Bamboo plants on a balcony

10 Bamboo Species For Balconies

Bamboo plants are a fun and versatile way to elevate the look of your balcony. They can help you replicate a zen garden, create a groovy tiki bar, or just create a much-needed privacy screen. The challenge, however, is finding the right bamboo species for your outdoor space.

The best bamboo plants for balconies are cold-hardy, compact, clumping species that can grow in containers. Fargesia, Chusquea, and Bambusa are great picks, but with the right planning and maintenance, you can even use running bamboo varieties, like Sasa or Phyllostachys.

Unlike standard outdoor gardens, balconies present a unique challenge to the bamboo gardener. Balconies tend to be small and are often covered, not to mention that they’re more exposed to the elements. This means you’ll need to look for bamboo species that are sturdy, adaptable, and unlikely to take over your entire space.

How to grow bamboo on a balcony

Growing bamboo on a balcony is similar to growing bamboo in a container outdoors. However, there are a few subtle differences when it comes to growing bamboo on a balcony.

The primary challenges that come with growing bamboo on a balcony include lack of space and exposure to the elements. If you have a balcony that is small (say around 4 x 9 ft), you’ll have to choose a smaller bamboo species that won’t quickly outgrow your space. Even for a larger balcony, you’ll want to avoid bamboo species that grow very tall, very quickly.

Bamboo plants planted in containers on a balcony

You’ll also want to keep in mind that bamboo grown in containers is more exposed to the elements such as heat, cold, drought, and wind. Hardy bamboo species are therefore a better pick for the balcony. Below are a few more things to keep in mind as you set up your balcony bamboo garden.

Pick the right container

Most bamboos grow rather quickly, even if they’re a smaller species. Make sure to plant your new bamboo in a pot that’s at least 2-5 inches wider than the pot it came in. Your container should also have drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging your bamboo.

Plastic containers work well for planting bamboo, as they are easily replaced should the expanding rhizomes break through the pot. It’ll also be easier to move or repot your bamboo if it’s planted in a plastic container, rather than a ceramic one. You can always place the bamboo in a larger cachepot for decorative purposes.

Note: We highly recommend pots that are not narrower at the top because it’ll be hard to remove the bamboo from these pots.

Water frequently and consistently

The soil in a container will dry faster than the soil in the garden. Depending on your location and balcony exposure, sun and wind can also make the soil lose moisture quicker. This means you’ll need to water your bamboo more often to prevent the roots from drying out.

You can also add mulch on top of the soil to reduce water loss from evaporation.


To prevent your bamboo from taking over the entire balcony, make sure to prune it regularly, especially after the second year. Remove any dead canes, and trim the long ones down to your desired height.

Pruning will create a denser, bushier plant, which makes a better privacy screen. Plus, it will prevent your bamboo from leaning over the rails and causing potential problems with your neighbors.

Repot regularly

Your bamboo plants can quickly become rootbound, especially if you’re growing a running variety. You’ll know your bamboo is ready to be repotted if roots are spilling out of the drainage holes or the pot appears to be bulging.

Check at least once a year if your bamboo plants have become rootbound. Repot them if necessary, which is at least every 2-5 years, preferably in the spring. To avoid any stress to the plants, aim to repot and propagate through clump division at the same time.

Weigh down your pots

Bamboo plants can become top-heavy and may fall over, especially on windy balconies. You can prevent accidents by keeping the pot in a cachepot. Decorative cachepots are usually ceramic or terracotta and one size up from the primary pot, or 2 inches wider.

You can choose a cachepot without drainage holes, but we recommend choosing one with drainage. This prevents water from building up in the bamboo pot and leading to root rot. Be careful not to overwater your bamboo so as to avoid any potential water damage on your balcony.

Bamboo plant in a container or pot placed in a balcony with the text 10 Bamboo Species For Balconies.


