Bamboo shoots of fast-growing bamboo plants

What Bamboo Species Grow the Fastest?

Bamboo products are huge today, finding a place in the kitchen and home. This is an extremely durable and reliable material that you can even grow in your backyard. One thing about bamboo that many find interesting is that it tends to be one of the fastest-growing plants in our world today. 

You may be wondering which bamboo species grows the fastest and just how fast does it grow? In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records states that there are “certain” species of bamboo that can grow up to a rate of 35 inches (1 m) per day. Though it does not state the exact species that grows the quickest, it is more than likely a member of the Bambusa and Phyllostachys genera. 

There are actually over 1,000 species of bamboo available today that are classified as a grass. The exact speed in which these plants can grow deeply depends on the environment and the care put into the plant. With proper conditions, these plants can grow to nearly 100 feet! 

Exactly how fast does bamboo grow? 

This leads to the question of how fast bamboo actually grows and what you should expect if you were to plant bamboo in your yard. As mentioned, certain plants can grow up to 35 inches (1 m) in only a 24-hour period. This breaks down to 1.5 inches (4 cm) per hour! 

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To reach this quick growth, the bamboo has to be in the absolute perfect conditions. There are many factors that go into this bamboo growth, like species, soil, climate, and the growth patterns themselves. Growing these plants to immense heights and quickly takes some work and education. 

What makes bamboo grow so fast? 

Bamboo grows very uniquely and unlike many other plants out there, as it is a form of elongation. Many bamboo plants have a large cone at the base, which can be around 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm). This is a cone at the base of the clump, which pointy side’s up.

Bamboo shoots next to green buddha belly bamboo culms

This cone is very interesting as it contains all of the cells that will eventually become a new bamboo stem, which is referred to as a culm. In proper conditions, water will go into those cells and allow them to rapidly inflate. The cell walls do not allow the plant to expand laterally, forcing them to elongate quickly. After initial growth, you will see the side stems and leaves of the bamboo plant developing. 

To allow the plant to reach its full potential, all it needs essentially is the proper amount of water to fill its cells. Bamboo plants are very effective at doing this and are the fastest-growing plants because of this reason. 

Choosing the best bamboo species for quick growth 

As mentioned, bamboo has the world record for being the fastest growing plant in the world today. Though these species are from the Bambusa and Phyllostachys genera, there are several other bamboo species that grow rapidly. If you are interested in which species grow best and quickest, here are some amazing species available today: 

Tall timber Moso Bamboo forest
Moso Bamboo Forest

Moso Bamboo

  • Type: Running
  • Height: 30-90 ft (9-27 m)
  • Stem diameter: 4-7 inches (10-18 cm)
  • USDA zones: 7-10
  • Hardiness: 0°F (-18°C)
  • Light: Full sun, part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-draining soil
  • Watering: Regular

This is a very quickly growing species that can grow up to 10 feet (3 m) in only 3 weeks. Unlike other species, Moso plants grow thicker as they grow taller remaining five inches (13 cm) near its base, even while 10 feet tall. This is also a timber bamboo and is commonly used for food, plywood, flooring, furniture, and more. 

Greenstripe Vivax - Yellow culms with green stripes - is one of the fastest-growing bamboo species
Green Stripe Vivax

Green Stripe Vivax

  • Type: Running
  • Height: 40-70 ft (12-21 m)
  • Stem diameter: 5 in (13 cm)
  • USDA zones: 6-10
  • Hardiness: -5°F (−20°C)
  • Light: Full sun, shady areas
  • Soil: Moist, well-draining soil
  • Watering: Moderate

Technically speaking this is Phyllostachys Vivax. It is considered a timber bamboo and can grow quickly up to 45 feet (14 m) with an average diameter of 5 inches (13 cm). The plant itself is somewhat rare but is one of the most beautiful bamboo species available. These plants have green stripes on yellow canes and usually feature large leaves. 

Yellow culms of the Golden Bamboo
Golden Bamboo

Golden Bamboo

  • Type: Running
  • Height: 27-35 ft (8-11 m)
  • Stem diameter: 1.5-2 in (4-5 cm)
  • USDA zones: 7a-10
  • Hardiness: 0 °F (-18 °C)
  • Light: Full sun, part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-draining soil
  • Watering: High

This is a bamboo species you may have heard of before, technically it is Phyllostachys Aurea but is often referred to as the fishing pole bamboo. This bamboo is a great plant for your yard because it can create a good privacy screen as it creates a dense grove when untrimmed. These plants grow to around 35 feet (11 m), starting a light green color and turning gold with sunlight. 

Bamboo shoot of the Red Margin species has red outer edges on the sheaths
Red Margin

Red Margin

  • Type: Running
  • Height: 40-60 ft (12-18 m)
  • Stem diameter: 2 in (5 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 5-10
  • Hardiness: -5°F (-21°C)
  • Light: Full sun, part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-draining soil
  • Watering: Regular

This is a fast-growing bamboo that is great for privacy screens. It not only develops quickly in height, but also horizontally. The underground rhizomes of this running bamboo can get quite invasive, so you want to prevent an extreme spread. Red Margin can grow 40-60 feet (12-18 m) tall under the right conditions.

