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Anyone have bamboo advice in ID?

17 years ago


I'm in southwest Idaho (Boise) which is high desert. We just removed every inch of grass and rototilled in compost and are now figuring out where to go from here. I really want to plant bamboo for privacy between us and our neighbors, but I'm not sure which variety is the best. It sounds like the clumping varieties aren't hardy enough. I'd also like it to be as drought tolerant as possible. We are planning to go as xeric as possible, so for watering reasons, the more xeric the bamboo, the better. But I also keep wondering if I'd be better off planting tall ornamental grass, due to being in zone 5. Anyone have any advice?

Thanks in advance,


Comments (9)

  • 17 years ago

    Contact Horseshoe Nursery in Horeshoe Bend, ID which is north of Boise.
    For low water use I would suggest Phyllostachy decora but remember it will need more water as it is getting established (2 or 3 years).
    For clumpers look at Fargesia 'Rufa', F. murieliae, F. nitida or Thamnocalamus tessellatus.

    If you would like to see photos of these bamboos look at the photos on and while there check out the forums and talk to people growing bamboo from Zone 4 on up.


    Here is a link that might be useful: Horseshoe Nursery

  • 17 years ago

    I love bamboo, too, but winters are cold here (Buhl - zone 5 or 6). Check out the raintree nursery catalog for a pretty good discussion of hearty bamboo. Once you have the genus/species, you can probably get it cheaper elsewhere. But ALL bamboos are going to need a lot of water. Perhaps you could plant in a trench lined with heavy black plastic to change the hydrology so you wouldn't have to water so much? This would also restict root invasion. The froggies will love you.

  • 16 years ago

    What did you end up planting? I've wanted to try some bamboos, but I'm kind-of scared because of the invasiveness. We have "red bamboo" or "Mexican knotweed" that came with our house, and I just hate the way it keeps wanting to take over the whole garden bed! (My husband likes it, though!)

    I have several ornamental grasses, but they seem to require a fair amount of water, or they just sit there and sulk. I have a large Miscanthus 'Zebrinus' that is a huge chore to cut back in the springtime . . . wish I'd never planted it, but I can't think of any way to kill it now. Grasses don't make much of a screen for a short while in the spring, after they've been cut back for the year, but they work pretty well the rest of the time.

  • 16 years ago

    We have had great luck with bamboo in Boise. We buy our plants from Horseshoe Bend Nursery - they are great people to work with. We use ours for a small "meditation" garden on the side of the house. It also blocks the view of a neighbors wall. Contact me and I'll be happy to show you pictures or you are welcome to visit.


  • 16 years ago

    After reading the recommendations, I finally drove up to Horsehoe Bend Nursery and had a look. They really do have quite a selection! However, the worker who tried to help me knew little about bamboo and was not really able to answer any of my questions. I was about to leave when one of the owners spotted me and came over to ask whether she could help. Wow, could she ever! She was very knowledgeable and helpful in her recommendations, and I came home with a new bamboo, after all . . . a pleioblastus with variegated leaves.

    I'd like to try some other kinds, too, but this lady told me that autumn is not the best time to plant bamboos in our area . . . they need time to get established before winter. That gives me more time to decide what I have space for and really want, anyway.

  • 10 years ago

    Hi all, this thread is pretty old and I'm brand new to the forum (long time lurker though). I was hoping to stir up the conversation on growing bamboo in Boise. I have a blank slate of a boring yard to transform into my dream garden. We are starting on the backbone and have some arborvitae along our fence in a busier street. My husband wants some pampas grasses, and I'd love to try bamboo as well for privacy and screening. I was wondering about planing bamboo in sunken containers to keep it from taking over. We have a sprinkler system, so water shouldn't be an issue. I'm also looking for good sources for bamboo. I don't know if the Horseshoe Bend Nursery is still in operation.

    Here is a link that might be useful: My Garden/ anything blog with recent posts

  • 10 years ago

    I purchased 20 varieties from the horseshoe bend nursery several years ago and everything is doing well. Some better than others but they are all still alive. I wanted a 'big green wall' in the back yard to block out my neighbors and his monster RV. I have several aspens and 4 maples along the 'wall'. It took between 3-5 years for the bamboo to mature to the point where new culms are thick enough to support themselves in wind/rain/snow. I have what I was after. Some years the heavy snow or melting snow turned ice will kill off the leaves but the plant survives and pruning of the dead leaves stimulates new ones... Overall I'm very satisfied! I can sadly confirm that HSB nursery is no longer open. The building is there but nothing else... If I remember Edwards on hill rd took over their stock and would be my best recommendation for advice on which varieties grow best in the Boise valley... Or just come see mine... Good luck!

  • 3 years ago

    For those of you wanting to plant Bamboo...DON’T...
    It is invasive. Spreads everywhere. Difficult to remove. Crowds other plants out. Just because you might like it, does not mean your neighbors want their back yard over run with it.