Bamboo is one of the world’s most popular plant types. The plant is native to Asia and East Asia, though different types of bamboo can be found worldwide.
Besides its growth speed, bamboo is also strong and easy to cultivate. Certain types of bamboo are renowned for their strength and are used for building and industry. It can be used to create anything from buildings to durable fabrics.
Other types of bamboo trees are grown for ornamental reasons. Such types are beautiful in a garden scene as they bring out the best of nature. Many types of bamboo can also be eaten. There are even thousands of YouTube videos out there that can teach you how to cook with bamboo.
Generally, there are more than 1,000 different bamboo species. Each has different attributes that make it ideal for cultivating or perfect for its natural habitat. Here are different types of bamboo trees around the world.
Popular Types of Bamboo Trees Around the World
If you are wondering how many bamboo species are out there, the exact number is 1,718 in 128 genera. Now, that’s huge. Some of these plants are used for industry, others are ornamental, and most are edible.
One thing to note though: Before you plant a bamboo tree, always consider your environment. Think of your space and the space you will need once the plant has grown. Bamboo is a fast-growing plant; you must choose the best place to put it early.
Check out the following types of bamboo plants.
1. Bambusa Balcooa (Female Bamboo)
Like most bamboo plants, female bamboo is evergreen, strong, and grows pretty fast. This bamboo type can be used for ornamental reasons but is also robust and ideal for industrial use. It’s also prevalent in garden use throughout the world.
Female bamboo can grow up to 80 feet in length under ideal conditions. Therefore, ensure you have a suitable space for its growth.
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2. Bambusa Bambos (Giant Thorny Bamboo)
Giant thorny bamboo is an evergreen, tropical bamboo considered native to Southern Asia. It’s also sometimes known as Indian Thorny Bamboo, a clumping species that prefers naturally tropical and subtropical conditions.
Giant thorny bamboo can have up to a 30-year lifespan, making it one of the largest natural types. A fast growth rate and incredible strength make the giant thorny bamboo common for building projects and other industries. It’s also one of the edible bamboo types – the seeds and shoots are both considered nutritious.
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3. Bambusa Blumeana (Spiny Bamboo)
Spiny bamboo is one of the most common bamboo species in the world. This evergreen, clumping bamboo type is native to Indonesia and Malaysia but can grow under tropical or close-to-tropical conditions.
Thorny bamboo is traditionally used as a building material but can also be applied to many other industrial uses. The local industry practically relies on a regular harvest for its economy. Tools, fabric, and more can be created from this sturdy type of bamboo.
And that’s not all. While it’s best known as an industrial type of bamboo, spiny bamboo is also being grown as an ornamental type more often.
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4. Bambusa Tulda (Timber Bamboo)
Timber bamboo is one of the best types of bamboo for industrial uses. That’s why it’s called timber bamboo.
Strength and growth speed make it great for industrial applications, but it can also be great as an ornamental plant for your garden. In its native environment, this bamboo species is also used for paper production.
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5. Bambusa Guangxiensis (Chinese Dwarf)
Chinese dwarf bamboo is a clumping variety native to southern China. It’s an evergreen species that grows up to around 9 feet in height, making it one of the shortest clumpers around.
Chinese dwarf bamboo prefers sunny regions and copes pretty well with heat – it doesn’t do well in frosty regions. This means that it can grow in many regions of the world as long as it’s warm.
Just like many other types of bamboo, it makes for a great ornamental plant for any garden or patio. Plus, it looks absolutely stunning throughout the year due to its dense foliage. It’s also perfect if you need a privacy screen or hedge around your outdoor area since it doesn’t grow too rapidly.
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6. Bambusa Polymorpha (Burmese Bamboo)
Burmese bamboo is one of the bamboo types native to Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand. It can also be found anywhere where conditions are close to tropical. It also grows just as happily in a garden and a pot.
Burmese bamboo is a clumping, evergreen bamboo variety that can grow large (and, overall, can be a heavier type of bamboo). One of the most common uses for Burmese bamboo is the construction industry, though it is now more popular than ever as a plant you will find in gardens. Myanmar has approximately 100 different bamboo species. And this is one of the most popular types.
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7. Bambusa textilis (Slender Bamboo)
Slender bamboo, weaver’s bamboo, or clumping bamboo is one of the most common bamboo species in the world. Slender bamboo isn’t your average-sized bamboo type. It is a giant plant with dense leaves growing upright in a clump of up to 10 meters.
As for its origins, Slender bamboo is native to China. However, it also grows happily in any gardens around the world where climates are similar to their origins.
Like many other bamboo species, slender bamboo is famous in the fabric industry. That’s where it gets its “weaver’s” bamboo name.
For a durable bamboo type that grows happily almost everywhere, consider Slender bamboo as one of your first types. It’s an evergreen plant that will make your garden worth a second look.
8. Bambusa ventricosa (Buddha Belly Bamboo)
Bambusa ventricosa is an evergreen bamboo native to Vietnam and Southern China. It’s one of the most popular ornamental types of bamboo that can happily grow in containers but can shoot upwards to more than 50 feet.
