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Jack 3

Hello all. 

I searched the forums for answers to this and saw people's differing opinions, but wondered if anyone could shed some light on this.

I fancied having some bamboo in my garden. I heard it could be invasive but heard that clumping bamboo was fine. About two weeks ago I saw some 'Golden Bamboo' in Homebase about 7' tall. It said on the tag 'clumping'.

So I bought it and put it in the bottom of my garden. Now since reading threads in this forum and elsewhere online, I'm quite worried that it's going to run, should I be?

And if so why do they say it's clumping bamboo on the description which comes with it?

Jim Macd

Yes! Bamboo is hard work. It will break out of the toughest pots. I wouldn't have it in my garden. 


There's basically two types of bamboo Jack. Some run because the new shoots spread  underground and pop up farther away, and these are the kind which can be a problem.  The clump formers grow - as the name  suggests - in a clump, so they tend to thicken up in the same way as a Phormium with the new shoots all popping up round the main plant which keeps it more controllable. Your own growing conditions can affect how the plants grow, as with any plant, and some people put a physical barrier round them when planting to help contain them - like paving slabs, timber or corrugated metal. The Fargesias are the most common clump forming types. If it says clump forming rather than having a botanical name, it's probably just to make it easier for people to make a choice.

Jack 3

Thank you both. Fairygirl, yes I was thinking I'll have to get some barrier for it. I just couldn't understand why it would say clumping on the tag, then I look up Golden Bamboo online and everywhere seems to say that's it's running???


Sorry to bring it up again Jack, but you have a botanical name? Seriously, there are lots of "golden bamboos" Phylostchys Aurea is the most common. If you've go that one, it's a clumper.


Jack 3

Oh, sorry Hostafan1 I didn't realise this. I seem to have thrown the tag away, so don't know the botanical name.


Schoolboy error Jack! 

You could always go back and take a look to see if they have any left. As Hostafan says, there's lots of different varieties but P. Aurea is quite common so there's a good chance it's that.

Jack 3

Cool. Thanks, I'll do that, I think the name looks familiar. So clumping bamboo is fine and won't run off into my neighbours gardens causing havok?


I'm guessint it might be P. Aurea. I'm sure Homebase wouldn't sell a huge range of bamboos,and this one is , rightly , very popular. Watch out for "runners" popping up a distance away from the main plant though,just in case.


Jack 3

OK, will do thank you for your help.

Jack 3

Hi Swiss Sue, thank you for that link, wow they are big. I feel a bit stupid now but I was just chatting and someone reminded me that I bought it from B and Q not Homebase. Thanks for the info though. I'm just going to have to get a barrier for peace of mind.


I grew P Aurea and it was invasive.  Had it for less than 18 months and checked it's habit.....being aware of the possibility.  It had run 3 metres or so, down deep and then up amongst other plants.  I had to follow every runner to totally eradicate.  It was much worse in an area of good soil too.  Will not grow any bamboo now.  In a pot they struggle so not a sensible plant for me.

For a similar habit, sound, etc., grow tall grasses instead like miscanthus or calamagrostis

Oh Hostafan,  took delivery of 3 hostas today including fire island.  

Jack 3

Ah no! I'm wishing I never bought it now.

Look on the bright side. When the wind blows your bamboo leaves will sigh and rustle and make the garden sound magical. Many of us struggle to get plants to grow in certain places so maybe your bamboo will not be as vigorous as you fear.


Ever the optimist Ceres. 

Know what you mean about the sighs and rustles.  A local river bank is planted with miscanthus and the sound in summed is, as ??ou say, "magical".   

Seriously, Jack, I would not plant them.  Monty Don did plant some up in large pots but I thought they looked odd and I doubt they will thrive.  I think bamboos need to feel plenty of soil around them to do well as well as lots of water.

Could you take them back to homebase?  If you have the pots amd receipt it's what I would do.  Say "unfit for purpose" as they are not clumping but running bamboos and therefore not appropriate for your garden.  I have no doubt you will get your money back....speak to the manager 


..I shall have to disagree with one or two members here and tell you that, I think in this country you should be alright with it... it is only considered invasive and rampant in warmer countries than this one.... here it forms a very compact upright plant... it isn't especially 'golden' though, some of the leaves are a lighter green....   the plant you have bought is correctly 'Phyllostachys Aurea'....

... if you're really worried but wish to keep it, you could buy perhaps 2 metres of Bamboo Control System, which you place around the roots, so you would need to dig it up and replant... about £15... from the Urban Jungle website... who describes this plant as:-
''Excellent as an upright, non-invasive specimen with bold, billowing upper foliage''.

I think if it was mine, I'd give it a chance but keep my eye on it.... I might not plant it right next to a boundary fence though...


Duncan Blackwell
I was given some "golden bamboo" about 15 years ago. I planted it at the top of the garden next to some ferns. I'm still waiting to harvest the free canes from it, it's barely 18" tall and the canes are thinner than tooth picks. As it was a present from a long since gone neighbour I never had the genuine name for it.

Verdun, can I be very rude and ask where you bought your hostas and how much they cost?. I'm always looking for fresh suppliers and interesting varieties.

Fire Island looks wonderful. Which were the other two?

Flippin' eck, I'm nosey. tee hee.

Jack 3

Thanks everyone. I'm in two minds now, will have to ponder it for a while. I was just looking at an article where they dug a trench around the plant, which you check twice a year to see if the rhizomes are crossing it, this would be OK if they didn't go down deep.