Will the cold snap kill my bamboos?

Dwarf Buddha Belly leaves are beginning to die after being nipped by last week's freezing temperatures

Many people are worried about their bamboos.  People have been calling to ask what they should do to protect their bamboos during tonight's expected freeze.  Fortunately, most of the bamboos are going to be fine even if they are not protected at all.  All the running bamboos and most of the clumping bamboos can handle chilly weather - even when it dips into the mid to high 20s.  Certain ones are vulnerable but even those will rebound when the weather warms back up.  It is important to remember that even if the cold weather kills the above ground portions of the plant, it won't kill the roots.  The roots will remain viable and will send up new shoots again in the summer.

Here's a list of which plants are vulnerable:  all the Textilis bamboos like Emerald and Graceful are extremely hardy and won't be damaged unless temperatures dip into the mid to low teens.  That's also true for all the Multiplex bamboos like Golden Hedge, Green Hedge and Golden Goddess and also for Buddha Belly (Bambusa ventricosa).  Almost as hardy are Blue Timber, Baby Blue, Seabreeze and Yin Yang - those bamboos might suffer some leaf damage when temperatures dip into the low 20s. 

The ones to be concerned about in the current freeze are Dwarf Buddha, Hawaiian Gold, Angel Mist and Black bamboo.  To a slightly lesser degree, Ladyfinger, Asian Lemon, Giant Timber and Sunburst are also vulnerable.


  1. Thanks for the tip. It was on my mind since I just bought some golden goddess and a graceful. Thank you. I planted the day before it crept into the 30s. Now, a week later, the leaves are turning brown along the edges. I have been diligent on watering and I hope the cold is the cause. Time will tell...

  2. Eric - Your bamboos may lose some leaves but I doubt if either golden goddess or graceful (two very hardy bamboos) will be affected by the cold. Continue watering and they will be fine. Those two varieties are hardy down to the low to mid teens.

  3. Leona - If you've had damage after the freeze you will notice some if not complete leaf drop. Keep up on the watering and then apply a nitrogen rich fertilizer. We use an 18-6-8. Once spring comes new growth with flush out on your canes. After it recovers if you notice any canes or branching that have died off you may cut them out.