bamboo screening plantsLooking for the perfect bamboo screening plants? You’re not alone, and as with all things bamboo related, finding the right species to plant can be confusing.
The first thing you should know when looking for bamboo for screening is that the bamboo species preferable for hedges and screens are running bamboo species. This is because running bamboo spreads and fills in quickly to make a dense screen. Having said this, you may need to install a barrier to keep the bamboo contained. You can read more about that here bamboo plant care.
If you want to use a clumping bamboo to form a screen, there are species that will work, but clumping bamboo will only spread a couple inches a year. This means that it can take years for it to properly fill in and create a screen. If however you have the time to wait or the money to plant them close together, then it may be a viable and preferable to use clumping bamboo. Essentially any bamboo that grows tall enough and will survive will work!

Best Bamboo Types?

Phyllostachys is probably the most commonly used genera of bamboo overall in the western world, and that includes its use in hedges. This genera of bamboo has various species which grow anywhere from 15 feet to 75 feet and it’s fairly cold tolerant. The best thing about this genera is that most bamboo nurseries (or regular nurseries for that matter) will have a species of Phyllostachys that will grow well in your area and they will be able to guide you on growing it. To me this is a priceless advantage to getting your bamboo locally. Another great thing about Phyllostachys though, is that there are so many species of it that you can absolutely find one that will be to your taste whether you like black stalks, large droopy leaves, or light feathery ones. Phyllostachys doesn’t do well in tropical regions though.

The species that I would most highly recommend from Phyllostachys for the purpose of making screening include:

Phyllostachys aurea
Phyllostachys aureosulcata
Phyllostachys bissetii
Phyllostachys heteroclada
Phyllostachys bambusoides
Phyllostachys decora
Phyllostachys dulcis
Phyllostachys edulis "Moso"
Phyllostachys iridescens
Phyllostachys nigra
Phyllostachys nuda
Phyllostachys viridis
Phyllostachys vivax.

Other species of Phyllostachys will work, but they may not work as well as these for making a dense, well filled in screen. So, if you have a choice at your nursery I would highly recommend choosing one of the above over another species of Phyllostachys.

As mentioned above, in the regions that are more tropical you will need to look at other options. Perhaps the most popular and sensible plants for high temperature and humidity areas would be species from the Bambusa genera. These bamboo plants are actually clumping instead of running, so they don’t’ require the barriers and care that running bamboo often does. Unfortunately though, they won’t spread nearly as quickly so it’s best to start out with a lot more plants, or to plan on allowing at least a few years for your screen to properly develop.

The top species from Bambusa that I would recommend include:

Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’
B. multiplex ‘Riviereorum’
B. multiplex ‘Silver Stripe’