• Porpeang farm Thailand

Growing bamboo in Thailand: The best plant on earth?

Updated: Feb 3

Are you looking for what's best to grow on your land in Thailand?

Then look no further than the fastest growing plant on earth, the mighty bamboo.


So why should you be growing bamboo?

  • Its healthy - Fresh bamboo is high in vitamins

  • Green House Gases - Bamboo is fantastic for the atmosphere

  • Bamboo roots help to prevent soil erosion on your land

  • The cultivation of bamboo is considered a sustainable resource

  • Farming bamboo is less labor intensive than most other cash crops

  • Bamboo is more profitable than growing rice and sugarcane


Growing bamboo in Thailand makes sense.


CO2 - Firstly planting any amount of bamboo will help to absorb Thailand's high levels of CO2 and aid the reduction in harmful greenhouse gases.


Scavengers - Bamboos are brilliant scavengers. Because its roots don't grow deeper than two feet, it can quickly absorb rich nutrients.


Soil erosion - It is well documented that Thailand's rural areas suffer badly with soil erosion and the issue is getting worse. During the rainy seasons, the clumps help to slow the flow and reduce the chances of flooding. Temporary submergence of the root systems does not affect the plants.


Soils - Bamboo can grow in most dry-land areas, but it yields best when well-irrigated.


Water - Bamboo requires roughly the same amount of water as sugarcane, about 10-20 liters per day per plant.


Planting - Anywhere from 200 to 1,000 plants can be cultivated per one acre. Of course, this is dependant on the species you choose to cultivate and the suitability of your soil.


Irrigation - To reduce water and fertilizer consumption, using a drip system for both irrigation and supply of soluble fertilizer is recommended.


Preparation - Land preparation, soil improvement, obtaining a reliable water source, weeding, and laying a drip system, should all be taken into consideration when planning to farm bamboo in Thailand.


Yields - The harvesting begins in the third year with 30 tonnes per 1 acre achievable. Yields remain steady at 40 tonnes per 1 acre from the fifth year onward.


Profits - Farming bamboo is more profitable in Thailand than growing rice or sugarcane.


Labor - Growing bamboo as a farm crop is much less labor intensive than many other crops farmed in Thailand. Once the plants have formed a shady canopy weed growth is almost non-existent.



Bamboo in Thailand plays an important role.

There are almost 40 species of bamboo growing across Thailand. With its wide variety of uses, the bamboo is considered by many the most important plant in Thailand.


Because we see bamboo everywhere, we tend to take it for granted & seem to forget how much we rely on it in our daily lives. Not only in rural Thailand areas & villages but in the cities too.


Bamboo is the most iconic plant in Asia. Some Thai species grow to over 30 meters in height.

Some species form culms that are stronger than steel! That is why you can see bamboo poles used in construction work all over the country. Thai construction workers rely on its immense strength to build houses, apartment buildings, hotels, shopping malls, etc.


The Hill tribe people living in the north of Thailand say that they can see the bamboo growing. It turns out this is not that far from the truth.


Bamboo is invaluable for Thai people. They use it to build a whole house along with all the furniture & tools. They cook their meals with it & from it & it also has an economic value as it can be exported to other countries or sold locally.


The bamboo stems or culms are often used for beams & pillars, walls, floors, & roofs of traditional hill tribe huts, furniture making, making of household & garden tools, scaffolding, construction of rafts, craft-work, basketry, chopsticks, toothpicks, and paper-making.


Bamboo plays an ever-increasing role in the production of plywood & biomass production.


Bamboo can be planted to form a robust fence or useful windbreak, decoration & garden landscaping.


Bamboo shoots are an essential ingredient used in a variety of traditional Thai dishes. They can be cooked, pickled or soured.


Bamboo shoots are incredibly healthy for you. They have a high amount of vitamins A, B1, B2, and C. Simply boiled with a spicy Thai dip as a makes a delicious side dish.