Pots and containers don’t have the same insulating properties as garden soil. Even if your bamboo is cold-hardy, freezing temperatures may permanently damage the roots. You can use garden fleece to insulate the pots during winter. If your bamboo is young, or not particularly cold-hardy, you might want to overwinter the plants inside.

Be patient

Bamboo plants need around 3 years to become established. Also, when grown in containers, they won’t reach the same height and width as they would in a garden. So if it looks like your bamboo isn’t growing as fast as you expected, simply give it more time.

Tips for picking the right bamboo for your balcony

Finding the right bamboo for a balcony, patio, or terrace can be tricky. You need to consider your available space, but also the bamboo’s growing habits and care requirements. Here are five tips that will make it easier to find the right plant:

  • Pick clumping bamboo species. They’re easier to contain than running varieties and require less frequent repotting.
  • Pick compact-growing bamboo. This will help you create a privacy screen or dense hedge faster. Plus, if you have a windy balcony, its compact shape can act as a windbreaker.
  • Pick an upright-growing bamboo if you have a small balcony. The cascading canopy of a Fargesia murielae may look stunning, but it takes up a lot of room. Meanwhile, a Chusquea culeou will help maximize your space.
  • Pick a cold-hardy bamboo. Look for species that can tolerate freezing temperatures and won’t mind spending winter outdoors. Otherwise, you’ll just worry about keeping your bamboo alive all winter long.
  • Pick a shorter species. Bamboo will never reach its full height when growing in containers. But to prevent any surprises, avoid species that tend to grow very tall, such as Phyllostachys edulis or Bambusa oldhamii. This is especially important if your balcony is enclosed or covered.
Bamboo plants that are grown in containers and displayed on a balcony.

10 Bamboo species to grow on a balcony

Now that you know how to set up a successful balcony bamboo garden, it’s time to choose which bamboo to grow! Here are 10 bamboo species that are easy to grow on a balcony:

1. Chusquea culeou ‘Chilean Clumping Bamboo’

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 12-15 ft (3.6-4.5 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.75 in (1.9 cm)
  • USDA zones: 8-9
  • Hardiness: 0°F (-18°C)

Chusquea culeou is a hardy bamboo native to Chile. It has thin, upright culms that produce short-stemmed, leafy branches from almost every cane node.

Thanks to its compact and upright growth, it’s perfect for small or narrow spaces. Chusquea culeou can tolerate full sun, but won’t grow well in very hot and humid climates.

2. Pleioblastus variegatus ‘Dwarf Whitestripe Bamboo’

  • Type: Running
  • Height: 1-3 ft (30-91 cm)
  • Stem diameter: 0.25 in (0.6 cm)
  • USDA zones: 7b-10
  • Hardiness: 10°F (-12°C)

Dwarf Whitestripe Bamboo is a great option for balcony growing thanks to its small size and unique appearance. It has upright, spiky variegated leaves.

Whitestripe Bamboo is a perfect option for growing in pots in order to contain the spread of its aggressive roots. Prune this bamboo in springtime to maintain a tight, compact appearance.

3. Fargesia rufa ‘Dragon Head Bamboo’

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.25 in (0.6 cm)
  • USDA zones: 5-9
  • Hardiness: -10°F (-23C°)

A vigorous bamboo species with reddish-brown culm sheaths. As it grows, it creates a compact screen of dark-green culms and elegantly bowing canes. Dragon Head Bamboo can tolerate intense sun and even a mild drought without its leaves curling. But, like all Fargesia species, it won’t grow well in very hot and humid conditions.

4. Fargesia scabrida ‘Scabrida Bamboo’

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 12-15 ft (3.5-4 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.75 in (1.9 cm)
  • USDA zones: 7-9
  • Hardiness: 0°F (-18°C)

An elegant yet surprisingly robust species. Its lavender-blue culms create a striking contrast with the orange sheaths, adding to its high decorative value. The culms grow in compact, upright clusters, adding privacy without taking up too much space. Fargesia scabrida can tolerate intense sun and freezing temperatures but is not suitable for hot and humid climates.

