How fast does bamboo grow? Everything you need to know about this fast-growing privacy plant

Bamboo follows the 60-day rule

garden with moveable planter with bamboo, chair on the right, painted fence
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Bamboo might not be the obvious choice for gardens in the UK, but there’s a reason why it's becoming increasingly popular. And if you’re looking to add this plant to your garden, you might wonder: How fast does bamboo grow?

Whether you’re looking for a fast-growing privacy tree to block out your neighbours or want to create a zen garden, bamboo is the perfect option for you. Its upright canes and evergreen foliage make it a unique addition to your outdoor space, offering height, movement, and a versatile look that’ll work with any garden theme. 

But while bamboo is a great small garden screening idea, knowing how fast bamboo grows is something you need to have on your radar. After all, it can quickly grow out of control if you’re not careful. 

How fast does bamboo grow?

As well as being one of the fastest-growing houseplants, bamboo is also one of the fastest-growing outdoor plants. In fact, some species of bamboo can grow up to 4cm every single hour!

But what’s so interesting about bamboo is the fact that it grows a lot in a very short amount of time. Unlike many plants that grow from the spring well into autumn, bamboo only actively grows for around 60 days in the springtime. After those 60 days, it won’t grow again until next year. 

So, if you’re growing bamboo as a garden screening idea, it’s important to note that your bamboo screen should reach full size after around three years. This does depend on the bamboo you buy, though.

garden with moveable planter with bamboo, chair on the right, painted fence

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Craig Morley, a gardening expert from Budget Seeds, says, ‘The more established the bamboo plant you buy, the faster it will grow once it has been planted in the ground. This is because it will have a larger network of roots and rhizomes, which can be used to create more shoots.’

And while the growing qualities of bamboo aren’t an exact science, it is down to you to keep this bamboo under control. Individual bamboo canes typically live for around ten years, growing even more over the subsequent 60-day periods in the spring. It also spreads like crazy, which one family found out when bamboo invaded their home and cost them £100,000 in repairs.

Because of this, it’s important to choose the right bamboo for your garden. And if you’re lucky enough to have a large garden or you just want to block out your neighbours completely, running bamboo will probably be the best option for you. 

Bamboo in planter next to chair and firepit

(Image credit: Future PLC / Dominic Blackmore)

Running bamboo is best for privacy screens, as new growth (called rhizomes) will always grow horizontally from ‘runs’ that come from the main plant. It will spread out quickly and result in a dense, effective screen. However, running bamboo could be a nightmare for those with a small garden, as it can quickly take over a large area. 

Instead, it’ll be best to opt for clumping bamboo, which will grow vertically from the main plant and be relatively self-contained as the runs will ‘clump’ together. This means it’ll take up less space, and it won’t grow as fast. 

Bamboo surrounding hot tub

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench, explains, ‘As a general rule of thumb, the running varieties of bamboo will grow up to 5 feet (about 152cm) every year, while the clumping varieties of Bamboo will grow up to 2 feet (about 60cm) taller each year.’

Whatever option you choose, keeping on top of bamboo maintenance is key. You should aim to prune bamboo once a year to maintain a size that works for your garden and to keep the overall plant healthy. 

‘If a clump of bamboo is becoming too dense, you can thin out the canes in spring by cutting them to the base to let more light and air reach the clump,’ explains Craig. ‘The tops of bamboo canes can also be pruned to control their height, and this can encourage the cane to produce better foliage.’

Headshot of gardening expert Steve Chilton
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field and has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. Steve is a keen educator and loves to share this knowledge with others. He strives to simplify complex garden practices and encourage eco-friendly gardening.


How fast does bamboo grow UK?

This ultimately depends on the type of bamboo you have, as there are some varieties of bamboo that can grow up to 4cm an hour. However, this type of rapid growth isn’t common in the UK. 

If you have running bamboo in your garden, you should expect it to grow around 5 feet every single year. If you have a clumping variety, it’ll be more like 2 feet.

Does bamboo regrow when cut?

If you cut a bamboo cane, the cane itself won’t regrow. However, you'll find that leaves sprout from the top of the bamboo cane during its next growing season. This makes it the perfect plant for privacy screens, as you can maintain the height while also bulking the plant out with more leaves. 

How long does it take bamboo to fully grow?

A bamboo plant will grow every single year for around 60 days. As a result, it should take around three years for it to fully mature. However, it can take longer if it’s growing in less-than-ideal conditions. 

Steve says, ‘To ensure your bamboo is growing to its maximum height, you really need to ensure that you offer it the best and most suitable growing conditions. All bamboo varieties are different, so not every type of bamboo will require the same soil, the same amount of sun, the same care. Always research the type of Bamboo you have, in order to ensure the best care for it.’

For the most part, you should aim to grow bamboo in a sheltered but sunny area of your garden where they have moist but free-draining soil. Most importantly, you should avoid planting it in a waterlogged area of your garden. 

So, there you have it. That’s how fast bamboo grows! 

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.