow when the sun falls on them, and a cool green when shade is cast across them.

Its Chinese name is Hotei Chiku. It has thick nodes around its base, and long, arrow-shaped leaves.

This kind of bamboo is very graceful and popular for borders.

Type Two: Black Bamboo

This bamboo is particularly striking, with long black stems supporting bright leaves.

The stems do start out green, but turn black as they age.

Phyllostachys nigra
Black Bamboo

It can reach up to five meters tall, so it makes an excellent and dark screen.

Black Bamboo looks very unusual, and many people fall in love with its dramatic stems.

With the juicy green foliage, this kind of bamboo makes a superb backdrop for any garden.

Type Three: Buddha Bamboo

Anyone who has fallen in love with the lumpy, bobbly shape of a bamboo stem will adore Buddha Bamboo.

It has bulging nodules all along its canes, often with little rootlets forming a skirt beneath.

If you are bored of the smooth canes of other varieties, you will love the unusual look of this bamboo.

Buddha Bamboo
Buddha Bamboo

As the name suggests, these nodules look very much like the belly of a Buddha, and this kind of bamboo is considered an excellent ornamental plant.

This plant has heavy foliage, and as it gets taller, it will start to curve under its own weight.

It is an excellent choice because it is non-invasive, but it does only reach around eight feet tall at the most. This makes it less useful as a screen in some situations.

Even Better: There is also a dwarf Buddha Bamboo that you can buy if you want a shorter, more manageable plant.

Type Four: Japanese Arrow Bamboo

It is thought that this bamboo was named for Japanese samurais, who may have used its canes for creating arrows.

Pseudosasa japonica
Japanese Arrow Bamboo

This variety is native to – unsurprisingly – parts of Japan. It is also native to Korea, and it will grow in the warmer zones in the US.

It is a tall variety and can reach nearly twenty feet tall in the right environment. If it is grown in warm places, it will spread quickly.

It has narrow green leaves, and some people say that this is where its name comes from, as they look like arrows.

Type Five: Hedge Bamboo

Bambusa multiplex
Hedge bamboo

A variety that has a stunning turquoise hue in its early stages, Hedge Bamboo turns rather yellow as it ages, but it is still striking and provides good coverage.

It will grow densely, which makes it a good screening plant.

Type Six: Dwarf Green Stripe Bamboo

If you would like some bamboo with amazing variegated foliage, this is a good option.

Dwarf green bamboo
Dwarf green stripe bamboo

It should be pruned in the spring so that it can re-shoot nicely.

As the name suggests, it is a short bamboo, and will only reach about four feet tall.

It likes to be planted in partial shade, and it will retain some of its leaves all year round.

In the winter, it can look a little patchy and unattractive, losing some foliage.

Type Seven: Painted Bamboo

You won’t find a much more breathtaking option than Painted Bamboo.

It has golden canes that are beautifully patterned with amazing vertical stripes.

Bambusa vulgaris vittata
Painted Bamboo

Some canes are almost fully green or yellow, while most will have vivid lines of green and yellow struck up them, varying between the nodes.

This bamboo can reach an entire sixty feet tall in the right conditions, but it is invasive in some circumstances.

Good to Know: Be careful if you are going to plant this in a garden; it needs space, and it is very competitive. It will take over and block the light from big sections of the garden if it is allowed to.

Type Eight: Blue Bamboo

The canes of Blue Bamboo are covered in a thin, soft blue bloom, lending the bamboo its name.

This variety is non-invasive, making it a good option for gardens, and it can reach up to twenty-five feet tall.

Bambusa chungii
Blue Bamboo

Its canes are wonderfully patchy because of the bloom, varying between pale blue and lush green.

Overall, it will bring a cool tint to the garden, with splashes of very bright green foliage to offset the paler colors.

It is also reasonably cold hardy, making it a good choice if you aren’t in a warm climate.

Many bamboo varieties need warmth in order to thrive, but Blue Bamboo can cope in temperatures as low as 21 degrees F.


There are an amazing number of different bamboos out there, but these eight are particularly notable for their interesting shapes and colors.

No matter what look you are going for in your garden, make sure that you check which varieties are suitable for growing in your climate.

If you choose an invasive species, contain it before planting it, or it will swamp your garden.

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