5. Fargesia nitida ‘Blue Fountain Bamboo’

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 10-12 ft (3-3.5 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.75 in (1.9 cm)
  • USDA zones: 5-9
  • Hardiness: -20°F (-29°C)

Versatile and beautiful, Blue Fountain Bamboo is a great choice for cooler climates. Thanks to its remarkable tolerance to cold, it can easily survive winter on a balcony.

It won’t mind partial or full shade, so you can use it to create an elegant privacy screen even if your balcony gets little natural light. Its culms tend to bow and arch outwards as it grows, so remember to prune it regularly.

6. Bambusa multiplex ‘Hedge Bamboo’

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 10-30 ft (3-9 m)
  • Stem diameter: 2 in (5 cm)
  • USDA zones: 6-9
  • Hardiness: 23°F to 14°F (-5°C to -10°C)
Young bush of bambusa multiplex.

The classic Hedge Bamboo is an excellent contender for adding privacy to your balcony. It can grow in containers, tolerate full sun, and even overwinter outdoors. With its slender, striped culms and lush canopy, it’s a fast-growing yet low-maintenance bamboo, effortlessly combining beauty and utility.

7. Sasa veitchii ‘Kuma-Zasa Bamboo’

  • Type: Running
  • Height: 3-5 ft (0.9-1.5 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.5 in (1.2 cm)
  • USDA zones: 6a-11
  • Hardiness: 5°F (-15°C)

Due to its shrub-like appearance and natural growing requirements, Kuma-Zasa Bamboo is a wonderful choice for a shaded, exposed, or windy balcony. Like all running bamboo, it can spread and quickly outgrow its container. The good news is that it doesn’t grow taller than 5 feet, so it won’t take over your balcony.

8. Bambusa vulgaris ‘Dwarf Buddha Belly Bamboo’

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 3-6 ft (0.9-2.4 m)
  • Stem diameter: 1.57-3.94 in (4-10 cm)
  • USDA zones: 9-12
  • Hardiness: 20°F (-7°C)

Bambusa Vulgaris is the dwarf version of the popular Bambusa Ventricosa. As with its taller cousin, Dwarf Buddha Belly Bamboo develops a rounded appearance in each segment of the culm, making it a beautiful addition to any balcony!

Dwarf Buddha Belly Bamboo is compact and low-maintenance, reaching a maximum height of 6 feet, but likely remaining smaller when planted in a pot. Plus, it can thrive in part-shade and will tolerate temperatures below freezing. If your area experiences extreme cold or wind, however, you may want to provide it some protection from the elements during the winter.

9. Pseudosasa japonica ‘Arrow Bamboo’

  • Type: Running 
  • Height: 18 ft (5.5 m)
  • Stem diameter: 1 in (2.5 cm)
  • USDA zones: 7-10
  • Hardiness: 0°F (-18°C)
Thick hedge of Pseudosasa japonica 'Arrow Bamboo'.
Source: Namazu-tron [Wikimedia Commons]

A popular ornamental, the Japanese Arrow Bamboo is an easy-to-grow option for pretty much any balcony. It can tolerate freezing temperatures, full sun, partial shade, and can also act as a windbreak. Despite being a running bamboo type, it doesn’t spread as quickly or virogously when grown in a container.

10. Himalayacalamus hookerianus ‘Himalayan Blue Bamboo’

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 12-20 ft (3.6-6 m)
  • Stem diameter: 1 in (2.5 cm)
  • USDA zones: 8b-9
  • Hardiness: 20°F (-6°C)

Himalayan Blue Bamboo is one of the most gorgeous species you can grow on your balcony. The culms start off as light blue, glaucous, or slightly turquoise, with red or purple accents. As they age, they turn a pale golden color. It doesn’t tolerate high heat and humidity but will grow well in a sheltered spot that gets partial shade.

Have you tried growing bamboo on your balcony? What issues did you run into? Let us know about your experience below!
Woman (Natalie) and man (James) in front of bamboo
About the Author: Natalie Schneider

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