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Cold Hardy Bamboo for Zone 4

The temperature in the USDA Plant hardiness Zone 4 drops to – 20 to -30F in winter. 

The Zone can be divided into 4a (-30 to -25F) and 4b (-25 to -20F) but for choosing bamboo to grow that`s not very helpful so let`s look at Zone 4 as a whole.

Normally when talking about bamboo choice there are 2 general categories – clumping and running. But for Zone 4 I have not found any clumping species. Maybe they exist but the list I have compiled consists only of running bamboo. 

Cold hardy bamboo species for Zone 4

Phyllostachys nuda – Snow Bamboo

Also known as Nude Sheath bamboo. An incredibly cold hardy running bamboo. It has dark green canes and bright green leaves. In Zone 4b there is a chance of it staying evergreen. 

A great choice for a privacy screen. Grows well in containers. Has delicious edible shoots.

Grows 6 to 8 feet tall in Zone 4.

Light conditions – full sun or part shade. 

Phyllostachys Aureosulcata ‘Yellow Groove’

A running bamboo. It has a yellow and green striping coloration. Some of the canes have a natural zig-zag shape. Forms a very dense privacy screen. Looks amazing as a container specimen. Edible shoots.
Expect it to lose some or all of its leaves most winters in Zone 4 depending on how harsh the winter is. 

Grows about 8 feet tall in Zone 4.

Light conditions: sun to shade

Phyllostachys Bissetii

A running bamboo. Has gray-green canes great for privacy screens. An incredibly versatile bamboo that grows well in a wide variety of growing conditions. Great for privacy screens,, hedges, as well as container growing. Expect it to lose some foliage during winter (some years it can stay green but not guaranteed)

In Zone 4 reaches 8 feet. 

Light conditions: full sun to part shade

Phyllostachys heteroclada ‘Purpurata’ – Water bamboo

Also known as Solid Stem bamboo.  Root hardy to zone 4. Will loose all foliage every winter but grow new shoots each spring. Great for privacy screens. It`s not suitable for container growing. 

What is special about this bamboo – it can survive in wet growing conditions, unlike most bamboo. 

Light conditions: full sun to part shade.

Care tips

When you choose to grow bamboo in a cold climate like Zone 4, there are things you should do to help it survive and thrive.

First of all, you must know what the plant hardiness zone where you live is. and then choose a seedling from species that are compatible with that climate.

It helps a lot if you plant bamboo in a sheltered spot where it is somewhat protected from cold winds.

Mulch generously, especially before winter. A deep layer of mulch keeps the temperature in the soil higher and prevents water from evaporating.

If yo`re interested in more detailed info, I wrote an article with 10 tips to grow bamboo in cold climates. Hope it`s useful to you!