There are over 1,000 species of bamboo, proof that they are a highly adaptable plant capable of surviving in numerous climates. The species of bamboo native to North America are river cane, hill cane and switch cane. These bamboos favor wet climates and are frequently found in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 10. Some species of bamboo reach heights of 6 inches while others grow as high as 25 feet tall. High growing bamboo is valued as a windbreak and privacy screen. The hard stalks range in color from yellows and greens to exotic silvers, grays and black. Some stalks grow up to 8 inches in diameter, making them very sturdy despite the fact that they are hollow. Regardless of color or size of the stalk, all bamboo leaves have a greater length than width. The leaves are gentle and frond-like, providing a delicate contrast against the sturdy stem. From th size and thickness of bamboo it is often easy to forget that bamboo is a grass. It is an evergreen perennial that will swiftly grow to its full height, much like any grass. Bamboo plants are frequently grown in containers where their growth can be controlled and maintained. Frequent watering is necessary as is frequent fertilization, when grown in pots. When grown in outdoor stands, plants should be started in the spring. In ground bamboo requires roughly an inch of water per week after it is established. At the time of planting, apply a thick layer of compost but avoid fertilizing until the plants are established. Bamboo is evergreen but will drop leaves in spring while new leaves are emerging. Bamboo is a notoriously fast grower and running bamboo will send new bamboo plants up through its rhizome root system. Clumping bamboo does not spread, instead it grows in bunches like other types of grass.