The Worst Bamboos for Cold Sensitivity
Of the 100+ varieties we carry at Brightside Bamboo Nursery, these are the most cold-sensitive, listed in order.
1. Any of the Bambusas, such as Bambusa mutiplex and subspecies, Bambusa textilis 'RG Dwarf', etc). These are really zone 8 plants that we keep for our customers in places in North Carolina such as Wilmington, Fayetteville, Greenville, etc. They are rated to 12°F. However, they can be grown in Zone 7b if you give them extra TLC such as thick mulch and frost blankets if the temperature dips close to 12°F. Also, if you have a warm and sheltered micro-climate they can be OK in 7b.
2. Phyllostachys nigra (black bamboo). This is probably our most popular bamboo. The problem comes when it is exposed to cold winter winds, which can damage the leaves at around 10°F. It won't kill the plant, but it can show damage. Rated to 5°F
3. Sasa palmata and other broad-leafed bamboos tend to be more sensitive to conditions when the frost line goes deeper than normal and they have frozen roots but the sun in shining. They dry out. Rated to 5°F.
4. Japanese timber bamboo (Phyllostachys bambusoides) and subspecies such as Allgold and Castillon. Leaf damage in single digits combined with wind. Rated to 5°F.
5. Phyllostachys viridis and subspecies, including Houzeau and Robert Young. Leaf damage in single digits combined with wind. Rated to 5°F.
6. Pseudosasa japonica (arrow bamboo) and subspecies are vulnerable in the same conditions as Sasa palmata above. Rated to 5°F. For central North Carolina, it is unusual to have these conditions, but they did happen during the 2017/2018 winter.
7. Phyllostachys aurea (golden bamboo) and subspecies such as Koi. Leaf damage in single digits combined with wind. Rated to 5°F.
David is founder of Brightside Bamboo and dreams of world where bamboo is utilized in helping solve our biggest problems.