Bambusa vulgaris 'wamin' is called dwarf Buddha belly due to the swollen shape of the stems.

Bambusa vulgaris ‘wamin’ is called dwarf Buddha belly due to the swollen shape of the stems.

The world’s fastest growing plant is a perennial grass and you can eat it, wear it and build with it.  This remarkable, versatile plant is bamboo.  Mistakenly, many homeowners do not consider planting bamboo because it has a reputation for being aggressively invasive.   For landscaping purposes there are two categories of bamboo: the clumping variety and the running variety.  Running bamboo are invasive and have long underground stems that can sprout new shoots many feet away from the parent cane.

The clumping bamboo

cultivars are not invasive and can provide a beautiful, tropical plant choice for landscapes.   Clumping bamboo send up new canes outward from the center in tight, compact clumps and will grow to be about 6 feet wide within several years.  Clumping bamboo serve a variety of purposes in residential landscapes.  They are an excellent option for the creation of a fast growing, privacy barrier.  To create a screening hedge, the plants are usually installed about 5 to 6 feet apart , but can be planted up to 10 feet apart, depending on the species and how much time one wants to allow for the new growth to fill in the gaps between plants.

Bamboo come in an array of sizes and colors and are frequently used as ornamental specimens in landscapes.  The larger cultivars can grow up to 50 feet tall and are often used as treelike alternatives for the creation of shade.  There are also dwarf varieties that are good choices for small gardens and containers.  The leaves on the lower parts of the bamboo culms can be trimmed in order to reveal the culms’ unique colors of blue, black, yellow or green.   People are also drawn to the stately, graceful canes and the rhythmic sound they make while swaying in the wind.