bamboo, snow

Growing Bamboo In Vermont

Bamboo, a versatile plant known for its numerous uses and rapid growth, can be successfully cultivated in the state of Vermont despite its cold winters. To ensure the thriving growth of bamboo in this region, careful consideration must be given to selecting cold-hardy species that can withstand the harsh winter conditions.

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map serves as a valuable tool in determining suitable bamboo species based on average winter temperatures. 

Choosing the Right Bamboo

When growing bamboo in Vermont, it is important to choose the right cold-hardy species based on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map and consider factors such as average winter temperatures and local nurseries or growers in similar climates for better adaptation.

Plant Hardiness Zone - Vermont

The best bamboo species for Vermont’s cold climate include Phyllostachys bissetii and Phyllostachys aureosulcata. These species can withstand freezing temperatures and are well-suited for New England winters.

It is essential to understand the growth requirements of bamboo before planting. Bamboo thrives in full sun and requires wind protection, so selecting a location with these conditions is crucial.

When planting bamboo, dig a hole twice the size of the plant and remove any rocks, weeds, or roots that may hinder its growth. Untangle the roots before placing them in the ground at the same level as they were in their container.

After planting, water thoroughly until saturated and mulch with a 2-inch layer to protect against freezing temperatures. Regular watering, especially during hot weather, will help maintain healthy growth.

Planting and Location

To successfully establish cold-hardy bamboo plants, careful consideration should be given to selecting an appropriate planting location that offers full sun exposure and protection from harsh winds. The best locations for planting bamboo in Vermont are areas that receive at least six hours of direct sunlight each day and are shielded from strong winds. Bamboo prefers well-drained soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH level.

Before planting, it is important to:

  • Dig a hole that is twice the size of the bamboo plant
  • Remove any rocks, weeds, and roots
  • Separate tangled roots before placing the bamboo in the ground at the same level as it was in the container

After planting, it is crucial to:

  • Water the newly planted bamboo until the soil becomes saturated and compresses around the roots
  • Mulch with a 2-inch layer of mulch to help retain moisture and protect against temperature fluctuations.

Caring for Bamboo in Winter

During the winter months, bamboo plants require special care to protect them from freezing temperatures and harsh weather conditions. To ensure the survival of your bamboo in Vermont’s cold climate, here are three essential winter care practices:

  1. Frost protection: Create barriers or windbreaks around your bamboo to shield it from harsh winter winds. Covering the plant with mini greenhouse tents or wrapping it in burlap can also provide additional insulation.

  2. Winter watering: Although bamboo is relatively drought-tolerant, it still requires adequate moisture during winter. Water deeply before the ground freezes to ensure proper hydration and prevent dehydration.

  3. Mulching: Apply a thick layer of mulch around the base of your bamboo plants to insulate the root zone and protect them from freezing temperatures. This will help maintain soil moisture and regulate temperature fluctuations.

Protecting Bamboo from Wind

Wind protection is crucial for safeguarding bamboo plants from the damaging effects of harsh winter winds. In cold climates like Vermont, where wind speeds can be high during winter months, it is important to implement effective windbreak techniques and wind protection methods.

One method to prevent wind damage is to create barriers or windbreaks around the bamboo plants. This can be done by constructing fences or using materials such as burlap, snow fencing, or shade cloth. These barriers help reduce the force of the wind and provide a sheltered area for the bamboo.

Additionally, laying down culms and covering them with hay or straw can offer further protection from strong gusts of wind.

Mulching and Winter Protection

Mulching around bamboo plantings in cold climates provides an important layer of insulation to protect the root zone from freezing temperatures and helps maintain a more stable soil temperature throughout the winter months. Using mulch as a winter protection technique can prevent frost damage and increase the chances of successful overwintering for bamboo plants in Vermont.

Mulch acts as a barrier, preventing extreme temperature fluctuations that can harm bamboo roots. It also helps retain moisture in the soil and prevents weed growth, which can compete with bamboo for nutrients.

When applying mulch, it is recommended to use a 2-inch layer around the base of the plants, extending outwards about 1-2 feet. Common materials used for mulching include straw, hay, wood chips, or shredded leaves.

Growing Bamboo in Containers

Mulching and winter protection are essential for successfully growing bamboo in cold climates. However, another option for cultivating bamboo in Vermont is to grow it in containers. This method allows for greater control over the plant’s environment and provides flexibility in terms of placement.

When growing bamboo in containers, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Container size: Select a container that is large enough to accommodate the growth of the bamboo plant. A larger container will provide more room for root development and help prevent the plant from becoming root-bound.

  2. Overwintering techniques: In colder regions like Vermont, it is important to protect the bamboo during winter months. Insulate the containers by wrapping them with burlap or bubble wrap, or move them indoors to a cool but frost-free location.

  3. Indoor care: While indoors, ensure that the bamboo receives adequate sunlight by placing it near a south-facing window or using artificial grow lights. Monitor soil moisture levels and water as needed, being careful not to overwater.

Growing bamboo in containers offers an alternative approach for those seeking to incorporate this versatile plant into their gardens while maintaining control over its growth and winter protection strategies.

Common Issues and Concerns

One important consideration when cultivating bamboo in containers is the potential for pest infestations, which can hinder the plant’s growth and overall health.

Bamboo leaf yellowing and winter leaf shedding are common issues that may arise when growing bamboo in containers. These symptoms can be caused by various factors, including cold temperatures, lack of sunlight, or nutrient deficiencies.

To maintain the health of container-grown bamboo, it is essential to provide adequate care and attention. This includes ensuring that the plant receives sufficient light, water, and nutrients. Regularly inspecting the leaves for signs of pests or diseases is also crucial.

If any issues are detected, appropriate measures should be taken promptly to prevent further damage. 

When it comes to growing bamboo in cold climates like Vermont, selecting cold-hardy varieties is crucial for success. Cold hardy bamboo selection plays a significant role in determining the survival and growth of this versatile garden plant. In order to thrive in Vermont’s challenging climate, it is essential to choose the best bamboo varieties that can withstand harsh winter conditions.

Some of the best bamboo varieties for Vermont include Phyllostachys bissetii and Phyllostachys aureosulcata, known for their cold tolerance and adaptability. These varieties have been proven to survive in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4-7, which encompass most parts of Vermont. By carefully considering the specific cold hardiness zone and selecting appropriate species, gardeners can ensure successful cultivation of bamboo even in colder regions like Vermont.


In conclusion, growing bamboo in Vermont requires careful consideration of cold hardiness and suitable planting locations. By selecting cold-hardy bamboo species such as Phyllostachys bissetii and Phyllostachys aureosulcata, gardeners can enjoy the versatility and beauty of bamboo in their landscapes.

With proper care and attention, successful bamboo cultivation in Vermont is achievable.