Hardy False Bamboo


Hello, I live in downtown Toronto (the annex) and have seen what looks like bamboo canes growing in someone’s front yard . This fall I noticed quite a lot of them on the front porch(cut off ) . Since I’m pretty much isolating this year I didn ‘t ring the bell and ask what they were. My daughter thought they might be called “hardy false bamboo ” . Any idea what they are ? I’d love to plant some in my back yard next to the back fence as a screen. I also like the idea of starting seeds indoors now to plant outside in the spring or summer. I realize this may be tricky but I’d like to try. So any suggestions about what this plant is or other bamboo or false bamboo that might grow here would be very helpful. Also places to get it. Thanks !


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners with your bamboo questions.

Without a photo, it is not possible to identify the plant you have seen. Bamboo adds a wonderful architectural and esthetic character to the garden. However, caution is needed to choose a suitable variety appropriate to zone 6 growing region. Invasiveness is an important concern as many hardy species can spread rapidly.  From personal experience of 10 years and still finding a small plant last summer, invasive bamboo species can be difficult to eradicate.

Nandina domestica (common names for  hardy false bamboo or Heavenly Bamboo) is native to India and Japan, and is a member of the barberry family. It is to be avoided due to its invasiveness and toxicity to birds and animals. Its invasiveness is promoted by birds which spread the seeds. The berries are toxic to birds as they contain cyanide.

Please see this reference regarding suitable bamboo species for garden planting: https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/bamboo-2/

An internet search for an accurately identified species, using the words “ontario bamboo plants”, will provide you with sources for various bamboo species by actual botanical names rather than the less precise common names.

All the best with your search for a suitable bamboo species.