Thick hedge of Pseudosasa_japonica 'Arrow Bamboo'.

Pseudosasa Japonica ‘Arrow Bamboo’

An arrow should be made from a suitable piece of wood that is light yet firm and as straight as possible. That is why the Japanese Samurai prefer Arrow Bamboo.

Quick Facts

  • Common names: Arrow Bamboo, Japanese Arrow Bamboo, Yadake
  • Botanical name: Pseudosasa Japonica
  • Type: Running
  • Average height: 18 feet (5.5 m)
  • Average diameter: Less than 1 inch (2.5 cm)
  • Hardiness: 0°F (-18 °C)
  • USDA zones: 7 to 10
  • UK Hardiness Zones: H6-H2
  • Light requirements: Full sun to partial shade
  • Best use: Arrows and wood crafts, privacy screen, container, ornamental purposes, erosion control, windbreak
USDA Zones 7-10 highlighted in green on a USA map
USDA Zones 7-10

This fascinating plant has a rich history, being the preferred choice of wood for arrows in ancient Japan. But that’s just the tip of the arrow – this bamboo species has so much more to offer!

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll discover why Arrow Bamboo is one of the most widespread bamboos in the U.S. We’ll look into its unique characteristics, such as its glossy leaves, its great height, and its adaptability to various conditions, such as sea air. Whether you’re interested in using it for wood crafts, as a privacy screen, or even for erosion control, Arrow Bamboo is a versatile choice that can meet a variety of needs.

So, ready your quiver and let’s take a deep dive into the world of Arrow Bamboo!

What are the characteristics of Arrow Bamboo?

Arrow Bamboo, also known by its other common name Yadake, comes from the Poaceae family. Yadake is the Japanese name and literally means arrow (“Ya”) bamboo (“Dake”).

What about the words “Pseudo” and “Sasa”? Pseudo is a Greek word meaning false. Sasa is a Japanese species of bamboo. Arrow Bamboo is comparable to Sasa but its flowers only have three stamens while Sasa has six.

It is a persuasive and tough, increasing, evergreen bamboo species. It is the most widely planted bamboo in the U.S. It is also native to Japan and South Korea.

You will love the beautiful glossy leaves that are 5 to 13 inches (13-33 cm) long and almost 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Pseudosasa japonica leaves are bigger than other regular bamboo leaves. Its leaves are greener in full sun and lighter in shady areas. You can plant it in containers and keep it outdoors or indoors.

This is an excellent choice for low-growing screens. It will simply branch out low to the ground with its drooping leaves. Cutting to a node will create two culms sprouting out from one and generate a dense evergreen privacy hedge to whichever height you desire.

This is one of the best bamboos for windy seasides. Its runners can tolerate the salty air. It can grow up to 18 feet (5.5 m) high. You may also notice some clusters of green or brownish spikelets that may emerge anytime.

P. japonica is a running bamboo which means it’s one of the invasive types of bamboo. It spreads by wide-creeping underground rhizomes so it’s a good idea to keep them in check. Spreading happens vigorously if they are searching for water. This is the reason why it works well for securing creek banks and the like. It is considered invasive in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

How to grow Arrow Bamboos

Arrow Bamboo plants thrive well in rich and moist but well-drained soil. You can choose to place it in full sun or in partial sun. You may need to watch out for its invasive roots, especially in warm conditions and in the growing season.

Thick hedge of Pseudosasa japonica 'Arrow Bamboo' with the text How to Grow Pseudosasa Japonica 'Arrow Bamboo'

You can propagate Arrow Bamboos by division. Just divide the clumps in spring. Keep it moist until well- established. Other than that, they need little care, especially if you’ve installed a root barrier.

You may notice some weak or damaged stems in spring. Simply remove them to show off its best features. You may also choose to cut off any flowering shoots to restrain them from increasing.

This bamboo is virtually pest and disease free but watch out for some slugs from time to time. These slugs may damage some new shoots.

What are the benefits of growing Arrow Bamboos?

The straight and woody canes of Arrow Bamboo make excellent garden poles to support some plants and vegetables.

You can also cut it for your art projects. How about a DIY Japanese arrow? A birdhouse? Decoration? This bamboo is really perfect for any crafty idea you have.

Arrow Bamboos serve as year-round protection. It can be used as a windbreak on stormy days and it can give shade on hot summer days.

Whether it is for your garden or just simply a DIY craft, Arrow Bamboo is a great choice.

Photo source: Namazu-tron [Wikimedia Commons]

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


  • We have an area near wetlands that we are thinking about using bamboo as a privacy screen. The ground is very moist during the spring and mildy moist throughout the rest of the year. The wetlands pretty much dry up during the summer and fall. We want to plant the bamboo on the perimeter of that on one side. We live in zone 7 in CT. We are 1 mile from the Long Island Sound. I think running bamboo would be best to increase privacy as time goes by. We also would like to do a few clumping plantings too. What fo you suggest?

    • I, honestly, am unsure if wetlands provide great growing conditions because you have extreme drought in summer as well as too moist soil in other months. Bamboo likes well draining moist soil. I believe wetlands tend to be waterlogged when it rains (please correct me if I am wrong). This could cause root rot (worst case). I am not an expert for growing bamboo in wetlands so I might be wrong and it could be all great. Have you checked out these drought-resistant bamboos? They might give you other options as well. However, we don’t have many listed. So, my tip is, go to a nursery or check online shops for available plants and go from there. This way you know what you can purchase in the end.

    • You would do best to plant the native Arundinaria tecta. It is always better to use native species.


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