Bushy green bamboo plants - Phyllostachys Humilis

Phyllostachys Humilis ‘Scottish Bamboo’

Here comes one of the smallest bamboo species. The colorful culms create one of the best decorative screens.

Quick Facts

  • Common name: Scottish Bamboo
  • Botanical name: Phyllostachys Humilis
  • Type: Running
  • Average height: 10 feet (max. 20 feet)
  • Average diameter: Less than 1 inch
  • Hardiness: -10°F (-23 °C)
  • USDA zones: 6 to 10
  • UK Hardiness Zones: H7-H2
  • Light requirements: Sun to shade (spreads aggressively in sunlight)
  • Best use: Privacy screen, fence, container, culinary
USDA Zones 6-10 marked in green on a USA map
USDA Zones 6-10

Phyllostachys Humilis is the shortest bamboo plant. Its evergreen leaves spread from the top to the ground which makes it an excellent choice for a privacy fence. The shoots can be tweaked at the top to form a thicker plant for a denser hedge.

If you are looking for a carefree bamboo species, then Scottish bamboo is the best choice for you. Once it is established, it can already endure a short-term drought. It can tolerate temperatures below 13°F but it may experience slight damage.

How to grow Scottish bamboo?

Scottish bamboo thrives in well-draining and moist soil. It can also tolerate clay, sandy, or loamy soil. This bamboo can bear a dry period but not for too long. And it doesn’t like too much lime.

The bamboo’s growth is stimulated when planted under the sun. It quickly spreads through various runner system. You can grow it in pots on porches, roof gardens or even along walkways.

This bamboo is usually set as a single clump. It is perfect for small spaces just make sure its rhizomes are restrained by a barrier. Some experts even design it as a bonsai.

What are the characteristics of Scottish bamboo?

Scottish bamboo can grow above the ground up to 8 to 15 feet depending on your area. USDA Zones 7 and 8 anticipate adult size canes of up to 20 feet. In Zone 6 mature canes can reach as high as 8 to 14 feet. Mature canes of this bamboo are usually under 1 inch in diameter.

The fresh shoots have an astounding reddish color. As they grow, they start to turn into a brilliant mint green color. While they mature, the green color will start to show some “rusty” shades. Every spear-like leaf has a deep green on its tip and the bottom side gets a bluish color.

How to take care of Scottish bamboo?

Young bamboos may need additional phosphorus to promote a healthy root system. Apply the prescribed amount at the time of planting or throughout the initial growing period. Rooted plants can benefit from fertilization as well.

A soil test can interpret existing nutrient levels in your soil. Fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen will encourage green leafy germination. It is best to withdraw fertilizing late in the growing period because it can force lush growth that won’t have a possibility to harden off before the start of winter.

What are some Scottish bamboo benefits?

Scottish bamboo has tasty edible shoots. Fresh shoots can be used for culinary purposes like asparagus. Try the seasonal salad with bamboo. Bamboo shoots have high protein content, balanced fiber, and less fat. They can also provide essential amino acids, selenium, and potassium.

Photo source: Filostachys [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

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


  • Thank you for the well informed info..Where can I buy the Scottish bamboo?… Thanks

    • Hi, David! Glad you found this informative. You can buy Scottish bamboo from their official website, many other websites, and perhaps even local nurseries.


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