latifolius is the taller dark clump on the left

Indocalamus Latifolius ‘Broadleaf Bamboo’

Indocalamus latifolius, which is also known as Broadleaf Bamboo, is an excellent evergreen bamboo species that is known for having huge leaves. It tolerates low light levels more than other bamboo species – perfect for indoors.

Quick facts

  • Common name: Broadleaf Bamboo
  • Botanical name: Indocalamus latifolius 
  • Type: Running 
  • Average height: 6-8 ft (2-3m)
  • Average diameter: 0.5 in (1.3cm)
  • Hardiness: 0°F (-18°C)
  • USDA Zones: 7-10
  • UK Hardiness Zones: H6-H2
  • Light requirements: Light sun to full shade 
  • Best use: Erosion control, privacy screen, indoor houseplant
USDA Zones 7-10 highlighted in green on a USA map
USDA Zones 7-10

Indocalamus latifolius is a beautiful running bamboo native to China, Vietnam, and Japan. This species of bamboo makes an outstanding short privacy screen. It produces a lot of canes that form a solid privacy barrier.

If you want an impressive tropical-looking bamboo that can be grown indoors, this is an amazing option you should consider.

What does Indocalamus latifolius look like?

This species is a small evergreen bamboo that spreads slowly for being a running bamboo. It has bright, glossy canes with big lance-shaped, tropical-looking leaves. The leaves get up to 12 inches long and 2 inches wide when mature. The canes are usually grey-green and hairy on the bottom.

This amazing bamboo forms a dense bamboo screen that can get up to 8 feet tall at maturity. It initially forms clumps, and then spreads out to form a larger groove.

What are the best growing conditions for Broadleaf Bamboo?

Like all plants, there are optimal growing conditions. Once met, these plants can grow to their full potential and even potentially flower. Though keep in mind that flowering only happens in intervals, and sometimes the plant completely dies after it blooms.

Temperature requirements

Indocalamus latifolius is not a hardy species. It doesn’t grow well in very cold regions. It can tolerate temperatures down to 0°F (-18°C) and does well in USDA zones 7-10.

Light requirements

This bamboo can be grown in full shade or sun, but it grows best in shaded areas. This quick-growing plant does not require much light due to its large leaves. It grows very well under trees and in patios.

Soil requirement

Indocalamus latifolius can survive in most soil types, including heavy clay soil. It thrives in moderately fertile humus-rich loamy soil. This bamboo will grow in most pH levels. If you’re growing this bamboo in a container, use loam-based compost.

Just like most bamboo plants, it needs moist, well-draining soils. Especially in growing seasons. Make sure to add a layer of mulch when the temperature is cold. This is very important for young bamboo plants.

Placement options

If you’re looking for a beautiful bamboo plant that’ll grow well on your patio or porch, this bamboo is for you. Unlike other bamboos, it’s quite easy to grow indoors. You’ll need to grow it in a tall pot in order to reveal its unique leaves.

Planting Indocalamus latifolius

This bamboo grows in open forests on mountain slopes. It prefers cool temperatures and it sets flowers at intervals of many years.

It can get up to 8 feet after 10 years if given the best growing conditions. It can be grown both in pots and in the ground.

Usually, this species is weakened when they flower. As most of its energy is used to produce seeds. Most of these plants die after flowering, but they may recover after a few years if left alone.

If you are looking to grow a privacy screen, you’ll need to space your plant adequately. This will encourage growth. Indocalamus latifolius spreads slowly, but it can be invasive over time. You’ll need to control your bamboo to prevent it from spreading more than you want it to.

How to care for Broadleaf Bamboo

Indocalamus latifolius requires fertilizing. You’ll need to feed this bamboo monthly, especially if you’re growing them in containers.

Make sure to prune your bamboo. In Spring, remove the old canes to let the new ones appear.


Indocalamus latifolius needs regular watering. Young plants in their first two years should be watered deeply and ensure that your soil is well-draining.

Do not overwater your mature bamboo plants. This plant requires just an inch of water weekly, especially in growing seasons. If you’ve planted your bamboo under full sun, make sure your soil is always moist.

Pests and diseases

Indocalamus latifolius is resistant to most pests and diseases, particularly honey fungus. Even so, the newly emerging shoots can be infected by snails and slugs.

Aphids can also cause serious problems for this bamboo. They are sap-sucking pests that can stunt the growth of your bamboo. If you find aphids on your bamboo, you should squash them or use organic sprays.


Indocalamus latifolius can be grown from seeds or from cuttings. However, these seeds are very rare. If you do find the seeds, you can follow the guidelines below.

You’ll need to sow your seeds in moist soil and a shaded environment. If your seed is of good quality, and you’ve planted in good conditions, germination should occur within 3-6 months or earlier.

Once you notice that the root systems are large enough, you can plant them in separate pots. You need to report your bamboo every few years to keep the root system and plant healthy.

When you repot the plant, carefully trim the roots with clean shears. This way they will have more space to develop and you won’t have to report that quickly.

Uses of Indocalamus latifolius

This bamboo has large leaves that make it stand out as a tropical bamboo with several uses. It makes an excellent privacy screen, revealing beautiful canes. Some bamboo lovers use them as a specimen plant in a big garden.

It also can make a perfect indoor house plant that’ll not require much attention to grow. This species can also be used as a pathway plant for a driveway.

In China, its solid canes are used for chopsticks and brushes. The large leaves are also used as a wrap for certain meals too!

[Photo source: BambooWeb]

Woman (Natalie) and man (James) in front of bamboo
About the Author: Natalie Schneider

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