Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Golden Bamboo, Fishpole Bamboo
Phyllostachys aurea

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Phyllostachys (fy-lo-STAK-iss) (Info)
Species: aurea (AW-re-uh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

17 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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2 positives
1 neutral
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive james78070 On Sep 30, 2014, james78070 from SPRING BRANCH, TX wrote:

Please note that even though I am giving this bamboo a 'Positive' I believe it should only be planted in certain environments and or if enough care is taking to keep it in check. Phyllostachys Aurea is considered the poster child for bad boy bamboos - at least in the southern US. Please consider though that this giant grass is only doing what it is programmed to do - which is to monopolize as much of the idea growing area its roots can find.

This bamboo is extremely successful for several reasons. (1) Once established it is very drought tolerant and can take the dry 100 degree summer heat in the southern US. (2) it can take winter freezes without ANY damage - not even leaf drop in my area which bottoms out in the low to mid teens. (3) Although it enjoys rich soil it will also survive and spread (a little slower) in poor soil conditions.

If you research web sites many people recommend clumping Bamboo. Unfortunately the clumping varieties that can take our occasional winters in the low teens without severe damage will die during our hot summers even if you give them plenty of water. I do grow heat tolerant clumpers (Textilis Gracilis and Alphonse Karr) and during mild winters (not below 20) they are fine but if it drops to around 15 all of the newest culms that came up the previous August will die and the plant will lose the majority of its leaves and some of the older culms may perish as well. They also will stay stunted the first summer after a hard winter and do not send up many culms and they are not near as tall or thick.

Even though my nearest neighbor is a ways off from my land I decided I did not want this bamboo to have free will on where it wants to grow. My soil is extremely rocky so I spent weeks digging down 2 feet (using a jackhammer) then cemented some of this rock around the four sides and made the walls of rock and cement a foot higher than the surrounding ground making it a raised bed. Then I filled it with a truckload of rich soil which had lots of composted manure.

This bamboo spreads by underground stems but these grow very close to the surface and often they will come above ground to jump over an obstacle then stab back into the ground. My theory was since the planting area was raised I would be able to see it try to jump the wall. I also dug a small trench around the planting area just in case some of the roots decided to go deep I could see them jumping across the trench. After four years this bamboo has filled the area nicely and is about 22 feet tall and I have only had one attempted jail break. One root stem found a hole in the raised rock wall and snuck through stabbing into the ground in a place where I did not notice it until culms came up outside the wall the following May. I dug up the escaped roots tracing it back to the hole and fixed the breach in the wall. These underground stems are very tough and once you get a firm grip you can usually pull them up and back to the source without them breaking as you see with many other invasive plants.

If what I have done to keep this under control seems like a lot of work let me be clear - it WAS a lot of work. So far I am successfully containing this beast and able to enjoy it in the area where I wanted it to thrive. If you do not have cranky (or litigious) neighbors near you and you do not want to take all the steps I took you can plant it - then in May when it sends up shoots in unwanted areas you can either mow them down, or kick or steps on them to break the culms when they are first shooting up from the ground. AFter the spring shooting season is over you will be good until the following spring then it will send up more shoots. This bamboo ONLY shoots in the spring UNLESS a root stem becomes seperated from the mother plant, then it will try to send up a small culm to leaf out and feed the root. If it cannot do this within a short period of time that piece of root will die.

My mother lives in a subdivision where the contractor put down 6 inches of topsoil on all the lots with houses side by side which gives a runner like this perfect conditions to spread. Her neighbor planted this bamboo and it was not long before it was also in her yard. She lets the ones near the fonce grow since it provides privacy and nothing she has ever planted on the north side of the house has grown well so she likes it. I asked her how she was keeping it from spreading in other areas and she said she steps on them when they come up in the spring.

Unlike other grasses Bamboo does not keep growing when the above stemps are cut - instead the cut place dies down to the nearest node. If my 82 year old mother is able to keep this bamboo in check then you may be successful as well. If you plant it then walk away ignoring it for seven years the next time you look you will have a forest of bamboo that would take a great deal of effort to control or get rid of.

