Golden Bamboo

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

Golden Bamboo Overview

Description Golden bamboo is a perennial with finely textured green leaves and attractive golden-yellow stems. Considered a running bamboo, it is often planted to create privacy between properties because it grows quickly to create a dense hedge or screen. It also provides bold vertical interest in landscape beds or in the contained space between two driveways. Unfortunately, this plant can become invasive to the point where it's nearly impossible to get rid of, so it's not recommended for all landscapes.
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

Alternatives to Golden Bamboo

Golden bamboo is 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, check with your local Extension service about the invasive status of golden bamboo in your 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 and has showy seed heads in late summer and fall.

Golden Bamboo Care Must-Knows

Golden bamboo grows best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. 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 with soil mixed with mulch. Water deeply. Subsequent waterings should keep the soil moist but not soggy. Space golden bamboo plants at least 4 feet apart to accommodate future growth.

Install root barriers around these perennials when planting them in the landscape unless you are prepared for seemingly infinite spread. Or plant each one in a large plastic pot sunk into the soil so the rim of the pot extends 3 to 5 inches above the ground. This will help prevent golden bamboo from creeping into the surrounding soil.

Avoid spreading altogether by planting golden bamboo in a container at least 24 inches deep and wide. The pot should be made of wood or unglazed terra cotta with drainage holes at the bottom. Place the pot on a sturdy, impenetrable surface, such as concrete, that will 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. In other words, don't let the soil dry out.

Getting Rid of Bamboo

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.

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