You can use the fallen leaves of bamboo to make an excellent mulch. They help to retain moisture, suppress weed growth & provide nutrients to help promote new growth.


The varied uses of bamboo & the incredible speed at which it grows, combined with its strength means that Thailand's bamboo is an invaluable sustainable resource for use in construction.




Bamboo grown here on Porpeang farm Thailand


Dendrocalamus latiflorus - ไผ่หม่าจู (Phai ma chu) - Taiwan Giant Bamboo

Height 18-26m

Culm diameter 10-24cm

Clumper - Habit erect, slightly bending, lower culm branchless.

Introduced to Thailand from Taiwan for shoot production. A tall, beautiful bamboo with large leaves,

Growing - Easy and fast growing, likes moist soil, full sun.

Uses - Shoots delicious, commonly planted for shoot production but has ornamental value, too. Culms are used for construction.


Other popular species of bamboo grown in Thailand


Bambusa arundinacea - ไผ่ป่า (Phai pa)

Height 10m

Culm diameter 5cm

Clumper - habit erect, slightly bending, branching throughout, and thorny.

Widespread in South-East Asia.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soils, and full sun.

Uses - Shoots for diet. Culms for construction; solitary or group for a high visual screen, windbreak, or impenetrable barrier along boundaries.


Bambusa beecheyana - ไผ่ลืมแล้ง (Phai luem laeng)

Height 10m

Culm diameter 8cm

Clumper - habit erect, slightly bending, branching throughout.

Drought resistant.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, and full sun.

Uses - Shoots are delicious, emerging late, planted for commercial shoot production and biomass production.



Bambusa blumeana - ไผ่สรีสุก (Phai si suk) - Giant Thorny Bamboo

Height 18m

Culm diameter 15cm

Clumper - dense, habit tall erect, slightly bending, branching throughout.

A thorny giant bamboo. Old clumps form an impenetrable thicket, making harvest difficult.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, and full sun.

Uses - Grown for shoot and culm production. Shoots are delicious, culms used for many construction purposes. They are great for windbreaks and barriers along boundaries.


Bambusa burmanica - ไผ่บงหวานเมีองเลย (Phai bong wan mueang loei)

Height 8-10m

Culm diameter 4-5 cm

Clumper - habit erect, slightly bending, and branching throughout its length.

A bamboo bushy with small foliage leaves when young. Lower branches rarely with short thorns. Culms are thick walled or solid.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun, tolerates some drought and light shade.

Uses - Shoots are delicious and can be eaten raw. Plants for low to medium-sized natural hedge, visual screen, solitary or group planting. Culms for tools and light construction.


Bambusa glaucophylla - ไผ่ลายเงิน (Phai lai ngoen) - Malay Dwarf Striped

Height 3-4m

Culm diameter 1.5-2.5cm

Clumper - Dense; habit erect, bending, branching throughout.

A low bamboo with small variegated leaves for gardens. Occasionally reverts to the wild form with larger green leafed foliage & taller stems.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun, tolerates light or partial shade.

Uses - For a low or medium-sized trimmed hedge, or solitary. Suitable as a container plant.


Bambusa lako - ไผ่ดำ (Phai dam) - Timor Black Bamboo

Height 8-12m

Culm diameter 5-8cm

Clumper - habit straight erect, slightly bending, no low branching.

An excellent ornamental bamboo. Culms are almost black when mature, occasionally with narrow green stripes.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun or light shade, a sheltered site, and not exposed to high winds.

Uses - Grown solitary or in groups. Culms are used for furniture making and light-weight construction.


Bambusa multiplex - ไผ่จีน (Phai chin) - Tropical Hedge Bamboo

Height 3.5-5m

Culm diameter 1-2cm

Clumper - Dense, habit erect, actively bending or arching.

A low bamboo widely cultivated for every garden. Stems and foliage leaves are green; stems turning to orange-yellow in full sun but remain green in the shade.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun or light shade, tolerates deep shade.

