Arundinaria gigantea

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: giant cane bamboo 
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 5.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers
Bloom Description: Rarely flowers
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Erosion, Black Walnut, Air Pollution


Best grown in consistently moist soils in full sun. Tolerates some sundapppled or light shade. Site in areas protected from drying winds. Thick organic mulch helps retain moisture and provides nutrients in summer plus protects roots in winter. If naturalization is not desired, rhizomatous spread may be discouraged via constructing soil barriers or growing plant in a very large plastic pot sunk to the rim.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Arundinaria gigantea, commonly called giant cane, is a rhizomatous running bamboo that is native to river banks, moist bottomlands, swampy areas and bogs from Florida to Texas north to Kansas, southern Illinois and New York. In optimum growing conditions, it will naturalize to form immense, dense, primarily monocultural, often impenetrable colonies or stands commonly called canebrakes. Canebrakes once covered large multi-acre areas of river bottom land in the southeastern U.S. from the Carolinas to Texas, however by the 1800s such stands began to disappear as the result of a number of factors including conversion of cane land to farmland, livestock introduction, river dams/management and spreading urbanization. Giant cane spreads both by creeping branched rhizomes which send up new aerial stems and floating rhizome segments that spread by water current to new locations. Hard (woody), rigid stems (culms) rise to 5-12’ tall, but will grow to as much as 25’ tall in warm winter areas (USDA Zones 8-9). Coarse, lance-shaped, medium green leaves to 12” long and to 1.5” wide are evergreen in warm winter locations, but will die from sub-zero temperatures further north. Within its hardiness range, roots will usually survive winter even if the foliage dies, with the canes producing new foliage in spring. Lateral panicles of purplish flowers rarely appear.

Genus name comes from the Latin word arundo meaning a reed.

Specific epithet means unusually tall or large.


No serious insect or disease problems. Somewhat aggressive in some environments. Rust and leafspots (fungal and bacterial) may occur.


Dense hedge or screen. Interesting plant accent. Backgrounds. Helps control soil erosion.