Growing bamboo in northern climes

I live in the Panhandle area of Idaho. I'm very interested in growing bamboo for various projects. Has anyone had any luck with this plant in a northern climate? I have seen it grown in Portland, Ore., but its weather is milder than here. This area gets quite a bit of moisture and winters are not normally extremely cold -- compared to areas further east. Can anyone suggest a good book or website for getting started with bamboo?

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JoelA272 years ago

I live in four lakes wa and have wondered about growing bamboo in this area. Fore fence and shelters for animals. I would be great full to see your bamboo. I have 14 acres on Sr. 904 and some of the areas are sub irigated. With climate change the weather is getting a little warmer winters but dryer. My email is Look forward hearing from you. Thanks joel

hollenback9 years ago
I am in Cheney, WA (About 55 miles west of Coeur d'Alene) and I am growing about 70 species of bamboo. The runners are easy to control in this climate by rhizome pruning and there are a number of clumping varieties that do well here. With the searchable ABS Source list at you can find bamboos that will work for you.

You might be warmer that where I am. Last winter my recorded low was -6*F but in 2004 it did get down to -24*F and 19 of the 20 species that I had at that time survived.
IdahoDavid (author)  hollenback9 years ago
Do you get what I would term a construction grade bamboo? I'm think of something with a dried wall thickness similar to a Schedule 40 PVC. I think with the lake factor here at Coeur d'Alene we probably are a little warmer and damper in the winter than Cheney.
It depends on what you are building out of it. As a bamboo culm gets older it also gets harder and reaches its maximum hardness in about 5 years and because of the climate I have not been able to get any that old so far but my P. aureosulcata P. rubromarginata and P. bissetii are doing well and should be producing construction grade bamboo soon. Next year I should have enough canes to start working on a fence but I need to find some borosol as a preservative first. If you stay above 0 deg I would recommend P.
angusta (Stone Bamboo) to grow and build with. There is a list of bamboos that will grow in your area at: Phyllostachys hardy to 0*F. If you would like to see my bamboos PM me and we can arrange a time. There is also two or three bamboo cleanup days at the bamboo groves in Puyallup, WA and if you help clean up the groves you can bring back as many canes as you can carry. The dates will be posted on as soon as they are set.
You can also check out the forums at and for more ideas.
Note that a most of what people call bamboo around here is actually Japanese Knotweed and will decay in about a year.
skunkbait9 years ago
Hey, let me know if you need some cuttings. One of my properties has a bamboo infestation!
IdahoDavid (author)  skunkbait9 years ago
I will let you know. Thanks
Goodhart9 years ago
Here is one PDF reference to how many types are grown in a botanical garden....
Kiteman9 years ago
I live in the UK, and the main problem we have with bamboo here is stopping it growing.

It turns into a spreading weed very easily.
IdahoDavid (author)  Kiteman9 years ago
Yeah, I'm getting a lot of that. I'm curious. Are the varieties you are familiar with something that would be structurally sound or are the stem wals thin? I have seen a variety growing around here (Idaho) but not a kind I would use for building anything.
One the whole, it's thin stuff (imported as a decorative plant). I have seen broader stems (inches across) growing in botanical gardens, stately homes etc, sometimes in greenhouses, sometimes not.

That wasn't much help, was it?
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