Clumpers or Runners? Which bamboo is best for you

One of the first things to decide when you are thinking about planting bamboo is whether to get Clumping Bamboo or Running Bamboo.
Clumping Bamboos are similar in growth habit to any shrub. They grow gradually outward from the center with new canes growing taller and getting larger in diameter every year. The most important characteristic of clump bamboos is that, unlike Running Bamboos, they do not spread by sending underground shoots far away from the main plant. They are NOT invasive.

Clumping Bamboos are well-behaved, attractive and non-invasive

For a privacy hedge, plant clumping bamboos anywhere from 4- to 10-feet apart. When planted 4- to 6-feet apart in enriched, irrigated soil, clumping varieties will form a solid hedge in just one growing season. If planted further apart, it will take a couple years longer. Either way, in a short time clumping bamboos form a tall, thick green border with towering canes that bend in the breeze.

A 3-year-old hedge of Bambusa multiplex alphonse karr clumping bamboo

Unlike Clumping Bamboos, Running Bamboos do send shoots away from the mother plant and have the potential to be invasive. In some varieties the new shoots will travel only a few inches but in other runners the shoots might travel 10-feet or more away from the mother plant.

Running Bamboos spread by underground rhizomes

While this may present a problem in certain landscapes, in other situations it is a positive characteristic.  When planted 3- to 10-feet apart, the growth pattern of running bamboos enables them to quickly turn into dense and beautiful hedges.

This hedge of Arrow Running Bamboo (Pseudosasa japonica) forms a dense green barrier

Running Bamboos can be controlled by mowing a wide (10' to 25') area around the planting bed, with a bamboo barrier, or by a natural barrier such as a body of water, a road, or a pasture which is grazed or mowed regularly.

Green Hedge Running Bamboo (S. fastuosa viridis) is kept under control by mowing a wide swath

Running Bamboos grow taller and thicker in cooler climates than they do in more tropical settings. While we can grow many varieties of running bamboo in Florida, the plants don't develop as impressively in our climate as they do in more temperate parts of the country.

This large-diameter canes come from Running Bamboos grown in cold-climate parts of the world
On the other hand, Clumping Bamboos prefer a tropical climate where temperatures rarely go below 15 to 28 degrees. Both Clumping and Running Bamboos will provide a quick impenetrable hedges, graceful groves, or attractive spot plantings.

A serene sitting area nestled within a grove of Vivax Running Bamboo


  1. I want to visit your business ... SOON ... !!
    I am a lifelong agronomist / soil-use specialist ... now located near Winter Haven ... AND desire to know more !!!
    Luke Pritchett

    1. Luke,
      Come on by. We are open Monday-Saturday from 8-4. Other hours may be available by appointment. Give us a call at 352-429-2425.

  2. Hi,
    I am looking for knowledge about bamboo as a privacy fence. I am building a stilt home and all living space is at 15 ft (floor level) with 10 ff walls. On one side of the house is a terrible view. Current codes only allow a 6 ft. fence. So, I need something that will grow at least 20- 25 ft high. This bamboo "hedge" would run the length of back of the property- about 40 ft. I am confused as to the "invasive" issue. What would you suggest? Thank you

    1. The clumping bamboo is non-invasive. New canes only come up with in a few inches of the existing canes. Whether you can use clumping bamboo will depend on your location. Most clumping bamboo is best suited for warmer climates.
      Your space sounds perfect for graceful bamboo. This is cold hardy down to 15F.
      Please feel free to contact us at the nursery for further information at 352-429-2425 or jennifer@beautifulbamboo.com

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  4. How do you sell it ? And how much is it?can it be purchased like 3ft tall?

    1. We sell our bamboo already established in containers ranging from 1 gallons to 30 gallons. We can ship our 1 and 3 gallon plants via FedEx in 48" boxes. Larger sizes are available by delivery or pick up at the nursery. Prices will vary depending on variety and size. Please contact the nursery for information on specific varieties 352-429-2425 or jennifer@beautifulbamboo.com

  5. Does clumping bamboo grow well in a non shady western or southern exposure?

    1. Most of the clumping bamboos will prefer a sunny to partial shade area. For information on specific varieties, please contact us at the nursery (352)429-2425 or jennifer@beautifulbamboo.com