Fresh green leaves of Sasa hayatae in kew garden

Sasa Hayatae

If you’re looking for a bamboo variety that’s similar in appearance and care to the popular Sasa veitchii, but even smaller and hardier, look no further than Sasa hayatae. Also known as Broadleaf Bamboo, this running bamboo can withstand cold temperatures and requires little upkeep, making it a great choice for beginner bamboo growers.

Plant this bamboo as a gorgeous and low-maintenance ornamental ground cover or low hedge. Keep reading to learn all about this bamboo and how you can grow it in your garden like a pro!

Quick facts

  • Common name: Sasa Veitchii ‘Minor’
  • Botanical name: Sasa hayatae
  • Type: Running
  • Average height: 1.5-3 ft (46-91 cm)
  • Average diameter:  0.3 in (<1cm)
  • Hardiness:   -10°F (-23°C)
  • USDA Zones:  5-10
  • Light requirements:  Full sun, partial shade
  • Best use: Ornamental or decorative
USA States map with the USDA Zones 7-9 marked in green
USDA Zones 5-10

Native to China and Japan, Sasa hayatae was named after Japanese Botanist Bunzō Hayata. Like the other varieties of Sasa bamboo, Broad-leafed Bamboo generally remains less than 3 feet tall, though it’s been known to get as tall as 5 feet in certain areas. It’s particularly renowned for its broad leaves and ability to provide easy texture to your landscape.

What does Sasa hayatae look like?

Sasa hayatae has a similar appearance to the popular Sasa veitchii. So similar, in fact, that Sasa hayatae has the nickname Sasa Veitchii ‘Minor’. However, there are some differences between the two. While smaller in size, Sasa hayatae is hardier than Sasa veitchii, making it a great choice for gardeners living in colder climates.

In the summer, Sasa hayatae leaves remain a dark green color. Like Sasa veitchii, Sasa hayatae develops cream-colored margins on its broad leaves as these die back in the late fall. These margins tend to be thinner on Sasa hayatae than on Sasa veitchii.

While certain examples of Broadleaf Bamboo have been known to grow up to 5 feet tall, you’ll typically see them under 3 feet tall. This is around half the height of the popular Sasa veitchii. In addition, Sasa hayatae has a somewhat fuzzy underside to its leaves, which acts as natural protection from pests.

Sasa hayatae leaves showing coloration caused by margin of leaf dying
Sasa hayatae [Photo source: Bambooweb]

How to grow Sasa hayatae

Lucky for you, Sasa hayatae is one of the easiest bamboos to grow at home! It’s best grown as a ground cover or low hedge, but it can even be planted in containers with proper care.

If you choose to grow Sasa hayatae as ground cover, you’ll want to consider installing root barriers approximately 2 ft (0.6 m) deep to prevent the bamboo from spreading into the rest of your landscape.

Light requirements

When it comes to light, Sasa hayatae is quite flexible. It’s shade-tolerant but will also enjoy full sun conditions. Ideally, you’ll want to grow your Sasa hayatae in a location where it receives about 4-6 hours of direct sunlight, but it will also do just fine with a mere 2-4 of sunlight daily.

Temperature requirements

When it comes to climate and temperature, Sasa hayatae is an excellent choice for people who want to grow bamboo but experience freezing winters. Sasa hayatae can tolerate very cold temperatures, as low as -10°F (-23°C).

People who love the appearance of the Sasa veitchii but live in a region where temperatures can drop below 5°F can instead enjoy Sasa hayatae as a beautiful and hardy alternative!

Soil requirements

Sasa hayatae prefers a moist, well-draining soil with plenty of nutrients. Adding compost will give your soil a nutritious boost. While they prefer moist soil, it should be well-draining to encourage strong and healthy root growth and prevent rotting.

Sasa hayatae is not particularly sensitive to different pH ranges, and they can withstand very alkaline soil to very acidic soil. Therefore, they’re very hardy and can grow quickly in various soil conditions.


Ideally, you’ll want to allow your soil to dry out between watering, but luckily Sasa hayatae is quite tolerant of moist conditions. To check the soil’s moisture level, simply dig down 2 inches and feel for moisture. Only when the top layer of soil feels dry and crumbly should you water your bamboo again.

If you have Sasa hayatae growing in a more shady environment, you’ll likely have to water it much less than you would if it were receiving more direct sunlight.

How to care for Sasa hayatae

So you’ve found the perfect spot for your Sasa hayatae, and now it’s growing like crazy? Or maybe your bamboo looks like it’s struggling a bit to establish itself?

Fortunately for the beginner bamboo grower, Sasa hayatae tends to be low-maintenance, but there’s still a few things to bear in mind so you can care for it as needed.


Sasa hayatae is a low-maintenance yet prolific running bamboo. Rhizomes spread through the root system, which means that the plant can become quite invasive if left alone. It would be wise to set up root barriers if you plant your Sasa hayatae directly into the soil to prevent it from completely taking over your space or even spreading into your neighbor’s yard.

You may also want to consider growing Sasa hayatae in a container to discourage it from spreading. To keep contained bamboo happy, prune back the roots regularly to make room for new growth.

Common problems and pests

While you likely won’t experience too much pest pressure with Sasa hayatae, they aren’t entirely immune to problems.

For example, if your area is rampant with slugs and snails, they may invade your bamboo plants, especially those at ground level such as young Sasa hayatae. To combat slugs and snails, you can set up a barrier of diatomaceous earth, which snails will avoid.

Uses for Sasa hayatae

You can grow Sasa hayatae to spread over tremendous ground in a short time frame, adding ornamental value and reducing the risk of erosion. In addition, Sasa hayatae can be cultivated as a short hedge for those looking for a low-maintenance bamboo covering.

When growing Sasa hayatae, make sure you have a plan for its inevitable spread by setting up root barriers. Otherwise sit back and enjoy the beauty and value that this bamboo is sure to bring to your yard!

[Main photo source: Flickr]

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

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