Bamboo privacy screen in lush green

Bamboo For Privacy Screens: Best Screening Plants

Elevating your landscape with a bamboo privacy screen is a substantial undertaking that requires pertinent knowledge. The main issue that many people face is not knowing which bamboo varieties are best for privacy screens. 

There are many species and here are some of the most popular bamboo for privacy screening:

  • Blue chungii
  • Scottish Bamboo
  • Seabreeze Bamboo 

Each bamboo species has unique qualities that should be considered before purchasing and using it to form a bamboo screen. These qualities include the average height, diameter, USDA plant hardiness zones, appearance, and upkeep requirements. 

Continue reading to discover how to choose the best bamboo for privacy screens and to learn about some of the best-known bamboo species to use for privacy screens. In the end, we have a quick guide that helps you determine which bamboo will be best for YOU and YOUR HOME.

How to choose the best bamboo for your privacy screen

To make the best choice for your bamboo privacy fence, consider factors like the type of bamboo (clumping or running), appearance (color, size, height), environmental sensitivity, care requirements, and your USDA zone.

Bamboo privacy screen in lush green with the text on top: Here is the best bamboo for privacy screens

Clumping bamboo is generally preferred for privacy screens due to its non-invasive growth pattern and ease of maintenance. In contrast, running varieties require more care to control spreading (a root barrier and regular root pruning).

The appearance of bamboo varies in color and size, affecting the screen’s final look. It’s crucial to select a species suited to your local climate zone and hardiness zone, as some bamboos thrive in specific environments.

Additionally, consider the bamboo’s care needs, including sunlight, watering, soil type, and fertilization, to ensure a healthy and effective privacy screen.

Overview: Bamboo for privacy screens

Now that you know about different factors to consider when choosing your bamboo, let’s look at some specific bamboo species that are great for privacy screens. Take note that this isn’t all of your options. There are way more bamboo species.

SpeciesTypeUSDAMin. Temp.Height
Fargesia MurielaeClumping5-9-20°F (-29°C)10-14 ft (3-4 m)
Fargesia DracocephalaClumping6-9-10°F (-23°C)8-12 ft (2-4 m)
Scottish BambooRunning6-10-10°F (-23°C)10 ft (3 m)
Phyllostachys BissetiiRunning6-10-10°F (-23°C)20-24 ft (6-7 m)
Zig-Zag BambooRunning6-10-10°F (-23°C)25-30 ft (8-9 m)
Phyllostachys DecoraRunning6-10-10°F (-23°C)30-35 ft (9-10 m)
Phyllostachys RubromarginataRunning6-10-5°F (-20°C)40-60 ft (12-18 m)
Pseudosasa JaponicaRunning7-100°F (-18 °C)18 ft (5.5 m)
Seabreeze BambooClumping8-1115°F (-9°C)30-35 ft (9-11 m)
Bambusa OldhamiiClumping8-1115°F (-9°C)40-65 ft (12-20 m)
Bambusa NanaClumping9-1120°F (-7°C)20 ft (6 m)
Bambusa Textilis GracilisClumping9-1120°F (-7°C)30-40 ft (9-12 m)
Blue ChungiiClumping9-1120°F (-7°C)40 ft (12 m)
Bambusa VentricosaClumping9-1220°F (-7°C)40-55 ft (12-17 m)

Clumping types: Non-invasive bamboo for privacy screens

Green Seabreeze Bamboo plants in a row for privacy screening
Seabreeze Bamboo (Source)

Bambusa malingensis ‘Seabreeze Bamboo’

  • Height: 30-35 ft (9-11 m)
  • Stem diameter: 2.5 in (6 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 8-11 
  • Hardiness: 15°F (-9°C)
  • Light: Full sun, part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Watering: Regular

Seabreeze bamboo is ideal for creating beautiful privacy screens in coastal areas. It’s a gorgeous bamboo plant with small dark green culms and leaves and wood that has a fine grain. It’s a clumping (non-invasive) bamboo that originated in Southern China. A cold-hardy plant, Seabreeze bamboo is able to withstand temperatures as low as 15°F. 

Not only can it withstand low temperatures, but it’s also resilient when it comes to floods and drought. You’ll also find that this bamboo variety is wind-tolerant. Seabreeze bamboo has no problem with salty air, which makes it a great choice for the coast.