Negative Rickwebb On Jan 21, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This huge running bamboo is very rampant growing and rapidly spreads all over the place. Its broken twigs can flow downstream, root, and start another colony. I've seen underground stems send up shoots more than 30 feet from the colony in spring. When plants get big and old, many stems fall over and it gets really messy. I've volunteered at cutting down and digging up this noxious, invasive weed species from East Asia a number of times in southeast Pennsylvania land preserves, trying to reestablish native plant communities. If one really wants a temperate species bamboo, one should buy the Fountain Bamboo, Fagesia nitida, that only gets to 12 ft high and stays as a clump.

Negative Carol_Merritt On May 20, 2012, Carol_Merritt from Spring Hill, FL wrote:

My neighbor planted 5 of these plants (uncontained) on the property line of a residential lot consisting of .33 of an acre. The U.S.D.A. states that one Golden Bamboo plant can spread 9.3 miles. We spent several years digging rhizomes in the hot Florida sun in a desperate attempt to keep it from encroaching onto our property. This is the most invasive, destructive plant I have ever come across in my lifetime. We finally installed a 75 foot steel reinforced concrete barrier at a cost of 3,000 dollars. My husband injured his knee in the process and required surgery. It is now a year later and he still has problems with the knee. This is the fastest growing plant in the world. The bamboo has grown to within 10 feet of the end of the barrier. We foresee digging rhizomes again next spring. We lost the lawn, all landscaping, and 6 young palm trees. At this time our total costs because of this plant has been 10,100 dollars not counting my husband's surgery. This plant needs to be banned in residential neighborhoods.

Negative nativelyeager On Jan 17, 2011, nativelyeager from Brooksville, FL wrote:

Phyllostachys aurea has naturalized (a misleading term: there is nothing natural about it because it was moved here by humans) and is invasive in Central and Northern FL. It is listed as FLEPPC (FL Exotic Pest Plant Council) Category II, meaning it has increased in abundance or frequency but has not yet altered Florida native plant communities to the extent of Category I species. It will become ranked Category I when ecological damage is documented. If you do not live next to a natural area or to neighbors who might freak out when it invades their property, you might still want this obnoxious-though-beautiful plant. It will just take a lot of your time to keep it in check, even if invasion elsewhere is not an issue.

Neutral frostweed On Dec 27, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Golden Bamboo, Fishpole Bamboo Phyllostachys aurea is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.

Negative palmbob On Mar 27, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This was one of my first bamboo, when I didn't know any better. Since then I have planted ove 30 species of bamboo in my old yard, but this is only one i have regretted. This is one of the most commonly grown bamboo in cultivation- easy to find and cheap. It is easy to grow, too...a bit too easy. It it a runner of the number one calliber. It is SO invasive it's scary. I planted this at one corner of the yard a ways from everything thinking no problems (had over 1/2 acre), but it shows up 10-15' away from its source. And then each of those take off. Usually I just snap off new culms that show up here and there, but these are remarkable resilient and even when bent at 90 degrees, it keeps on growing. Hard stuff to kill!

It is easy to identify this species as it has relatively small culms (I think about 1.5" max) they are always green (to yellowy in full sun). The plant grows to about 20-25' tall. The internodes of this species are quite close together near the soil, but then are spaced more evenly about 1-2' high. That characteristic is probably the best one for identification.

Positive Michaelp On Nov 10, 2003, Michaelp from Glendale, UT (Zone 5a) wrote:

This one, as well as most species of Bamboo[both Dendrocalamus and Phyllostachys]have eddible shoots --just earth up the bases of the plants in the winter -and than cut the shoots as they emerge form the piled up soil,in the spring--don't let them get too big,or they get tough--if you let them get exposed to light ,they will get bitter.Boil for 1/2 hr or longer,but not too long or they loose the crispness of texture.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Lower Lake, California
Palm Springs, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Clifton, Colorado
Hinesville, Georgia
Parsons, Kansas
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Easton, Pennsylvania
Clarksville, Tennessee
Sweetwater, Tennessee
Fort Worth, Texas
Spring Branch, Texas
Seattle, Washington
Spokane, Washington

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