Where Bamboo Grows
The woody grass known as bamboo is generally thought to be a plant more associated with growing in places like Southeast Asia. But truthfully, bamboo can grow just about anywhere. Depending on what species of bamboo is trying to sprout, it can grow only in sub-tropic areas or in places as cold as Iowa.
Before widespread urban sprawl, bamboo grew on every continent except Antarctica and Europe. The most common place for bamboo to grow is in Southeast Asia and it has been growing there for millions of years. Even America has native bamboo. Over five million acres of land in the American Southeast were once covered in native bamboo called Cane Break. It wasn't until the migration movements of the early 19th century by settlers that any of the bamboo that was growing was destroyed because it grew in the good soil that was then turned into farms.
It is hypothesized that the first humans to populate the areas of Southeast Asia relied on bamboo instead of stone as the main building material. The number of artifacts found from that area indicates that stone wasn't nearly as popular as bamboo in that part of the world at that time. But now it is possible for bamboo to grow almost anywhere.
Grows all over the World
Between 1,200 and 1,500 species of bamboo have been found thus far and they grow all over the world, depending on what kind of climates the particular species can tolerate. There are species of bamboo that can survive winter weather up to -20° F and still grow again in the spring during the normal germination periods. Most commonly, bamboo is found in places that qualify as tropical, sub-tropical, or temperate zones. These are places like Southeast Asia, South America, and the Southeast portion of the United States. Some species of bamboo have been known to grow well indoors in less temperate parts of the world. These species should be hardier types, such as those which can grown in areas that are considered temperate, or zones 4 through 8 in gardening terms.
Many species of bamboo have become staples in gardens and landscaping for gardeners that are trying to achieve a more unique look. The woody grass can be used as a backdrop for some general landscaping or as a more modern look for a smaller garden. Many gardeners like bamboo because it reaches its full potential in the spring before many other types of plants have even budded and bamboo returns every year until its life cycle ends, which is different for each type of bamboo.
The only problem that some people have with bamboo is the roots, or rhizomes of the plant. They can grow so quickly that it can be difficult to keep the bamboo plant from taking over the entire garden or landscape. The rhizomes are also difficult to remove, generally requiring the digging up of the rhizomes and then cutting them apart with an axe or other such gardening tool. Bamboo has a wide range of growing areas which is seen by the massive amounts of bamboo forests still standing in Southeast Asia. Whether it is Africa or North America, there are species of native bamboo that will grow in those parts of the world and can be transplanted to gardens anywhere.