Seabreeze bamboo is also fast-growing, and it has a moderate need for water (not too little, not too much). You can let it soak up the sun or chill out in the shade – either one is fine. 

Seabreeze Bamboo is the dream choice for privacy screens. If you‘d like a robust and no-fuss bamboo type, this one is a great option.

Blue Chungii Bamboo with a blue hue on the stems making it the best non invasive bamboo for screening
Blue Chungii Bamboo (source: Flickr)

Blue chungii ‘Tropical Blue Bamboo’

  • Height: 40 ft (12 m)
  • Stem diameter: 2 in (5 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 9-11
  • Hardiness: 20°F (-7°C)
  • Light: Full sun to shade
  • Soil: Sandy loam to clay loam soils, well-drained soil
  • Watering: Average

Blue Chungii or Tropical Blue Bamboo is another species of bamboo that’s great for creating privacy screens. What’s super appealing about this bamboo plant is its color. The culms have uncommonly long internodes and a stunning blue hue. The branches and leaves are a rich, vibrant green color. 

Tropical Blue Bamboo is of the clumping type. This species originated in Southern China and Vietnam. 

This bamboo is able to withstand temperatures as low as 20°F. It likes both full sun and shade. You should water this bamboo regularly but not too often. 

This variety may be a good choice for you. If you are looking for a bamboo type that doesn’t require too much maintenance and is breathtaking, you should consider the Blue Chungii for your privacy screen. 

Culms of Bambusa Textilis making a tall privacy screen
Bambusa Textilis

Bambusa textilis ‘Gracilis’ (Weaver’s Bamboo)

  • Height: 30-40 ft (9-12 m)
  • Stem diameter: 1 in (2.5 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 9-11
  • Hardiness: 20°F (-6°C)
  • Light: Full sun
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Watering: Average

Weaver’s Bamboo is another fabulous option for privacy screens. These plants have evergreen foliage, meaning that the bamboo always has leaves that are green, no matter what time of year it is. The culm is a vibrant yellowish-green. 

This variety of bamboo has average water needs (not too little, not too much). It tolerates heat, cold, and wind really well. 

This bamboo species grows well in pots both indoors and outdoors. You could simply line up several potted Weaver’s bamboo plants outside to create a privacy screen. 

Shot from below of tall Bambusa Oldhamii plants - best tall non invasive bamboo for screening
Bambusa Oldhamii (source: Flickr)

Bambusa oldhamii ‘Giant Timber Bamboo’

  • Height: 40-65 ft (12-20 m)
  • Stem diameter: 4 in (10 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 8-11
  • Hardiness: 15°F (-9°C)
  • Light: Full sun, part shade
  • Soil: Rich, moist soil
  • Watering: Regular

As the name dictates, Oldhamii (or Giant Timber Bamboo) is a tall species of bamboo. It’s of the non-invasive, clumping type. The Oldhamii’s timber is large, tall, and clumped together very tightly. The species has fresh green foliage and culms that are various shades of green and brown. 

As a giant bamboo species, this plant requires a lot of fertilizer and water for the first year. This way, the plant has a good start and can grow to its full potential. Not much upkeep is required after the first year. 

This bamboo shoots from late in the spring up until the end of the fall. It takes 3-5 years for the plant to fully mature. Full sun is best for the Oldhamii. 

This bamboo will produce a high, substantial privacy screen. If you are looking for a bamboo variety that is enormous and doesn’t take much upkeep, this bamboo may be the right pick for your privacy screen. 

Bambusa Nana plants in a garden - one of the best non invasive bamboo for screening
Bambusa Nana

Bambusa nana ‘Thai Silk Bamboo’

  • Height: 20 ft (6 m)
  • Stem diameter: 2 in (5 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 9-11 
  • Hardiness: 20°F (-7°C)
  • Light: Full sun, part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Watering: Regular

The Thai silk bamboo species has tiny green leaves and culms of varying green. This bamboo produces delicate foliage that forms a lush canopy at the tops of the culms. 

This variety likes full sun and is cold tolerant. It’s got a tiny footprint, meaning that it can fit into the smallest of garden spaces. Thai Silk bamboo is not as cold hardy as some of the other bamboo species featured in this article. However, it can still withstand frigid temperatures. 

