Fellow garden blogger Kate from the very popular and very well written " kate smudges in earth, paint and life" and I somehow got on the topic of bamboo. She commented on one of my latest posts, "It's doubtful there is a bamboo that I could grow in my garden," Kate, hails from Saskatchewan, Canada, rightfully so with extreme cold and snow, held this reasonable assumption that bamboo was out of the question. But, in all my bamboo geekdom, replied back "oh contraire" and offered some suggestions. Kate then replied back expressing interest. So knowing a fair amount of fellow bloggers and loyal readers hail from regions of the U.S. and Canada that have extereme winters, I thought why not share this post with all.
OK, the toughest family of clumping bamboos that I have in my collection are the Fargesias. Fargesias come from the the alpine conifer forests of west and southwest China. These are beautiful in delicate sense (in appearance only) and some can be found in mountain elevations as far up as 8,000 feet. On average, these bamboo can take -20 f per the respected American Bamboo Societies source list. The toughest of them all is Fargesia dracocepela (also known as Dragon's Head Bamboo) that lists a minimum temperature at -23 f. Pictured above is the closely related White Dragon Bamboo (Fargesia dracocephela "White Dragon") growing in my garden.
For running varieties, here are some tough cold tolerant varieties: