Bamboo sighting around town

No matter where I go, I’m always on the lookout for interesting plants—especially bamboos, succulents, and large-leafed tropicals plants because these happen to be my favorites.

While bamboo is still fighting an uphill battle for acceptance in the U.S., I’m glad to see that even in our town of 60,000 more and more businesses and private individuals are embracing it for its unique beauty and landscaping potential.

I recently came across this beautiful arrangement of Phyllostachys aurea ‘Holochrysa’, the truly golden form of “golden bamboo”. While the plants are still relatively juvenile—maybe 6 ft in height—they already have the unique compressed internodes that Phyllostachys aurea is known for. In non-technical language, these are the relatively short sections on the canes (culms) between the rings (nodes). You can see them well in the last photo in this post.

Beautiful bamboos in attractive containers

“Golden bamboo” (the species form of Phyllostachys aurea) is actually a misnomer. Its culms are typically all green, and only older culms take on a slight yellowish hue. On the other hand, the ‘Holochrysa’ variety in these photos is truly golden, and a beautiful burnished golden color to boot.

I love how the elegant look of these bamboos softens the hardscape outside this office building

Phyllostachys aurea is a running bamboo. Unless you have a large property and don’t mind if it spreads, it shouldn’t be planted in the ground without some form of containment (like a rhizome barrier) or a regular regimen of rhizome pruning. In this case it doesn’t matter because the plants are in metal containers. I absolutely love the look of these simple metal containers, but since they’re relatively shallow, the plants will have to be divided, thinned and/or root-pruned every couple of years to ensure their long-term health.

Close-up of culms with compressed internodes

I can’t repeat myself often enough: I’m thrilled to see that businesses around town are using bamboo for landscaping, and I hope the trend will continue. I will do my part to spread the word.


  1. Very nice! Like you, I'm always on the lookout for bamboo "in use" around town. A couple of points about this post though: First, it wouldn't matter how deep those containers were, they'd still need to be divided and/or thinned every few years. Second, a barrier material is not the only solution for containing runners, and some would argue it's not the best solution either. Rhizome pruning is another option. We won't get into the debate of this now. =)

    If you find other spots that show a good use of bamboo, or spots that look like a good place for bamboo, or even a place where bamboo is a problem (or potential problem), check out my other little blog:

    Put Bamboo Here

  2. Alan, I added rhizome pruning to my post. Rhizome barrier is the default method for containment around here although for in-ground planting most gardeners would choose a clumping bamboo.

    I didn't know you had another site. Will check it out over my lunch break!

  3. Alot of bamboos do look good in containers, and helps soften office and industrial buildings effortlessly. And with the right container it looks contemporary!

    Speaking of rhizome pruning, of the ones planted on the ground without a barrier (running type), I rhizome prune them twice a year within their allocated space using Trenching Spade. Severs those wandering rhizomes effortlessly! Good for Phyllostachys, but Sasas are too vigorous even rhizome pruning won't curtail it.

  4. Mark and Gaz: wondering what you've found with Sasas that rhizome pruning won't stop. Rhizomes too deep? Grow too fast so pruning has to be done too often? Just curious.


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