This bamboo variety stands out from the others for its aesthetic appeal. It’s elegant and makes a substantial impression as both a privacy screen and a conversation piece. 

So, if you are looking for a mid-height privacy screen that has a beauty that’s impossible to ignore, this bamboo species is for you. 

Bamboo culms of the Buddha Belly species with rounded internodes, creating an ornamental bamboo privacy screen
Buddha’s Belly Bamboo

Bambusa ventricosa ‘Buddha’s Belly’

  • Height: 40-55 ft (12-17 m) / potted usually 8-15 ft (2-5m)
  • Stem diameter: 2.25 inches (6 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 9-12
  • Hardiness: 18°F (-8°C)
  • Light: Sun to shade
  • Soil: Clay-based, loam, or sandy soil, well-drained soil
  • Watering: Regular

Buddha’s Belly bamboo is originated in Southern China and is often seen growing in Southern California, Southern Florida, and Hawaii. 

Aesthetically, the plant has tiny green leaves (which are evergreen) and green culms. What’s really special about this bamboo species, it has internodes that swell (which is how the bamboo species got its name “Buddha Belly”). They swell whenever the plant is under stress. This reaction may make it easier for beginner bamboo owners to pinpoint issues with the plant. 

As far as care goes, it’s relatively simple. They need regular watering (not too little, not too much) and they thrive in both sun and shade. 

An important thing to note about this bamboo species is that it cannot survive where there is substantial frost, so if you are living in an area where frost might be prevalent, you’ll want to pass on this species. 

All in all, this species is an awesome choice for privacy screens if you live in the appropriate USDA zones and prefer a plant with little required upkeep. 

Fargesia dracocephala ‘Dragon’s Head Bamboo’

  • Height: 8-12 ft (2-4 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.5 in (1.25 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 6-9
  • Hardiness: -10°F (-23°C)
  • Light: No full sun, better in shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Watering: Average

Fargesia Dracocephala is a good option for privacy screens. The plant is low to mid-height and boasts beautiful green culms and evergreen foliage. It has a weeping form, meaning that the leaves fall over as they grow. 

Dragon’s Head Bamboo is very cold hardy, withstanding temperatures below 0°F. It’s also wind-resistant and drought-resistant

Before bringing this species home, it’s important to know that too much sun is bad for Dragon’s Head Bamboo. Prolonged sunlight will burn its leaves, and these burns will be visible. 

You’ll love this bamboo species for your privacy screen if: 

  1. you find the drooping, willow-like leaves appealing
  2. you don’t mind taking extra care to make sure the leaves don’t burn
  3. you like that the species is relatively no-fuss
Fargesia Muriliae bamboo privacy screen in a garden
Fargesia Muriliae

Fargesia murielae ‘Umbrella Bamboo’

  • Height: 10-14 ft (3-4 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.5 inch (1.25 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 5-9
  • Hardiness: -20°F (-29°C)
  • Light: Part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Watering: Regular

Umbrella Bamboo is a non-invasive clumping bamboo with a canopy of evergreen leaves and shoots that are light blue/tan when new and a yellowish-green when they are mature. 

This variety is known as the cold-hardiest of all bamboos, being able to withstand temperatures as low as -20°F. While it does great in cold temperatures, it does not do quite as well in climates with high heat and/or humidity

This bamboo looks its best when it gets some degree of shade. This species is also wind-resistant and drought-tolerant

As beautiful as this bamboo is, it doesn’t take much work to keep it looking great. It’s a fabulous choice for your privacy screen. 

Running bamboo species for privacy screens

The only issue that running bamboos entails is containment. People desire a thin lengthy patch but running bamboo spreads into every direction. Therefore, you have to either use large planter boxes or a rhizome barrier. Once you do the initial installation, you’ll just have to do yearly checks and root pruning.

The good news about running bamboo is that they are generally more hardy, fill in quicker, and grow taller.

Bushy green bamboo plants as privacy screen - Phyllostachys Humilis
Phyllostachys Humilis (Source: WikiCommons)

Phyllostachys humilis ‘Scottish Bamboo’

  • Height: 10 ft (3 m)
  • Stem diameter: Less than 1 inch (2.5 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 6-10
  • Hardiness: -10°F (-23°C)
  • Light: Sun to shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained
  • Watering: Regular

Scottish bamboo is a short, but cold-hardy bamboo that is perfect for privacy screens in-ground or in containers. This species has evergreen leaves that grow from bottom to top. This will ensure the privacy you need with its hedge-like appearance.