Yellow bamboo culms of the Phyllostachys Viridis with green stripes
Phyllostachys Viridis

Phyllostachys Viridis

  • Type: Running
  • Height: 30-35 ft (9-10.6 m)
  • Stem diameter: 3 in (7.6 cm)
  • USDA Zones: 7-10
  • Hardiness: 0ºF (-17ºC)
  • Light: Full sun, shady areas
  • Soil: Moist, well-draining soil
  • Watering: Regular

This is another timber bamboo that grows rapidly especially in warm climates. It averagely grows 30-35 ft (9-10.6 m) tall with culms that are 3 in (7.6 cm) in diameter.

Silverstripe Bamboo

  • Type: Clumping
  • Height: 10-30 ft (3-9 m)
  • Stem diameter: 2 in (5 cm)
  • USDA zones: 6-9
  • Hardiness: 4°F to 23°F (-5°C to -10°C)
  • Light: Full sun, part shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-draining soil
  • Watering: Regular

This is considered a clumping type of bamboo of the Bambusa genera. It can reach a height of 25 feet (8 m) at its adulthood. It gets its name from the white stripes on its leaves and occasionally on its culms. Unlike the other species mentioned, this bamboo only grows around 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. 

What are the best conditions for proper bamboo growth? 

Now that you know more about the rapid growth of bamboo and the fastest-growing species, you may be wondering what conditions lead to this? As mentioned, bamboo is actually classified in the scientific world as a grass. This plant is very fast-growing, however, like most plants it does require that you provide the proper climate and soil conditions. 

Bamboo thrives in moist but well-drained soil. They do require a large amount of sun each day and should be placed in a sunny area. These plants often need at least six hours of sunlight daily. 

As far as plants go, bamboo is some of the toughest out there. They can grow in almost any type of soil, even those with sand, rocks, clay, and more. If you want a plant that is likely to grow even if you tend to be neglectful, bamboo is a great choice. 

Soil conditions are crucial to bamboo growth

The only real thing that can affect bamboo growth significantly is to be planted in an area that has poorly draining soil or is consistently wet and boggy. When bamboo is planted in soil that is overly saturated, it can suffocate the roots and cause them to not get the air they need. This can cause the roots to rot, which can lead to the death of the plant. 

If the area you plan to plant the bamboo is overly saturated, there are some things that you can do to improve the drainage and increase growth. You can add sand or another granular material to the soil to improve drainage. 

If your area tends to be too dry, this can also be a problem. Clearly, you can water the bamboo, but this can be time consuming if you have a large area planted. However, you can also add compost or other organic materials to help retain the moisture needed. 

In which areas does bamboo the best?

It is commonly known that bamboo is native to the Asia-Pacific region because of the tropical climates found there. There are several other native species that are found in South American tropical rainforests, Central America, and even Southeastern United States. 

The fastest-growing species are found in warm temperate and tropical climates, which provide the optimal growth conditions for the plant. The tallest species of bamboo was found in the tropics and was reportedly 130 feet (40 m) tall. However, the tallest species found in Europe and the United States is between 65 and 98 feet (20-30 m). 

Bamboo plants with text: What bamboo species grow the fastest?

When should you plant your bamboo? 

Before you go out and purchase bamboo to plant in your yard, you may want to do some more research into its growth and care. If you are hoping to plant bamboo, you will want to do your research and be ready before Spring hits. March through June is usually the best time to plant your bamboo. Fall is a good option as well, but you want to establish good growth before Winter arrives. 

A bamboo plant that is well-rooted can be planted in the Summer, but you will need to ensure it is getting proper water during these warmer months. Those living in a mild climate can plant bamboo practically whenever they want, just ensure that the plants get enough water and adequate sunshine. 

Overall, bamboo is a great choice for those who want a fast-growing plant that is fairly easy to care for!

Which fast-growing bamboo species are you going to pick?
Woman (Natalie) and man (James) in front of bamboo
About the Author: Natalie Schneider


  • Hi, I’m wanting a fast growing bamboo my neighbor has put up a night light and it just is like a Walmart parking lot in my yard now so I have a crate that runs in front of my yard and then there’s a dirt road and I want to plant it between the dirt road and my Creek and I’m in zone 7A. Can you help me out?

    • Hi, Condy! I’d be happy to help you. Bamboo has a global record for being the world’s fastest-growing plant. There are bamboo species that grow rapidly – for example, species from the Bambusa and Phyllostachys genera. Moso Bamboo, Phyllostachys Vivax, and Phyllostachys Aurea are all species that grow rapidly. Check out some bamboo that can handle USDA zone 7 here! Bamboo is an extremely adaptable plant that can grow in almost any type of soil. Yes, you can grow bamboo in rocky areas too. However, bamboo thrives on aerated, light-structured soil that is rich in organic nutrients. Water is essential for bamboo growth, but the roots must not get soggy or waterlogged.
      Last but not least, make sure to install root barriers if you choose a running type so that the plants don’t leave your property. They not only grow fast upwards, but they also spread outwards quickly as well.


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