Bamboo makes a perfect "green screen." To avoid introducing invasive plants in your yard, avoid the running types and instead purchase clumping bamboo.
When to Plant: autumn
At Their Best: summer
Time to Complete: 1-2 hours
Because the roots are not in soil and will dry out and die very rapidly, you must keep them moist before planting. Place a plastic bag filled with moss around the roots, and keep the moss damp until you're ready to plant.
Dig a hole larger than the rootball and break up the base using a fork. In the bottom, add a layer of organic matter, such as garden compost, and mix it in lightly. Add more organic matter to the excavated soil from the hole and mix this together also.
Unwrap the bamboo, gently tease out the roots, and carefully lower it into the planting hole. Keeping the plant upright, add the organic matter and soil mix, firming down as you go to make sure there are no air pockets between the roots.
Fill in the hole around the stems, making sure the plant is at the same level as originally planted. To do this, look on the stems for an indication of the previous soil line. Firm well and water.
Keep the immediate area weed-free while the plant is establishing. Water regularly during dry spells to ensure that the plant roots don't dry out. Thin out and tidy established clumps every two years in early spring, before they begin shooting. Cut any dead or weak stems down to ground level.
Some bamboos are "runners" and once established will send out roots all over the garden. These plants need to be contained with a root barrier made from a non-perishable material, such as rigid plastic or slate. Dig a narrow trench around the clump and insert your barrier. Cut and remove all peripheral roots, then fill in with soil.
Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010