Many bamboos are popular in cultivation as garden plants. In cultivation, care needs to be taken of their potential for invasive behaviour. They spread mainly through their roots and/or rhizomes, which can spread widely underground and send off new culms to break through the surface.

There are two patterns for the spreading of bamboo, "clumping" (monopodial) and "running" (sympodial). Clumping bamboo species tend to spread underground slowly. Running bamboo species are highly variable in their tendency to spread; this is related to both the species and the soil and climate conditions. Some can send out runners several metres a year, while others can stay in the same general area for long periods.

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