Mature Pseudosasa Bamboo Plants in front of a skyscraper

Pseudosasa Bamboo Plants

Last updated on May 26th, 2023

Bamboo grows fast, but it’s growing in popularity even faster. It’s one of the most versatile plants in the world and remarkably easy to grow. There are many types of bamboo to choose from, including the stunning and practical cultivars in the Pseudosasa genus.

Pseudosasa bamboo plants are a top choice for horticulturists and home gardeners alike. They can provide texture and color, create privacy screens, and enhance the natural boundaries of your garden. The Pseudosasa genus is hardy enough to grow outdoors in many parts of Europe and North America and it can even thrive indoors in large containers.

There are over 20 cultivars of small to medium-sized bamboo species in the Pseudosasa genus. Among the most popular varieties are Arrow Bamboo, Akebono Bamboo, and Green Onion Bamboo. Tonkin Bamboo is another popular cultivar of Pseudosasa bamboo, but it’s less tolerant of the cold and can get much taller than other Pseudosasa species.

Why grow Pseudosasa bamboo?

The name Pseudosasa comes from the Greek “pseudo,” which means false, and “sasa.” In other words, Pseudosasa is a genus that is closely related to Sasa bamboos.

The most well-known cultivar of the Pseudosasa genus is Arrow Bamboo. Historically, this cultivar was grown in Japan for its straight and stiff culms which were used to make arrows.

While you’re probably not going to grow bamboo to make arrows, there are plenty of other reasons to choose a variety of Pseudosasa bamboo to grow in your garden. Pseudosasa bamboos are notoriously elegant and are often grown to create privacy screens. Pseudosasa is also an excellent choice to grow as a potted bamboo plant.

Interesting facts about Pseudosasa bamboo plants

Arrow Bamboo is native to Asia and was introduced to Europe in the 1800s. Even though it has naturalized in parts of the UK, the US, and Canada, no wild (uncultivated) populations are known to exist.

Pseudosasa japonica is a running type of bamboo that spreads rapidly in warm climates, but in cooler regions its growth habit is clumping. It’s a hardy bamboo used primarily to create privacy screens. Unless trimmed, it will form a thick, dense bamboo hedge.

Pseudosasa bamboo species

There are over 20 cultivars of Pseudosasa bamboo. They are mostly small to medium-sized running bamboo plants that tolerate shade and spread aggressively. As shade-tolerant evergreen bamboo plants, they are a good choice for living fences and hedges in almost any backyard.

Here are our favorite varieties of Pseudosasa bamboo:

Thick hedge of Pseudosasa japonica 'Arrow Bamboo'
Arrow Bamboo [Image Source: WikiCommons]

Pseudosasa japonica ‘Arrow Bamboo’

  • Height: 12-16 ft (3.5-5 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.5-0.75 in (1.3-1.9 cm)
  • USDA zones: 6-9
  • Hardiness: -5°F (-21°C)
  • Light: Partial shade to full sun, will tolerate some heavy shade
  • Soil: Well-drained soils

Pseudosasa japonica is also called Yadake, which is Japanese for Arrow (Ya) and bamboo (Dake). This species of Pseudosasa bamboo is native to Korea and Japan and is well-suited for cultivation in temperate zones. It may overwinter in sheltered locations in Zone 6a.

Arrow Bamboo is a favorite for hedges and privacy screens because it’s more manageable than many other types of bamboo, growing to a maximum of 16 feet tall. True to its name, the culms of Arrow Bamboo are tall, straight, and dark green in color.

Glossy, green leaves grow mostly towards the top, providing plenty of privacy. The leaves are about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 1.5 inches (3.5 cm) wide.

Leaves of Pseudosasa japonica ‘Akebono Bamboo’
Akebono Bamboo [Image Source: BambooWeb]

Pseudosasa japonica ‘Akebono Bamboo’

  • Height: 15 ft (4.5 m)
  • Stem diameter: 1 in (2.5 cm)
  • USDA zones: 7-10
  • Hardiness: 0°F (-18°C)
  • Light: Partial shade to full sun
  • Soil: Sandy loam to clay loam

Akebono Bamboo is a variegated cultivar of Pseudosasa japonica. Akebono is a Japanese word meaning “dawn,” referring to the color of the sky at dawn.

Like Arrow Bamboo, Akebono Bamboo’s culms are tall, straight, and dark green in color. The leaves, on the other hand, are colored light green with white variegation, and they’re 5 to 12 inches (13 to 30 cm) long. At about 1.75 inches (4 cm) wide, the leaves of this cultivar are wider than many bamboo species of this size.

Leaves and thin stems of Pseudosasa japonica ‘Tsutsumiana’
Tsutsumiana [Image Source: BambooWeb]

Pseudosasa japonica ‘Tsutsumiana’

  • Height: 10-15 ft (3-4.5 m)
  • Stem diameter: 0.75 in (1.9 cm)
  • USDA zones: 7-10
  • Hardiness: 0°F (-18°C)
  • Light: Partial shade to sun
  • Soil: Sandy loam to clay loam

Pseudosasa japonica ‘Tsutsumiana’ is also known as Metake or Green Onion Bamboo due to its bright green culms that bulge at the rhizome internodes, resembling a string of beads or green onions.

While the leaf patterns of Green Onion Bamboo are similar to Arrow Bamboo, it generally grows shorter, making it a good size for privacy hedges. Its unique swollen culms make it popular with bamboo collectors.