Uses - For low to medium-sized (trimmed) hedge, visual screen, or solitary. It does well as a container plant.


Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonse Karr'- ไผ่สีชมพู (Phai si chomphu)

Height 3.5-5m

Culm diameter 1-1.5cm

Clumper - Dense, habit erect, and slightly bending.

A low feature bamboo for gardens. Green striped pink shoots become yellow or orange-yellow culms with random green stripes of variable width. Leaves are green and average size.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full or partial sun, light or dense shade.

Uses - For low to medium-sized, dense hedge, visual screen, or solitary. It does well as a container plant.


Bambusa multiplex - ไผ่เสฉวน (Phai sechuan) - Stripestem Fernleaf Hedge

Height 2m

Culm diameter 1-1.5cm

Clumper - Dense, habit erect, V-shaped, small leaves.

Culms are yellow with green stripes. A low ornamental bamboo with fern-like foliage might revert to larger leaf.

Growing - Slow growing, likes moisture-retentive soil, best in light shade.

Uses - For low hedges, solitary or container plant.


Bambusa nana - ไผ่เลี้ยง (Phai liang)

Height 10 m

Culm diameter 5cm

Clumper - Dense, habit erect, slightly bending, with no low branches.

Classed as a Thai ornamental bamboo, new shoots are cinnamon colored. Leaves are small, narrow, and dark green. Culms are straight and dark green may fade to whitish when old, thick-walled almost solid.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun, tolerates light shade.

Uses - For medium to a tall-sized visual screen, solitary or group, also suitable for a tall trimmed hedge. Shoots of good taste. Culms used for light-weight constructions and tools.


Bambusa nana - ไผ่เลี้ยงหวาน (Phai liang wan), ไผ่ทวาย (Phai thawai)

Height 5-10m

Culm diameter 4-5cm

Clumper - Dense, habit erect, slightly bending, no low branching.

A bamboo similar to Phai liang, but the color of the leaves and young shoots are light green.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun, and tolerates light shade.

Uses - Shoots delicious. High ornamental value for medium to a tall-sized visual screen, solitary or group, and possibly suitable for a tall trimmed hedge.


Bambusa oldhamii - ไผ่หยก (Phai yok) - Oldham's Bamboo

Height 10m

Culm diameter 7-10cm

Clumper - Habit upright to V-shaped, slightly bending above, branching throughout, short branches.

This bamboo has an appealing culm and shoot color. Bright green culms turn into golden yellow in strong sunlight.

Growing - Easy and fast growing, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun.

Uses - Shoots are delicious, in Thailand chiefly planted for shoot production.


Bambusa vulgaris - ไผ่หลวง (Phai luang) - Common Bamboo

Height 10-20m

Culm diameter 5-12cm

Clumper - Habit erect, slightly bending, branching throughout.

Growing - Easy and fast growing, likes moist soil, best in full sun.

Uses - Culms are used for construction and scaffolding; leaves for forage; plants for a high visual screen. Shoots usually not eaten.


Bambusa vulgaris - ไผ่เหลือง (Phai lueang) - Golden Common Bamboo

Height 10-15m

Culm diameter 5-12cm

Clumper - Habit erect, slightly bending, branching throughout.

A widely planted bamboo regarded for its ornamental qualities. Culms are bright yellow, randomly striped with dark green of varying width.

Growing - Easy and fast growing, likes moist or moisture-retentive soil, best in full sun, but does well in light shade, too.

Uses - For a high visual screen, or as solitary ornamental. Culms are suitable for temporary light-weight constructions. Shoots edible (with a bitter taste) which are esteemed by Vietnamese rather than Thai people.


Bambusa vulgaris 'Wamin'- ไผ่ น้ำเต้า (Phai nam tao) - Buddha's Belly

Height 4-5m

Culm diameter 10-12cm

Clumper - Habit erect, slightly bending, branching throughout.

