How to Plant and Grow Golden Bamboo

Make sure this vigorous grower isn't invasive in your area before you plant.

golden bamboo in planters on rooftop deck

Erica George

Golden bamboo is a perennial with finely textured green leaves and attractive golden-yellow stems. Considered a running bamboo, it's often planted to create privacy between properties because it grows quickly (often as quickly as 2 to 3 feet per year).  It is one of the quickest ways to create
a dense hedge or screen without planting fully-grown shrubs. It also provides bold vertical interest in landscape beds or the contained space between two driveways.

Golden bamboo is hardy in zones 6 through 10 but is not recommended for all landscapes as it can be hard to control. It is easier to keep in check in northern climates, but it may not be as evergreen in these zones. If temperatures drop to 5 degrees Fahrenheit or below, golden bamboo will likely drop
its foliage and the canes may die—but don’t fret. The roots will, most likely, send up new canes in the spring.

Golden Bamboo Overview

Genus Name Phyllostachys aurea
Common Name Golden Bamboo
Plant Type Shrub, Tree
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 8 to 20 feet
Season Features Winter Interest
Special Features Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Division
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Good For Privacy

Where to Plant Golden Bamboo

Golden bamboo is native to China but has been grown in the United States since the late 1880s when it was introduced in Alabama. It prefers moist, well-draining soil and thrives in sunny spots where it can get about 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day. You can also grow golden bamboo in partial shade or poor soil, but the results may be uneven and less robust.

Due to its height, fast growth rate, and abundance, golden bamboo is often grown as a privacy fence or living hedge. Its lush, delicate leaves are great for muffling nearby sounds. Its canes—when grown in close proximity—will knock together and create a pleasant, soothing sound that makes a melodic addition to modern, naturalistic, and Japanese-style gardens.

Golden bamboo is considered an invasive plant in many areas of North America, particularly those with warmer climates. Spreading by tenacious underground stems, it quickly grows beyond the original growing location. Before purchasing or planting, check with your local Extension
about the invasive status of golden bamboo in your area.

How and When to Plant Golden Bamboo

You can plant golden bamboo in spring or fall, and in the right conditions, it will quickly grow to full height and density in just a few years. When planting a nursery-grown golden bamboo plant, dig a hole as deep as the plant's container and twice as wide as the root ball. Place the plant in the hole, then backfill it with soil mixed with mulch. Water deeply. Subsequent waterings should keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Install root barriers around these perennials when planting them in the landscape unless you are prepared for a seemingly infinite spread. Or plant each one in a large plastic pot sunk into the soil with the rim of the pot extending 3 to 5 inches above the ground. This will help prevent golden bamboo from creeping into the surrounding soil. Space your golden bamboo plants at least 3 to 5 feet apart to accommodate future growth or wider if you want a less dense, airier look.

Golden Bamboo Care Tips


Golden bamboo grows best where it gets full sun for at least six to eight hours a day, though where it gets very hot, some late-afternoon shade is beneficial. It will do fine located in partial shade, but its growth will be slower.

Soil and Water

Golden bamboo is fairly drought tolerant but optimally it will have moist, well-drained soil. Keep it watered but don't let the soil get waterlogged. When the weather is very hot, golden bamboo may need additional watering a few times a week if it's in a container or once a week if grown in the ground.

Temperature and Humidity

Golden bamboo thrives in hot and humid areas, but will do fine in less-ideal conditions. It will even grow in cold weather, though not as quickly or as tall as it does where it's warm.


Fertilize golden bamboo in early spring and midsummer. In milder climates, it can be fertilized in early fall also. Since golden bamboo is a grass, use a lawn fertilizer that doesn't contain any weed killer, following manufacturer's instructions, or use a compost or manure.


Cut away golden bamboo's dead or weak stems periodically after it's established. If it's getting bulky, you can thin it out as needed. To highlight the tortoise-shell coloring of the stalks, remove leaves that grow along the lower portions near the base.

Golden bamboo is tough to eradicate once it is established in the ground. Be persistent. Cut plants as close to the ground as possible. Watch for new growth and repeat cutting several times during the growing season as necessary until underground rhizomes die. Chemical herbicides are occasionally effective, too. Follow application directions carefully.

Potting and Repotting Golden Bamboo

Avoid unwanted spreading by planting golden bamboo in a container at least 24 inches deep and wide. The pot should be wood or unglazed terra-cotta with drainage holes at the bottom. Place the pot on a sturdy, impenetrable surface, such as concrete to prevent the ground from being invaded. After planting, cover the soil surface with two inches of mulch to help it retain moisture. Water a potted golden bamboo three times a week during the summer, more often if the temperature reaches 90°F, so the soil doesn't dry out.

