An In-Depth Comparison: Black Bamboo Versus Golden Bamboo

Bamboo, with its tall, slender canes and dense foliage, has always been a popular choice for those looking to add a touch of nature to their surroundings.

But when it comes to choosing between Black Bamboo and Golden Bamboo, which one should you go for? Let's compare these two bamboo varieties.

FeatureBlack BambooGolden Bamboo
Color VariationBlackGolden
Growth in Sunlight✔️✔️
Growth in Shade✔️
Soil PreferenceOrganic-richDeep loam
Frost Tolerance✔️
Drought Tolerance✔️
Privacy (Base up)✔️
Golden bamboo vs black bamboo

Golden Bamboo is ideal for those seeking a solid base-up privacy screen and better drought tolerance. Black Bamboo offers versatility with both sun and shade growth but may require more maintenance due to its invasive nature.

For overall ease and aesthetics, Golden Bamboo has a slight edge.

Color Variation

The primary difference between Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea) and Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) is their culm (stem) color.

Golden Bamboo starts with green culms that turn golden as they age. In contrast, Black Bamboo begins green and darkens to a rich black over one to three years.

Growth Conditions

Golden Bamboo needs a frost-free period of at least 26 weeks post-planting. It thrives in full sunlight and prefers moist, deep loam soil with a pH between 5 and 7.5. Ensure the soil is well-draining and at least 36 centimeters deep.

Black Bamboo: Best planted in early spring, it can tolerate both full sun and partial shade. In milder climates, you can plant it any time of the year. It prefers soil rich in organic matter and requires it to be moist but not overly wet.

Growth and Maintenance


A fascinating aspect of bamboo is its rapid growth. A bamboo cane can reach its full height in just one growing season. After this, it won't grow taller. Typically, it takes about three years for the bamboo to mature, which means the culm has reached its maximum hardness.


To control the height, trim the bamboo canes just above a stem node during the winter. This won't make the culm grow taller but will encourage denser foliage growth. Annual trimming can help shape the bamboo as per your preference.

Privacy Screen

Due to its fast growth, bamboo is perfect for creating privacy screens. Whether you want it short and dense or tall and feathery, bamboo can be tailored to your needs. If space is a constraint, you can maintain a tall and slim bamboo hedge.

Considerations for Specific Conditions

If you are in an area with hot summers and cold winters, like Vancouver Island, BC, both bamboos can be a good fit.

They can tolerate temperatures down to around -18°C. However, they thrive in areas with summer rainfall. In such regions, Golden Bamboo might handle heat and drought slightly better than Black Bamboo.

Golden bamboo vs black bamboo

Which One Provides Better Privacy?

Black Bamboo has been noted to flop when wet, which might not make it the best choice for a hedge. On the other hand, Golden Bamboo's foliage starts closer to the ground, offering a more solid hedge from the base up. However, some users have observed that Black Bamboo can offer better screening in certain conditions.

A Word of Caution

Both Black and Golden Bamboo are 'running bamboos', meaning they spread their rhizomes underground, sometimes far from the original plant. This can make them invasive if they are not controlled.

It is essential to contain their growth, either by planting them in restricted areas or using barriers.


If neither Black nor Golden Bamboo seems right for your needs, consider other varieties like Bambusa lako (Timor Black Bamboo) or Bambusa chungii (Chungi Bamboo).

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