A bamboo widely planted as an ornamental for its shortened, inflated shape of internodes on the lower culms. Removing the young branches on the lower culms accentuates this peculiarity. New shoots may revert into regularly shaped culms.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun or light shade.

Uses - Planted solitary or group. Culms are used for craftwork.


Cephalostachyum pergracile - ไผ่ข้าวหลาม (Phai khao lam)

Height 9-12m

Culm diameter 5-7cm

Clumper - Dense, habit upright, branches are numerous, short, and thin.

A beautiful bamboo which doesn't require much garden space. Culm sheaths are golden yellow on bluish young culms. A native of Thailand.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, sun, light or partial shade.

Uses - It is grown in solitary or group, best in the light understorey of tall trees. Culm sections are used as cooking vessels. Thus this species has been exploited across Thailand. Culms are used for light-weight construction and split work.


Cephalostachyum virgatum, Schizostachyum virgatum - ไผ่เฮียะ (Phai hia)

Height 10-12m

Culm diameter 5-7cm

Clumper - Dense, habit erect, bending over, branches are numerous, short, and thin,

An attractive bamboo with medium-sized foliage leaves. Can grow tall under favorable conditions. A native of Thailand. Also known as Cephalostachyum virgatum.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes a moisture-retentive soil, sun, or partial shade.

Uses - Planted solitary or group, best in the light understorey of tall trees. Culms are used for light-weight construction and split work.


Dendrocalamus asper - ไผ่ตงดำ (Phai tong dam) - Rough Giant Bamboo

Height 15m

Culm diameter 15-20cm

Clumper - Dense. Habit erect, bending, broad leaves.

Tall bamboo stems densely covered with velvety brown hairs. Shoots thicker than 20 cm, emerge black.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun.

Uses - Shoots delicious, widely planted for shoot production. Culms for construction and craft.


Dendrocalamus asper - ไผ่ตงเขียว (Phai tong khiao) - Rough Giant Bamboo

Height 10-12m

Culm diameter 10cm

Clumper - Dense, habit erect, bending, medium-sized leaves.

A tall bamboo, culms, and foliage in dark green appearance. Shoots emerge green.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun, can withstand some drought.

Uses - Shoots are delicious, widely planted for shoot production. Culms used for construction and craft.


Dendrocalamus barbatus - ไผ่ซางเขียว (Phai sang khiao)

Height 15-18m

Culm diameter 10-15cm

Clumper - Habit erect.

They are commonly planted in northern Thailand.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moist or moisture-retentive soil, and full sun.

Uses - They are grown for shoots and construction.



Dendrocalamus brandisii - ไผ่บงใหญ่ (Phai bong yai)

Height 19-33m

Culm dia­meter 13-20cm

Clumper - Habit erect.

Culm sheaths are covered with pale white hairs.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moist or moisture-retentive soil.

Uses - They are used for shoots and construction.


Dendrocalamus copelandii - ไผ่มันหมู (Phai man mu)

Height15m

Culm diameter 7cm

Clumper - Habit erect, slightly bending, medium-large leaves.

Growing - Likes moist soil, not drought tolerant; best to keep in light shade when young.

Uses - Shoots are used for diet, culms for construction, plants for landscaping.


Dendrocalamus giganteus - ไผ่ยักษ์ (Phai yak)

Height 20-30m

Culm diameter 20-30cm

Clumper - Habit erect.

A native bamboo of Burma and Thailand (in northern and western Thailand wild in the borderland to Burma).

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moist or moisture-retentive soil.

Uses - Culms mainly for construction and building purposes shoots for diet.


Dendrocalamus hamiltonii - ไผ่หก (Phai hok)

Height 12-23m

Culm diameter 9-18cm

Clumper - Habit erect.

It is widely distributed in northern India, China, Burma, and Thailand.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive or moist soil.

Uses - Culms used primarily for construction and building purposes, also for basketry, shoots for diet.


