Hi I have zero experience gardening but I will try to be as descriptive as possible. I’m looking for a clumping variety of bamboo that grows about 8 feet tall with a relatively small spread. I have a sunny backyard and am unsure about soil type. I have no problem researching varieties, but I am at a loss as to where I can purchase bamboo in the GTA.
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.
Good choice in choosing a clumping bamboo, their short root structure are incapable of expanding more than a few inches a year and will form circular clumps. These clumps will slowly enlarge as new culms ( jointed stem) are formed every year.
We have received a number of questions regarding growing bamboo in Toronto. The following information is from one of our archived posts:
There are several varieties of bamboo that thrive in our climate. The most important consideration with bamboo is to find a variety that is not invasive: as you suggest, you should look for a clumping variety, such as Green Panda fargesia ( Fargesia dracocephala ‘Rufa’) which will grow to the height you need, but will not invade your garden. Larger nurseries in the GTA should stock at least a few varieties of bamboo, and you should have no trouble finding what you want, although perhaps not in the fall season. Landscape Ontario has a comprehensive list of nurseries that you can contact: https://landscapeontario.com. Under the bar “I’m looking for” click Retail Garden Center and enter your location to find a number of reputable garden centers in your area.
There are many other taller ornamental grasses you might consider as an alternative to bamboo. Here is a link to a great article with information on designing and growing grasses, some of which are of the height you want:
Another bamboo to consider is Fargesia murielae (Umbrella Bamboo). This bamboo is hardy to USDA zone 5. It prefers to be planted in an area that is protected from the hot afternoon sun or an area that receives dappled sunlight throughout the day.
This link provides you with a number of previous bamboo posts on our website.