Bamboo for Toronto

(Question)

Hello,

I would like to plant bamboo in my yard (preferably a clumping variety that grows no taller than about 3 meters), but I am unable to find it for sale anywhere locally. I assume there must be some species of bamboo that can survive our weather? Do you have any information about what types of bamboo can be grown and whether they can be purchased?

Many thanks,

(Answer)

One wonderful thing about bamboo is that gardeners who love it will often first extol the beauty of its haunting, rustling sound, rather than its appearance – an unusual description from plant lovers, and perhaps one of the qualities that has attracted you to this striking plant.

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: http://landscapeontario.com/garden-centres/chapter/toronto .

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:

http://www.canadianliving.com/crafts/home_and_garden/guide_to_gardening_with_ornamental_grass.php