Running and Clumping Bamboo
Bamboos can be roughly divided into runners or clumpers. (monopodial and sympodial)
Running bamboos spread by sending out underground rhizomes in all directions, many feet each year. New canes come form buds on the rhizome. They can be very aggressive in a warm climate and quickly take over a yard or field. Most runners are cold hardy and have their own special beauty. If you have seen a bamboo grove that has canes spread out that you can walk through, that’s a running bamboo. The bamboo on the left is Giant Moso bamboo and is the largest of the running bamboos. Notice how spread out the canes are. The bamboo on the right is Spectabilis bamboo. It only grows to about 2 inches in diameter and has canes closer together. But is is a runner and will spread rapidly in all directions.
Clumping bamboos are mostly tropical or sub tropical. They grow from a base that forms buds next to existing canes. They form a tight clump that has canes very close together, often touching. They are easy to control as they don’t spread out. Below is a clump of black bamboo that we saw at Quail Botanical Gardens.