Fargesa scabrida – THE ONE Clumping Bamboo You Should Own

by philinshelton on March 17, 2009

in Bamboo Plants

Fargesia scabrida

Why is this bamboo THE ONE you should own? Because it's the bamboo most likely to meet your garden needs.  Here are 5 reasons why. (Click on the thumbnails to view larger images)


  1. For starters, it's non-invasive.  Excluding zealous gardeners and bamboo freaks, clumping bamboos are the best choice for urban and suburban gardeners.  Mature, running bamboos require religious maintenance to keep them from spreading.  Even some of the clumping bamboos grow too large for the average garden.  F. scabrida strikes a balance between the floor space it requires, and the typical height required for screening.
  2. F. scabrida in full sun

    F. scabrida in full sun

    Its vase-shape offers a strong visual energy suited for a stand alone specimen in a focal point.  Or you can use it as an accent plant near a water feature, in an Asian theme garden, or to create tropical effects.  It's also makes a wonderful tall screen.  Versatile!
  3. It's easy to propagate. This is a "dream" bamboo to divide and grow on, because culm spacing is just right for dividing.  Also, new divisions have a high survival rate, have less leaf loss, and bounce back faster than most clumping bamboos.
  4. After winter

    It's the "evergreenest" of the temperate clumpers I grow.  Cold hardiness is reported to be -10° F. (around here,winters are much milder, with lows in the mid teens).  Other clumping bamboos that are supposed to be hardy to at least -20° F. (i.e. F. murielae, F. nitida, F. d. 'Rufa')¹ sustain leaf damage over winter, while F. scabrida remains virtually damage-free.  Go figure!
  5. If that's not enough, it has seasonal color.  Culms can be blue-black or red depending on the age of the culm and the time of year, fading to green over the growing season.  Sheaths are a rusty red fading to straw as they dry and fall away.

Growing Fargesia scabrida well

Like most of the temperate clumping bamboos, F. scabrida does best in rich, moist, soil.  It will grow very well in full sun, but morning sun and afternoon shade are ideal.  You can expect it to reach 10-12 feet tall if grown under good conditions in afternoon shade.  In full sun, you will need to water it over dry spells for it to thrive. This bamboo didn't make my Bamboo Short, Short List only because it has a somewhat limited availability. I am doing all I can to change that!  Check out my Bamboo Links page to find nurseries in WA and OR that sell this bamboo.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen July 17, 2010 at 10:48 am

I have a 22 ft long retaining wall with about 2.5 distance between the wall and my neighbors fence. I was considering planting a couple of clumping bamboo plants to increase the privacy. Is this too narrow a space for them? Or is it possible to plant two or three Fargesia Scabrida and just thin them out every few years?

Karen July 17, 2010 at 10:48 am

Oops…that should read 2.5 ft distance.

Jeff August 11, 2015 at 9:08 pm

I too am curious as to how wide is needed to grow this species. I live in southwestern Washington and want to grow a privacy screen. It will be in full sun throughout the afternoon, but will have a little shade in the morning. My wife wants to ensure that it is green year round and we both are hoping that it grows quite quickly.

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