The realization that some types of bamboo are hardy enough to withstand cold temperatures has led to an explosion in their popularity in areas where the temperature drops below freezing in the winter. Many bamboo species, like Phyllostachys Aurea, will not only survive the cold but will thrive adding variety and beauty to almost any landscape design.
In fact, the main problem with adding bamboo to the landscape may not be the difficulty in getting it to grow but the difficulty in keeping it from taking over. Most of the hardy species have a tendency to be invasive and their ability to spread underground through runners means they can pop up almost anywhere even across roads and under fences. It is possible to control them with a proper regime of mowing and trimming. Here are some of the more popular types available.
Phyllostachys Aurea or Golden Bamboo is a hardy species with stems that are green when young but that turn golden yellow with exposure to the sun. They grow to a height of about 5 meters. They look great when allowed to grow in thickets but are probably not the best choice for a privacy hedge as they can spread rapidly.
Phyllostachys Aureosulcata Aureocaulis is another hardy evergreen species of bamboo. It has bright green leaves and yellow stems with some green striping. Their most notable feature is that the stems, if given enough bright sun, will turn a bright red over time. They can survive very cold temperatures, well below freezing, and reach a height of about 6 meters.
Perhaps the most striking type of hardy bamboo is the Phyllostachys Aureosulcata Spectabilis. The stems are yellow but each has grooved green stripes running the length of it. They also have a tendency to bend at each node which results in a zigzag shaped stalk. All in all a very striking plant.
The Black Bamboo or Phyllostachys Nigra is one of the shorter hardy species, reaching only about 3 meters when fully grown. As their name implies these plants have black stems which provide an attractive contrast to the feathery, green leaves. They do not spread as easily as some of their taller relatives so they can be planted almost anywhere. Their smaller stature also makes them a good choice for containers.
Perhaps the best choice for creating a privacy hedgerow is the Phyllostachys Bissetii. They are tall plants, able to grow well over 6 meters, and they grow in very dense thickets. They also have thick and full foliage creating a border that is nearly impossible to see through. They grow very rapidly and are very hardy.
Phyllostachys Aurea is only one of the many bamboo species hardy enough to be grown successfully in areas with harsh winters. Bamboo is attractive and easy to grow and can be used for privacy or as a backdrop for shorter grasses and garden plants. Care must be taken to be sure they do not grow a bit too well. If left to their own devices they can quickly become a nuisance to the owner and his neighbors.