It’s also called Buddha belly bamboo, thanks to the bulging appearance of its segments. The unique appearance has made it one of the most popular bamboo types for homes and gardens. And it grows happily near any tropical environment.
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9. Bambusa Vulgaris (Common Bamboo)
Bambusa Vulgaris is among the largest and most common bamboo species. And for this reason, it is referred to as common bamboo.
This type of bamboo is native to Southern China and Madagascar. However, over the years, it has become one of the most cultivated bamboo species almost everywhere in the world.
It is one of the most adaptable to the environment types of bamboo. For instance, they can grow in gardens and pots if their conditions are right.
It is an evergreen and clumping bamboo type that is pretty easy to grow. But unlike the slender bamboo, its clumping is relatively open.
If you are just getting to know bamboo, common bamboo is one of the best recommendations to start with. They do not need as much fuss as other types of bamboo, something that makes them a perfect choice.
Sometimes, common bamboo is also called yellow bamboo, thanks to its appearance. It is also strong and fast-growing and can grow anywhere.
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10. Dendrocalamus Giganteus (Giant Bamboo)
Giant bamboo is native to China and is commonly known as Dragon bamboo in its native ecology. It is one of the largest types of bamboo if left to grow, but it can also be trimmed to be ideal for the average home garden with some care.
This versatile bamboo type can grow anywhere in the world and is considered easy to grow. In addition, it keeps growing throughout the year.
Dragon bamboo is preferred for its toughness and is commonly used in industry. But as one of the largest types, much care is needed to control this bamboo type’s growth.
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11. Dendrocalamus strictus (Male Bamboo)
Male bamboo is a type of bamboo native to India and mostly located in Calcutta, where conditions are warm and tropical. It is one of the most common types of bamboo in the area but is also seen worldwide. Usually, it is an ornamental type of bamboo, famous for its decorative flair.
Male bamboo is preferred thanks to its superior strength, which has given rise to the alternate name Iron bamboo. And due to its solid growth, it’s a common sight in the industry.
Male bamboo is also fast-growing and can achieve its full length quicker than comparative bamboo types. And if you want to grow it, a subtropical climate is great for the plant.
12. Gigantochloa Apus (Tall Bamboo)
Some bamboo trees can grow quite tall. The tall bamboo is an excellent example of how tall these plants can grow.
This towering clumping bamboo is from the Gigantochloa species and is native to Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and China. It grows in any tropical or subtropical climate and can also be grown in a container or garden.
When left alone to grow, this can become one of the largest types of bamboo in the world. The name tall bamboo might be a clue.
It’s heavily used for local industry, and anything from utensils to building frames are made from tall bamboo. The plant is evergreen, fast-growing, and strong. It has all the best qualities you want in the type of bamboo you choose.
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13. Gigantochloa Levis
Gigantochloa levis is an evergreen, edible bamboo type native to Asia, New Guinea, and parts of China. While just as fast-growing as common bamboo, the levis bamboo plant can grow much taller. It’s one of the largest clumping bamboo types, and care should always be taken to trim this plant down to size in a household garden or environment.
It prefers subtropical climates, though it can be adapted to its environment if the gardener takes enough care. Additionally, it is used often in industry, though also ornamental. Its use has been studied as a type of compost.
14. Gigantochloa Pseudoarundinacea
The pseudoarundinacea is also among the largest bamboo types in the world, native to Indonesia. Within Indonesia, the plant is also sometimes known as Gombang Batu. And while it’s widespread here, you will also see this variety in many other subtropical parts of the world.
It’s an edible bamboo type that loves tropical environments and shares most similarities (other than its larger size) with common bamboo. Even though it’s a large type of bamboo, just a little work can control its growth enough to make it great for the garden. It can even grow inside.
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15. Guadua Angustifolia (Guadua Bamboo)
Guadua angustifolia is a bamboo variety native to South and Central America. It is also among the world’s most popular ornamental and industrial bamboo types.
This bamboo species is not only evergreen but also a giant timber bamboo that is considered one of the strongest in the bamboo subfamily. As a giant bamboo type, control is necessary to trim it to length – if you don’t, growth continues.
This bamboo type is known as fast-growing and perfect for building though more often used for ornamental reasons. It’s also edible and one of the only native South American bamboo types.
How big does this type of bamboo get? The angustifolia bamboo might grow more than 80 feet in length. That’s a pretty giant type of giant bamboo.
16. Fargesia Murielae (Umbrella Bamboo)
Umbrella bamboo is one of the most popular types of bamboo in central China. Its umbrella-like shape, full foliage, and unique growth habit stands out. Fargesia Murielae is a cold-hardy species that can also grow happily in any environment where conditions are close to tropical.
It’s an evergreen type perfect for growing in containers or as an ornamental plant around your garden. Thanks to its spreading habit, Umbrella bamboo grows quickly and can serve as a great privacy screen for your outdoor area or patio.
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17. Pseudosasa Japonica (Japanese Arrow Bamboo)
This type of bamboo is native to Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. It’s a clumping species that grow fast, forming huge thickets as tall as 20 ft. Japanese arrow bamboo has thick canes with large leaves and grows happily in any environment close to its original habitat (that is tropical).
