bamboo plants

How Long Does It Take For Bamboo To Grow?

Bamboo is a popular plant in gardens because of how quickly a few bamboo shoots can become big, beautiful bamboo plants. Bamboo likes full sun and plenty of water, usually several waterings each week once established. It’s important to know your USDA hardiness zone before planting. And a word to the wise: most bamboo spreads, and some bamboo can spread almost uncontrollably. Bamboo is often best left in containers. But how long does it take for bamboo to grow? It depends on the type. Let’s dig into how fast bamboo grows, based on its type.

How long does it take bamboo to grow to full size?

The time it takes to grow bamboo really depends on the type of bamboo you’re growing. Some bamboo grows very tall very fast. Other types, like clumping bamboo, can take a long time to get established and will spread far more slowly. So in order to answer that question, let’s look at some of the types of bamboo.

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Types of bamboo

Buddha belly bamboo

Buddha belly bamboo is native to China and gets its name from the fat, belly-like nodes that grow along the stem. It’s a tall variety, growing up to around 50 feet tall, and likes warmer weather. It’s a slow growing bamboo.

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  • Full height: About 50 feet tall
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-12
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Time to reach full size: 3-4 years

Giant bamboo

Giant bamboo is the largest type of bamboo and the tallest growing member of the grass family. Their rate of growth is incredibly fast once established, growing approximately 1 mm every minute and a half, or 36 inches in a 24 hour period.

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  • Full height: 100 or more feet tall
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Time to reach full size: 1 month

Umbrella bamboo

Umbrella bamboo is resilient and easy to grow. Because of its dense growth pattern, it’s a good hedge bamboo and isn’t prone to invasiveness. No data describing its rate of growth is readily available, but experienced growers note that it can take a few years to reach its full size.

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  • Full height: 10-15 feet tall
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Partial shade
  • Time to reach full size: Several years

Dragon head bamboo

Dragon head bamboo is a good clumping variety of bamboo that, while not growing very tall, tends to spread out and form a thick screen. Once established, a new shoot can grow to its full size in 3 months. Plants in partial shade tend to be shorter. This is a good cooler weather variety.

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  • Full height: 8-10 feet tall
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-8
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Time to reach full size: 60-90 days

Fish pole bamboo

Be careful with fish pole bamboo, it loves to spread! It can quickly take over and become an invasive pest. No precise data about rate of growth is readily available, but it is widely considered to be a fast growing bamboo.

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  • Full height: 15-25 feet tall
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-11
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Time to reach full size: Fast

Japanese timber bamboo

Japanese timber bamboo is actually native to China, but it gets its name because it is commonly farmed in Japan. This bamboo grows very tall, up to about 70 feet. An established shoot will grow by about 40 inches per day.

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  • Full height: 60-70 feet tall
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-10
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Time to reach full size: 1 month

Black bamboo

Black bamboo is a really stunning type of bamboo with black stems and green leaves. They’re good for adding a dark flavor to your garden. They take a bit longer to get established and reach full size, usually 3-5 years.

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  • Full height: About 25 feet tall
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-11
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Time to reach full size: 3-5 years

Painted bamboo

Painted bamboo is a beautiful type of bamboo that, once established, will reach its full height in a remarkably short period of time.

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  • Full height: 50-60 feet tall
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-12
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Time to reach full size: Full height in less than 60 days

These aren’t the only types of bamboo commercially available to plant in your garden, but they are some of the most common. You may want to research the types available in local nurseries and be sure you’re picking the right bamboo for your yard.

Keep Reading: Teacup gardens are a thing and they’re adorable

Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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