Although we say the average height is 10 ft, P. Humilis can grow up to 20 feet if grown under the right conditions. USDA Zones 7 and 8 are the perfect location. In Zone 6, mature canes can reach around 8 to 14 feet.

Shoots start out in a reddish color, then turn mint green as they mature and eventually have a yellow-greenish color. The culms of Scottish Bamboo are quite thin with around 1 inch or less. However, they grow pretty dense even in confined places. This is what makes Scottish Bamboo a great species for privacy screens.

Once the roots are established, P. Humilis plants can withstand short-term drought and frost. The plant may take damage but it will recover in the next growing season. This species is really easy to take care of. However, if you place it in a sunny place, be aware that it will grow and spread faster because it loves the sun.

Phyllostachys decora ‘Beautiful Bamboo’

  • Height: 30-35 ft (9-10 m)
  • Stem diameter: 2.5 in (6 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 6-10
  • Hardiness: -10°F (-23°C)
  • Light: Sun to shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Watering: Regular

This bamboo is called “Beautiful Bamboo” for a reason. It’s got straight culms and green foliage. The main aesthetic appeal comes from the newer shoots which have a multicolored culm sheath. Shades of yellow, red, green, cream and maroon make the plant stand out. 

Not only is the plant beautiful, but it’s also just about as strong as a bamboo plant can be. It can withstand temperatures as low as -10°F. In addition to being able to withstand the cold, Beautiful Bamboo can handle heat and drought while still looking great.

This bamboo species is perfect for creating a tall, dense privacy screen. It’s a good choice for your privacy screen if you want a screen that has multiple colors, you live in an area that is prone to relatively extreme temperatures, and you don’t mind putting in work to ensure that the shoots don’t spread out of control. 

Pseudosasa Japonica bamboo plant with thin culms and dense dark foliage creating a dense privacy screen
Pseudosasa Japonica

Pseudosasa japonica ‘Arrow Bamboo’

  • Height: 18 ft (5.5 m)
  • Stem diameter: Less than 1 in (2.5 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 7-10
  • Hardiness: 0°F (-18 °C) 
  • Light: Full sun, part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Watering: High

Arrow Bamboo is one of the most widely grown species in the U.S. It is an excellent choice for low privacy screens. It will simply branch out low to the ground with its large drooping leaves. Pruning will give you an even denser hedge of whichever height you desire. The glossy leaves are greener in full sun and lighter green in the shade.

If you live by the coast, this is a great choice for you, too. Arrow Bamboo can tolerate windy areas, salt, and loves the sun. So, it is literally perfect for coastal and beach locations. It can also survive shortish frost periods. Some culms may look damaged after the winter but you can remove those and wait for the fresh shoots to fill it up.

Phyllostachys Bissetii Bamboo giving privacy along the property line
Phyllostachys Bissetii (source: WikiCommons)

Phyllostachys bissetii

  • Height: 20-24 ft (6-7 m)
  • Stem diameter: 1 in (2.5 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 6-10
  • Hardiness: -10°F (-23°C)
  • Light: Sun to part shade
  • Soil: Sandy loam, clay loam
  • Watering: Regular

Dark green thin culms with evergreen thick foliage provide great privacy for your garden. Bissitii can grow up to 30 ft tall, but often only gets around 20-24 ft. It has thin but strong upright culms, that sometimes get a bit leggy. However, the foliage is dense and all-year-round.

This cold-hardy runner can withstand low temperatures. It will grow well in planters as well.

Fresh red margin bamboo shoot, a fast-growing bamboo screen
Red Margin Bamboo shoot (source: Flickr)

Phyllostachys rubromarginata ‘Red Margin Bamboo’

  • Height: 40-60 ft (12-18 m)
  • Stem diameter: 2 in (5 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 6b-10
  • Hardiness: -5°F (-20°C)
  • Light: Full sun to shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Watering: Average

Red Margin is a vigorous grower, perfect for people who want to see fast results. It produces more culms per year than any other bamboo species. The name comes from the red shades on the sheaths of new shoots. The culms are actually lush green with long internodes. They grow upright and are solid, perfect for holding up the dense emerald-green foliage.