Pests and Problems

The main problems golden bamboo can have are root rot and sooty mold. Sooty mold is caused by pests like mealybugs and aphids. Keep your plants trimmed to allow for air circulation and water at the base, not in the middle, to avoid root rot.

How to Propagate Golden Bamboo

To grow golden bamboo from a stem cutting, cut a section of cane about 10 inches long at a 45-degree angle. It should have at least three nodes. After dipping it in rooting hormone, plant the section in quality soil up to the first node. Mist the soil daily and fill the center of the cane with water, periodically refilling it. After a few weeks in bright sunlight, your cane will have grown taller, and it will be ready for planting in a few months.

Types of Golden Bamboo

'Koi' Golden Bamboo

'Koi’ golden bamboo is a fairly rare variety that features golden canes with green stripes. The canes have a maximum diameter of smaller than 2 inches with internodal growth that gives them a knobby appearance. It’s a great candidate for container planting and often grows a little slower than other varieties.

‘Albovariegata’ Golden Bamboo

This type of golden bamboo is a hardy, clumping variety that features yellow canes and narrow yellow-green leaves that sometimes have white stripes. It typically grows anywhere from 6 to 30 feet tall and is hardy in zones 6 through 10.

‘Holochrysa’ Golden Bamboo

The sturdy Holochrysa golden bamboo canes will turn from green to a bright golden color much earlier than other golden bamboo cultivars—especially when grown in ample sunlight. As the Holochrysa reaches heights of 12 to 20 feet, its leaves will stay bright and evergreen, providing pretty contrast to the yellow canes.

Companion Plants for Golden Bamboo

Acer Palmatum 'Beni Kawa'

beni kawa japanese maple acer palmatum tree
Peter Krumhardt

A stunning maple that looks beautiful all year long, the ‘Beni Kawa’ also likes full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil. It typically grows to only 15 feet tall and is happy in zones 5 through 9.

Hakone Grass

Hakonechloa macra Aureola

Carson Downing

A low-maintenance perennial grass, Hakone grass makes a lovely ground cover for the shadier areas leading up to your bamboo plantings. It is hardy in zones 5 through 9 and features slender green leaves that almost look like bamboo leaves growing up from the ground.

Rhododendrons and Azaleas

Bob Stefko

Rhododendrons and azaleas (which have been reclassified as genetically similar to rhododendrons) are beloved for their glossy green foliage and brightly colored blooms. Both rhododendrons and azaleas grow best in partial sun, but can happily take the shade that a neighboring crop of golden bamboo may provide. They are hardy in zones 3 through 10.


helenas blush euphorbia
Marty Baldwin

Euphorbia is a large genus of plants that include both annual and perennial species. Look for dwarf perennials like the ‘Ascot Rainbow’ to pair with your bamboo for its foliage in showy clusters of variegated leaves that are green with yellow edges. It’s a compact plant, typically growing only 6 to 20 inches tall, and is hardy in zones 9 through 11.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What can I grow instead of golden bamboo if it's invasive in my area?

    If golden bamboo is invasive in your region, consider planting noninvasive ornamental grass instead. 'Northwind' switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) has thin blades and a bold upright habit. It grows 4 to 5 feet tall. 'Karl Foerster' feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora), which has showy seed heads in late summer and fall, is another native grass to consider. It grows 3 to 5 feet tall.

  • What are other names for golden bamboo?

    Golden bamboo is also known as fish-pole bamboo, fairyland bamboo, and running bamboo. Its botanical name is phyllostachys aurea. 

  • Does my container-grown golden bamboo need protection from winter temperatures?

    Golden bamboo is fairly frost tolerant and can generally survive the winter without special treatment. New plantings will be the most vulnerable. If you are concerned about a cold snap, you can bring container-grown plants inside temporarily. Just remember that your bamboo will still need ample sunlight. In-ground plantings and container-bound plantings embedded in the ground can be given a thick layer of mulch (up to 6 inches) to help insulate the roots and rhizomes.

Was this page helpful?
Better Homes & Gardens is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources—including peer-reviewed studies—to support the facts in our articles. Read about our editorial policies and standards to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy.
  1. Golden Bamboo. National Invasive Species Information Center.

Related Articles