Young stems of Pseudosasa amabilis ‘Tonkin Bamboo’
Tonkin Bamboo [Image Source: BambooWeb]

Pseudosasa amabilis ‘Tonkin Bamboo’

  • Height: 20 ft (6 m)
  • Stem diameter: 2.5 in (6.4 cm)
  • USDA zones: 5-9
  • Hardiness: 15°F (-9°C)
  • Light: Partial shade to full sun
  • Soil: Well-drained soils

Being native to Southeast China and Vietnam, Tonkin Bamboo is less cold-tolerant than other Pseudosasa species. Known commonly as Tea Stick Bamboo, it’s often used to make artisan fly rods and other crafts, making its wood highly desired.

The culms of Tonkin Bamboo are straight, green, and thick-walled, with prominent nodes. Its bushy green foliage and straight canes make it an attractive specimen that’s often grown in groves. Besides being a favorite for fishing rods, Tonkin Bamboo is often used in construction because the poles don’t taper.

How to grow Pseudosasa bamboo

With the proper care, Pseudosasa can be just as happy indoors as in your garden. If you live in an area with cold winters, try growing Pseudosasa in a large container. You can take it outdoors in the summer to add greenery to your patio or balcony.

Pseudosasa bamboo plant with the text how to grow Pseudosasa bamboo

Select a variety for your space

All of the cultivars in the Pseudosasa genus make excellent windbreaks. They’re mostly small to medium bamboo plants that are just right for a windbreak or hedge in your backyard. Pseudosasa is often grown as a privacy screen because of its sturdy growth habit.

Choose a variety of Pseudosasa that matches the hardiness of your growing zone. If your region is too cold for a particular Pseudosasa bamboo, you can still grow it indoors. If you live in a warmer region, you can grow Tonkin Bamboo, but make sure it has room to grow because it can get as tall as 50 ft (15 m)!

Try Pseudosasa Akebono if you’re looking for a beautiful feature plant for your garden. The variegation on this cultivar is stunning, and it will add stunning texture and color to your garden.

Choose a location

For Pseudosasa bamboo you’ll need an area of at least 3×10 ft (1×3 m) that provides adequate sunlight. While Pseudosasa bamboos tolerate partial shade, they grow best in a spot with at least 6 hours of sunlight. If possible, plant your Pseudosasa bamboo where it will receive morning sun and afternoon shade.

How to contain Pseudosasa bamboo

Pseudosasa is a running type of bamboo, so be sure to plant it in an area where it can be contained. Controlling bamboo with a physical barrier is the safest way to ensure it doesn’t escape and become invasive. Some varieties of running bamboo can send shoots up to 40 feet away in one season!

Running bamboo will try to escape from holes or seams in your barriers, so plastic is the preferred material for containing bamboo. Plastic doesn’t rot like wood, rust like metal, or crack like cement.

You can use a large container as a physical barrier or install a 30 mil. plastic barrier around your bamboo plot. Bury it about 24-30 inches (0.6-0.75 m) in the ground, and keep the area around your bamboo plot mowed to prevent sprouting.

How to plant Pseudosasa bamboo

Wondering where to plant your Pseudosasa bamboo? It’s extremely versatile and can be planted in courtyards, informal gardens, and cottage gardens. Pseudosasa plantings accent architectural design by adding depth and color to the landscape. For example, they look great when planted in a large wooden planter next to a hot tub!

Luckily, planting your Pseudosasa bamboo is fairly easy, whether you’re planting outdoors or in a container:

Planting Pseudosasa bamboo outdoors

Get ready for planting your bamboo by preparing the soil. Most Pseudosasa bamboo plants aren’t picky about the type of soil they grow in, but you can give them a head start by loosening the soil where you’re going to plant them. Add a bag of potting mix and break up large clumps in the soil before smoothing it out.

Plant bamboo rhizomes about 3 feet (1 m) apart in holes about 1.5-3 inches (4-6 cm) deep. Make sure the growth end of the rhizome is pointed up. 

If you purchased a potted bamboo plant, dig a hole deep enough to fit the container in. Then gently take the plant out of the container and place it in the hole. Backfill the hole with soil and press firmly.

Planting Pseudosasa bamboo indoors

Pseudosasa makes an excellent indoor plant, but it needs a large container to thrive. Choose a planter that measures at least 3×5 feet (1×1.5 m) for best results. You can keep your Pseudosasa bamboo trimmed if it gets too tall for your ceiling.

To plant Pseudosasa rhizomes in containers, follow the instructions for planting rhizomes outdoors.

Pseudosasa Bamboo Plants in pots along a white wall

How to care for your Pseudosasa bamboo

Pseudosasa bamboos aren’t very picky about their growing conditions, but they still need some regular care to thrive.

Watering and fertilizing requirements

Pseudosasa bamboo is fairly drought tolerant, but you should keep the soil moist until new plantings are well established. Water deeply, letting the moisture soak to a depth of about 8-12 inches (20-30 cm). Water again when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry to the touch.

Because of its fast growth habit, it’s good to fertilize Pseudosasa bamboo to make sure it has all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Feed the bamboo twice a year in the spring and summer with a high-nitrogen grass fertilizer to encourage green growth.


At least once or twice a year, remove weakened, damaged, or dead leaves and stems with sharp pruning shears. You can keep your Pseudosasa contained by pruning flowering shoots and cutting sprouts that try to escape their designated spot.

Some of the leaves of Akebono Bamboo have more variegation than others. Prune green leaves to encourage the growth of leaves with more variegation.

Pests and diseases

Pseudosasa is remarkably pest and disease-free. Some damage from slugs may occur, and deer and rabbits may nibble on your bamboo. Since it’s not a primary food source and bamboo grows quickly, it’s not usually a problem.

Which variety of Pseudosasa are you going to grow in your garden? Let us know below!
Woman (Natalie) and man (James) in front of bamboo

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