Japanese arrow bamboo is one of the best types of bamboo for those looking for an ornamental garden variety, as it will give your outdoor area a lush look throughout the year. It’s also a great choice for a privacy screen or hedge. It can grow in containers or air, including areas near salty oceans.
18. Phyllostachys Bambusoides (Japanese Timber Bamboo)
Japanese timber bamboo is a tall and beautiful species native to Japan and China. It’s usually found in mountain valleys, forming thickets as tall as 43 feet.
This type of bamboo is an evergreen variety that prefers tropical climates and moist soils. And it can grow happily in gardens or containers outdoors.
Japanese timber bamboo is an excellent choice for those looking for an ornamental variety. It adds some lush greenery to your garden throughout the year. And as long as you live in a close-to-tropical environment, it can thrive in your garden or patio.
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19. Phyllostachys aureosulcata Spectabilis (Green Stripe Bamboo)
If you’ve ever seen a bamboo tree with dark green stripes on its stem, you have probably seen green stripe bamboo. It’s a species native to tropical regions in Asia, typically growing in dense groves.
Green stripe bamboo is an evergreen species with average-sized canes that only reach up to 20 feet high. Compared to many other species, this bamboo tree is among the short species, categorized under the running bamboo species.
However, it’s also drought tolerant and will thrive in almost any environment as long as adequate sunlight and moisture are available. And it makes for an excellent ornamental variety thanks to its striking foliage. It’s also perfect if you want a privacy screen or hedge around your garden or patio.
20. Phyllostachys aureosulcata (Yellow Groove Bamboo)
Another type of running bamboo you can consider for your garden is the yellow groove bamboo. Native to China and Taiwan, this species grows in dense clusters with bright yellow grooves on its canes.
Yellow groove bamboo is a clumping species reaching up to 40 feet tall that prefers moist soils. But that doesn’t mean it can’t also tolerate dry conditions.
It’s an evergreen variety perfect for those looking for a neat, ornamental plant that offers beautiful green scenery all year round. And if you want a fast-growing hedge or privacy screen around your outdoor area or patio, this is the ideal choice.
What is Bamboo?
We have covered several bamboo types, exploring their characteristics and advantages. But do we know precisely what type of plant bamboo is?
Well, bamboo is, technically, a type of grass.
Bamboo is cultivated for its strength, though some types are purely ornamental. These are meant to add to the visual appeal of a garden more than its function.
Bamboo is evergreen and will grow well throughout the year in most environments. It doesn’t need large amounts of water and land to grow happily but can also be adapted to grow in water (or hydroponically).
The term “bamboo” describes different plants from the Bambusoideae family. Its origins are in Asia, but most bamboo types can grow anywhere if their conditions are ideal. Common bamboo is everywhere, but many other ones (like golden bamboo) exist in specific regions.
How many Different Types of Bamboo Exist?
It depends on who you ask! Most resources estimate that there are about 1,700 different types of bamboo in the world. Some sources say that there are precisely 1,718 different varieties.
The truth is there are more types of bamboo in the world than one article could hope to list. It would take an entire series to cover over 1,700 species.
If you want to plant bamboo, it is only necessary to know the most common types. Know the type of bamboo you will work with, and don’t worry about the other over 1000 varieties.
For this article, we include only the most common types of bamboo you might find in gardens and nature worldwide.
Why Plant Bamboo?
There are different reasons why you might want to plant bamboo. For starters, bamboo can be grown as a building material. Fast-growing and strong, it possesses some of the most important material attributes that will last for a long time.
The same plant can also make anything from fabrics to foods. Bamboo doesn’t always have to serve a DIY, practical use. Regular people plant bamboo, not just builders or engineers. The plant can be ornamental – great and fun to care for.
What does bamboo get used for?
The different industrial uses of bamboo are vast. It can be used as a building material, but that’s not all you can do with it. It has hundreds of other applications, including artists’ charcoal and fabric.
Many bamboo types are also edible. Also, they can be used to make musical instruments.
Is bamboo difficult to grow or maintain?
Bamboo is no more challenging to grow or care for than the average house plant. Most bamboo species need light and water but are also very adaptable to how much will be enough. If you take proper care of your bamboo plant (and do your research), bamboo could be the perfect plant choice.
Can bamboo really grow anywhere?
Yes! Bamboo can be adapted to prefer almost any ecology.
Whether you live in a warm or colder climate, bamboo can grow throughout the year if you take the right care of it. That is why more than 1,700 different types of bamboo can thrive almost anywhere in the world.
Can bamboo be transplanted?
It can be done if you would like to move a bamboo plant from one place to another. But only when conditions are right. Also, careful transplantation of bamboo has to be done at the right time of year (e.g., not when they make shoots or flowers).
If done right, your bamboo plant can take to its new spot almost immediately.
What’s the best variety of bamboo to plant?
The best type of bamboo for your home or office garden depends on different things. The weather and your time for it are deciding factors when choosing your bamboo type. Also, consider the amount of space you have and where the bamboo will grow.