Can you grow bamboo outdoors (in the ground) in southeast Minnesota?

Asked March 15, 2014, 9:26 AM EDT

Can you grow bamboo outdoors (in the ground) in southeast Minnesota?

Winona County Minnesota bamboo

1 Response

Bamboo- (Bambuseae) is an evergreen plant in the tropical grass family. In the right eco-zone this is a very fast growing, very aggressive plant that spreads by rhizomes and can be very difficult to control. At the same time bamboo is a valuable crop when managed. It is used for structural wood, animal feed and many other uses:

Some nurseries claim to have developed cold-hardy bamboo plants (to zone 5), but I think that it's iffy for us (in zone 4) to think that we can plant bamboo and expect that it will live for a long time. Here is a link to a nursery in Oregon that claims to have plants that can withstand temps to - 10. (This is simply a web search on my part, and I can't claim to have any knowledge or confidence in this website.)

I'm not sure why you are looking to grow this plant. Are you thinking about providing a fast growing screen, or are you simply intrigued by this interesting plant?

If you want to try growing this plant I recommend that it be planted in a south facing, sheltered location, next to a heat source (like a house foundation). Water the plant until the ground freezes, and mulch heavily.

On the other hand, you may want to consider some other plants that are native - or at least amenable to our climate - which can give you the same effect that bamboo offers - A large screening plant, striking foliage, rapid growth, etc.

Here is a discussion from other folks who are wondering about growing bamboo in Minnesota. I hope that you will be able to find some links, or some contacts with folks who have some of the same questions:

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact AaE again if you have further questions.