Dendrocalamus membranaceus - ไผ่นวล (Phai nuan)

Height 15-20m

Culm diameter 10-12cm

Clumper - Habit erect, slightly bending, lower culm branchless.

It is a tall, attractive bamboo with small leaves.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun.

Uses - Shoots are used for diet, culms for construction, plants for land­scaping.


Dendrocalamus sericeus - ไผ่ซางหม่น (Phai sang mon)

Height 15m

Culm diameter 10cm

Clumper - Habit erect and upright, bending above.

A tall bamboo, with dark green culms, and foliage. Culms are thick-walled, lower culms solid or nearly so.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun, perhaps somewhat drought-resistant.

Uses - Culms are used for house construction and furniture, mainly planted in Thailand for producing chop-sticks and tooth-picks. The plant has ornamental value, suitable for a tall screen.


Dendrocalamus sinicus - ไผ่จีน (Phai chin), ไผ่เป๊าะ (Phai po)

Height 23-32m

Culm diameter 16-30cm

Clumper - Habit erect.

From southern China. Wild or planted in northern Thailand.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moist or moisture-retentive soil.

Uses - For construction, beams, and pillars, plywood, paper-making, and landscaping.


Dendrocalamus strictus - ไผ่ซาง (Phai sang) - Male, Calcutta Bamboo

Height 10-12m

Culm diameter 5-8cm

Clumper - Habit upright, bending, branching from base up.

A medium-sized bamboo, with dark green culms, and foliage. Culms and branches are solid.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun, fairly drought-resistant.

Uses - Culms are used for any construction or household and garden tools.


Dinochloa malayana - ไผ่ดำเลื้อย (Phai dam lueai)

Height 8-12m

Culm diameter 2cm

Clumper - Dense, habit winding up trees.

A climbing bamboo from the wild.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moist soil, light or deep shade.

Uses - An excellent plant to add a wild-tropical ornamental feature to a garden with tall trees.


Gigantochloa albociliata - ไผ่ไร่ (Phai rai)

Height 7-10m

Culm dia­meter 1.5-5cm

Clumper - Habit erect.

It is widely cultivated in Southeast Asia.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moist or moisture-retentive soil.

Uses - Shoots are used for diet, culms for light construction, furniture-making, and farm tools.


Phyllostachys nigra - ไผ่ดำจีน (Phai dam chin) - Chinese Black Bamboo

Height 10m

Culm diameter 4cm

Runner - Habit erect, slightly bending, grove-forming.

It makes an excellent ornamental grove bamboo for warm-temperate zones or higher altitudes in Thailand. The stems become black when mature.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, light shade or full sun.

Uses - For open-space visual screen. Can be kept as a container plant.


Phyllostachys sp. - ไผ่เหลืองจีน (Phai lueang chin)

Height 8m

Culm diameter 4cm

Runner - Habit erect, slightly bending, grove-forming.

An ornamental grove bamboo for warm-temperate zones, or higher altitudes in Thailand. Stems orange-yellow.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, light shade or full sun.

Uses - For open-spaced visual screen. Can be kept as a container plant.


Schizostachyum brachycladum 'Bali Kuning' - ไผ่ทอง (Phai thong)

Height 10-12m

Culm diameter 5-8cm

Clumper - Habit upright, lower part almost branchless, branches short.

A highly appreciated ornamental, widely planted.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, full sun, tolerates light shade.

Uses - Solitary ornamental. Culms for craft and split-work.


Thyrsostachys oliveri - ไผ่รวกดำ (Phai ruak dam) - Oliver's Bamboo

Height 25m

Culm diameter 5-8cm

Clumper - Very dense, habit upright, slightly bending above, no low branching.

A common bamboo in Thailand, wild and often planted.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, somewhat drought-resistant, full sun, tolerates some shade.

Uses - For a tall-narrow visual screen, hedge and windbreak, ornamental solitary or group. Shoots for diet. The culms for light-weight construction and craft.