This species is hardy and can withstand cold dry winds. However, it grows best in full sun. Culms will become taller and thicker and the colors will be more brilliant than in the shade.

Zig-zag-style bamboo species with green stripes and magenta spots on yellow culms makes a beautiful, ornamental bamboo privacy screen
Phyllostachys Aureosulcata Spectabilis

Phyllostachys aureosulcata spectabilis ‘Zig-Zag Bamboo’

  • Height: 25-30 ft (8-9 m)
  • Stem diameter: 2 in (5 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 5-10
  • Hardiness: -10°F (-23°C)
  • Light: Full sun, light shade
  • Soil: Well-drained soil
  • Watering: Average

If you want something really special, a highlight in your garden, then get the Zig-Zag Bamboo. This rare bamboo develops a zig-zaggy shape mostly at the base of the culm. The rest of the culm is very upright. They have a light green color, sometimes with a yellow touch. There is a green stripe between the internodes. If grown in full sun, you’ll find red or magenta above internodes on fresh culms. This will disappear after a couple of months.

The leaves are pretty small but they have a “two-sided coloring”. The underside is a matte green. This seemingly two-tone colors will especially come out when the leaves swing in the wind.

Although Spectabilis is cold-hardy, it thrives in subtropical to warm climates. It can tolerate low winter temperatures. All the growth above the ground will die below 0°F but don’t worry. It will grow back in spring.

So, which bamboo species should you choose for your privacy screen?

Now that we gave you buckets full of information, it’s your term. We cannot take the decision off of your shoulders. But, of course, we still want to help you until you find the right bamboo for you.

Here are some questions that you should ask yourself before you pick any bamboo:

  • What temperatures do I expect over the year? What USDA Zone do I live in?
  • Do I have the time every year in order to control the roots? Are you willing to put more maintenance work in? No – Go for clumping species. Yes – look at both types and decides from appearance and hardiness.
  • Will you plant your bamboo in full sun, half shade, or full shade? How many hours of sun will you expect at the specific spot?
  • Is the spot where you’re going to plant the bamboo windy?
  • Are you going to plant them in-ground or in planters? Not all varieties like planters. You will also need to water them more.
  • What height would you prefer? Do you want to get privacy from neighboring tall buildings? Or is a regular height enough?
  • Do you want a very dense privacy screen like a hedge?
  • What should your bamboo look like? What colors would fit into your garden design?
  • What is your budget? There are rare varieties that you may want to avoid because it could get pricey.

By the way, don’t be shy with your pick. If you cannot settle for one plant, pick 2 similar plants that have the same needs.

Any questions left unanswered? Then leave us a comment!
Woman (Natalie) and man (James) in front of bamboo
About the Author: Natalie Schneider


  • Hi. I’m in zone 7 (Knoxville, TN) and seeking a 15’ high hedge to block the view of a neighbor’s camper. I like the idea of using planters since I only need about a 15’ run. Can you suggest a variety that will do well in a planter and provide that height and tolerate cold? It would be in partial shade location due to a fence on its west side. Thanks!

  • Love your informative style. Our Seabreeze is gorgeous, maybe 10 yrs in our yard, which is on the border of 9a and 8b north of Houston. Winters are getting much colder here, with single digit hard freezes for last 2 winters, killing all the culms. New growth begins in spring, so that’s nice. But is there a tall clumping bamboo that’s more cold hardy that grows well in our hot humid summers? It’s so sad to see the dead bamboo and we would like to avoid it. Maybe something more obscure?

    • Hi Carol!
      Among the roughly 1,500 types of bamboo, you can find a surprising selection of clumping species that can survive winters as cold as -10º or -20º F. The hardiest clumpers belong to the genus Fargesia. You might also look for members of Borinda, Yushania, Himalayacalamus and Chusquea. Also, if you want to learn more, here’s a list of our blog posts on cold-hardy bamboo.

  • Thanks for the reminder that the variety of bamboo is also important to consider when planning to buy bamboos for privacy screens. I’d like to add a lot more natural elements to the exterior of my home so I’m interested in having bamboo over there. Knowing that they can also be used to improve privacy is a bonus.


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