Giant Clumping Bamboo - suggestions needed for zone 8

Saucier, MS(Zone 8b)

I'm looking for a variety of giant clumping bamboo that is hardy in zone 8b (South Mississippi). I'm considering Bambusa oldhamii but would like to know if anyone has a better suggestion. My husband has wanted this for years and his birthday is coming up next month. I love bamboo but don't want anything terribly invasive.



Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Hi Sadie,

I don't know if you've found what you're looking for yet, but I have a bamboo alternative that I love. Arundo Donax "Peppermint Stick". It looks like bamboo and makes the bamboo canes, but it's variegated. There's a "Variegata" that starts out variegated, but when it gets hot, it loses its variegation and is just green, like bamboo. So I prefer Peppermint Stick which doesn't lose the variegation.

It clumps quickly and keeps spreading from the clump. It's easier to divide than bamboo. It has rhizomes similar to canna rhizomes. It gets 12 or more feet tall and has mauve plumes in the fall. Very drought tolerant and pretty fast growing too.

I bought Peppermint Stick at Homestead Farms in Coldwater, MS. I think it was $15 for a one gallon container. But don't be fooled by size. It will quickly grow to 12 ft or more and spread. So one or two gallons is all you'll need unless you're impatient.

Thumbnail by ButterflyChaser Thumbnail by ButterflyChaser Thumbnail by ButterflyChaser
Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

The pictures are from Variegata. That's why the last picture is plain green. I just bought the Peppermint Stick in March, so it will be 3 years or so before it catches up to the Variegata in my garden.

Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

Hi Sadie,

I agree with Butterfly, Peppermint Stick is lovely!

As you mentioned oldhammi (55 feet tall) I'm guessing your husband is seeking height without the width of the grove to go with it. :-)

You might want to take a look here, noting the minimum temperatures.

The Bamboo Web has a great page with detail of each clumper
that will grow over 50' tall.

Of the list, I would choose any of the following, though this
is assuming your minimum temperatures do not drop below 25.

Bambusa dolichoclada 'Stripe' (65')
Bambusa odashimae (65')
Bambusa tulda (70')

Of course, there is always Dendrocalamus giganteus if ypu have the room. :-)

Let us know what you decide.

This message was edited Apr 4, 2012 10:56 AM

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I guess I was only in the mood to pic, it's running gigantea

Thumbnail by juhur7
Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

Hello Juhur7, I'm not sure what we're looking at in the picture.
Are you saying the sprouts in the square planter are bamboo?

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Hello WUVIE,Yeah, there giant bamboo,I don't like typing in latin but there 'PUBESCEANS" I believe is how it's spelled,I have three or four other spieces I'm trying to start ,I'm a hog when it comes to plants ,Inever seem to have enough!!

Olympia, WA

Luved Arundo - both variegated and regular .... they did not last long - several years. My bamboo is 15-20 years growing - and no sign of stopping. That is good.

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)


you sure have better luck with growing bamboo from seed than I have ever had...LOL

So how is Anderson these days, I grew up there with my grandparents during the summers, love it, and I loved working in the family resturant.

You have an excellent bamboo source not too far from you.


Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

meadowyck;my luck with Bamboo is rather sparse ,and I still have about four kinds that have sat for months and not germinated,Sometimes it's great other times not.
What is the source I could use one?(maybe)(LOL)
Anderson is having some trouble these days ,only who or where really isn't .
Visited my Grandparents here also while growing up,my parents are truly more the hometowners than myself.
There still is some family business remaining here ,only not like it use to be.

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)

sorry I didn't supply it at the time.

yes it is hard all over these days, DH and I know all to well, several years ago after both of us loosing our jobs and finally our house on a short sale, we are in FL (my home state) starting over.


Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

It seems today while doing a few things some bamboo seeds that I had planted months ago are beginnig to sprout.polymorpha and yunneninsis are both tropical clumpers so I guess I will have house plants next winter. My giants posted earlier are beginnig to grow and one outside wasn't bothered by frost or freeze, makes me wonder if I might not have a monster later.A plant that little that isn't suppose to be that hardy at that size has me wondering.

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)

just keep in mind that bamboo can grow several feet in a day. LOL

runners in the north don't run near as bad as down here in the south...

Clumpers are the best bet for small lots here and runners if you are harvesting it and have plenty of acres to keep it in check.

Olympia, WA

Interesting watching one lot - had a huge patch of bamboo that obviously hit its year to make seeds and die. Property owners must not know about this. They have pruned all culms, removing all dead leaves and leaving tall naked stalks. I wonder when they will "get it"???

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)


there is a great club out your neck of the woods, though I'm not sure how far away they are for you. check it out here at the site will list the club in your area, and hopefully it won't be far off.


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