Thyrsostachys siamensis - ไผ่รวก (Phai ruak) - Monastery Bamboo

Height 10-12m

Culm diameter 5-7cm

Clumper - Very dense, habit upright, slightly bending above, no low branching.

Widespread in Thailand, wild and often planted.

Growing - Easy to grow, likes moisture-retentive soil, somewhat drought-resistant, full sun, tolerates some shade.

Uses - For small visual screen and hedge, ornamental solitary or group. Shoots for diet. The culms are used for tools.


Bamboo Facts

  • Bamboo is a grass, not a wood.

  • Bamboo is a flowering plant that belongs to the family Poaceae (grasses).

  • Bamboo holds the World Record for being the fastest growing plant in the world; the record holder is bamboo that was measured to increase in height by a staggering 121 cm in just 24 hours!

  • There are almost 1500 bamboo species that grow in Asia, Australia, North & South America & Africa.

  • Bamboo can grow on different altitudes & various climate conditions, but it prefers a tropical climate.

  • Bamboos are one of the most exploited plants on the planet.

  • Cultivating bamboo requires little effort compared to other crops.

  • Bamboo has many uses in the world of natural medicine.

  • The stronger species of bamboo supply the building industry.

  • The production of bamboo furniture & decorative objects is commonplace the world over.

  • Bamboo is an essential ingredient of numerous delicious Asian meals.

  • The largest of all the bamboo species can reach over 1300 feet in height.

  • Bamboo can grow either as a woody, tall plant or as a shorter, herbaceous plant.

  • The individual stems of bamboo are called culms. Culms rise from the underground rhizome & emerge from the ground fully developed.

  • The flowers of bamboo are seldom seen. Some species of bamboo only develop their flowers after 65 - 120 years. A surprising fact about flowering bamboo is that all the plants of one species develop their flowers at the same time (this is regardless of where they are growing in the world.)

  • Most bamboo develops from the rhizome but can reproduce from the seeds arranged in clusters at the end of the branches.

  • Unlike many other woody plants, bamboo reaches maturity after just 3 - 5 years.

  • Bamboo releases an incredible 30% more oxygen into the atmosphere & absorbs more carbon dioxide compared to other plants.

  • Bamboo significantly decreases the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere & helps to clean the air.

  • Bamboo does not require fertilizers to attain its optimal growth.

  • When bamboos shed their leaves, they quickly decompose & provide all the needed nutrients to support new growth.

  • Bamboo has a strong & broad root system which holds the soil stable & helps to prevent erosion of the ground.

  • Bamboo is commonly used throughout Asian cuisine, being served as a salad or in the form of soups.

  • Young shoots of bamboo contain a toxin called taxiphyllin. Because of this, bamboo needs to be cooked at a high temperature to destroy the toxin before consumption.

  • Numerous animals on the planet use bamboo in their diet. The Panda's diet is based solely on bamboo, while the mountain gorilla & lemurs of Madagascar eat bamboo to enrich their daily intake.

  • Bamboo is used in natural medicine to treat infections & to accelerate healing of cuts & abrasions.

  • Bamboo has a stronger structure than steel! For this reason, bamboo is often used in the construction industry.

  • It is commonplace to see bamboo used in the manufacture of floors, furniture, house walls, skateboards & hats.

  • Bamboo can live for over 120 years growing in the wild.


How to prepare bamboo shoots


Select bamboo shoots that are firm and heavy, with a firm, fresh outer skin.

Peel the tough outer skin off.

Cut away the tough inedible root end.

Put in a deep, heavy pot and cover with water (you can use rinsing water if you wash your rice.)

Bring the water to a rolling boil, and simmer for at least 30 minutes (until it is tender enough to poke a fork in.)

Let the shoots cool in the water.

Any outer skin that remains should now peel off with ease. Your fresh bamboo shoots are now ready to use.

You can store them in air-tight containers or bags with some of the cooking water and some added salt.



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