Bamboo has been used by mankind since pre-recorded history. Its uses are for food, shelter, tools, warfare, aqueducts, utensils, fuel, privacy screens, and ornamental landscaping, to name a few. Bamboo has become very popular in the last 10 years as a landscape plant in the United States. It is classified as either running or clumping. Running bamboo is the most widely used type of bamboo and consists of hundreds of varieties.
The stalk of a bamboo is called a culm. The culms range in color from green to gold to black and some are striped. However, all bamboo have green leaves with the exception of a few varieties with green leaves and gold stripes. Running bamboo should be planted in an area where it can expand in a 360* spread, and it can continue to expand indefinitely. There are forests of bamboo in China, India, and Australia. It can be prevented from spreading by installing an 18-24" deep root barrier around the desired growing area. All of the running bamboo offered by Willis Orchard company are cold tolerant to -5*F or more.
The clumping bamboo are not as cold tolerant as the running bamboo, unfortunately. Most clumping varieties are cold hardy to 10*F or so. The clumping bamboo also spreads in a 360* pattern, however, the culms grow much closer together and typically expand to only 10 to 20 feet. It can also be contained by a root barrier, if desired. Both running and clumping bamboo grow well in containers and make nice ornamental displays. Bamboo can tolerate moderate light, so many shopping malls, office buildings, and municipalities use them in large planter boxes. Generally, when grown in containers, the bamboo roots are restricted so it does not reach its full natural size. As previously mentioned, there are hundreds of varieties of bamboo, Willis Orchard Company offers a few of the best selections for ornamental purposes.