Shibataea kumasasa, also known as zig-zag bamboo. (Richie Steffen)

Shibataea kumasasa, also known as zig-zag bamboo. (Richie Steffen)

Great Plant Pick: zig-zag bamboo

This is one of the very best garden bamboos, and it won’t take over your entire yard.

What: Shibataea kumasasa, aka zig-zag bamboo, is one of the finest small garden bamboos. The evergreen, almost teardrop-shaped leaves are arranged in a zig-zag pattern along each stem. It is a compact grower and a very slow spreader, not becoming rampant in the garden.

Where: Can be planted in light, open, dappled, or deep shade, but zig-zag bamboo maintains its best color in part to full shade, providing and interesting texture to a shady landscape.

Size: Grows to 4 feet high by 7 feet wide in 10 years.

Care: Once established, it only requires occasional watering during dry weather. This is a very slow spreader that does not require a barrier to control its growth, and is completely resistant to bamboo mites, a common pest that can damage the foliage of other bamboos.

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