When it comes to growing a bamboo hedge, you could not ask for a better environment than Florida. Florida spans USDA hardiness zones 8-10, and gets min temps from about 15F in the Panhandle (which has weather more like lower Alabama than any part of Florida) to lows of 35F Key West (which has weather more like a Caribbean island). This means we can grow most tropical and subtropical clumping bamboo varieties in a pot with ease.
We recommend sticking with the clumping varieties and leaving the running bamboo to our friends in colder more temperate climates. Running bamboo and Florida's tropical climate are a recipe for bamboo everywhere. It's so easy for running bamboo to take over an entire area that it's just to dangerous to recommend, even for a potted plant. If you live in Florida you are one of the lucky few in the country that can grow all types of beautiful clumping bamboo easily and quickly in pots and planters both indoors and out.
I will warn you that growing bamboo in the ground in Florida is a no brainer, just set it and forget it. However, growing bamboo in a container requires additional care due to its amazing growth rate and its use of lots of water. Bamboo loves to be planted in evenly moist soil and letting a potted bamboo dry out is a real no no. When bamboo is grown indoors, it is not as forgiving. But don't despair because I will tell you a trick that most indoor bamboo interior-scape folks use to always keep their indoor bamboo looking great! They use 2 bamboo and cycle them taking turns, one inside for a couple weeks and one outside recharging its batteries. This way one bamboo is always charged with sunlight and fresh, and before it has a real chance to decline, its back in the sunlight again getting its recharge of energy.
OK now that we have the background information, lets choose some favorites. It is difficult because there are so many great bamboo for hedges, but I will choose a few of my top picks:
Please remember that these are all Clumping bamboo and can be trimmed to any height and can be overwintered in a protected space indoors.
1. Seabreeze Bamboo
They might as well call this one "screenbreeze" as it makes the most beautiful and effective hedge when planted in pots. Expect this one to grow around 15’ in a 30-40 gallon pot which makes it an ideal large bamboo for planter boxes and and large pots. What makes Seabreeze such a great bamboo is that it has branches that go all the way down to the base. this makes for a beautiful plant that provides all the privacy one could need. Minimum temperature is around 15F.
2. Multiplex Bamboo
Multiplex is a family of bamboo that range from short (10’ max height for Stripestem) to tall (25’ max height for Alphonse karr or Silverstripe). these bamboo are often called pencil bamboo and are a group of thin canes packed very close together. This is a great potted bamboo that can handle minimum temperatures down to 12F.
3. Oldhamii Bamboo
This one is a big timber bamboo that grows tall and straight. In large containers this one can grow around 20’ tall.This is a thick bamboo that will push up several large shoots with beautiful foliage and attractive new shoots. This one is a winner when a tall plant is needed with more of a screening effect and less of a blocking effect.
Photo Credit: day1 092 via photopin (license)