Some bamboo varieties make fabulous ornamental or feature plants. Your choice of plant depends on the effect you want to achieve.
For example, Timor Black Bamboo (Bambusa lako), Giant Buddha’s Belly Bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris ‘Wamin’), Painted Bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris ‘Vittata’) and China Gold are often chosen as feature plants, thanks to the colour or stripe on the canes.
For a wispy, tactile effect, Himalayan Weeping Bamboo (Drepanostachyum falcatum) or Mexican Weeping Bamboo (Otatea acuminata ‘Aztecorum’) – both clumping – have cascades of small leaves that hang attractively and may be enjoyed for their soft ‘feel’.
If you prefer large leaves, a small running bamboo named Indocalamus and the clumping Taiwan Giant bamboo are great choices.
Depending on the location, you may want a contained plant that has a lot more foliage higher up, creating a top-heavy effect. Arrow Bamboo (Pseudosasa japonica), Simon’s Bamboo (Pleioblastus simonii) and Green Onion Bamboo (Pseudosasa japonica ‘Tsutsumiana’) are all runners that can achieve this well.
Green Onion is particularly effective as an upright screen in a narrow bed, where overhang needs to be avoided.