In New Leaf
In New Leaf, bamboo does not grow naturally in the town and must be bought from Leif when his shop is merged with Timmy and Tommy's store after the T&T Emporium expansion, where bamboo shoots are sold for 3,000 Bells. They can also be obtained by a villager giving it to the player as a gift. They can be sold at Re-Tail for 750 Bells each and 1,500 Bells each with the Bell Boom ordinance. Very rarely, bamboo shoots can also be received from villagers after completing errands.
Bamboo grows under the same condition as trees and cannot grow adjacent to another tree, object or bamboo. Bamboo shoots can be eaten. To plant bamboo, the player must equip a shovel and plant them similar to trees. After three days, the bamboo shoot will mature into a bamboo stalk.
Once fully grown, bamboo will produce shoots as cracks which can be dug up with the shovel. However, when the shoots are reburied they will instantly plant themselves and cannot be picked up without destroying them. Covering a certain area around a bamboo stalk with custom designs, buried items or etc. will render it unable to reproduce due to there being no place for the crack containing the shoot to spawn.
(Note: Bamboo will not breed if chopped during its growing stages)
Leaving a bamboo shoot buried in the ground for extended periods will cause it to grow unless its progress is stopped by either overpopulation or inability to grow due to walls, objects or trees. Large numbers of bamboo growing unintentionally is a concern, as Perfect Town status can be lost due to the overpopulation of trees and bamboo. Because of this, something to keep in mind when growing bamboo is the little known huge increase of its growth and spread speed in the Spring months of March through May.
In New Horizons
Bamboo returns in New Horizons as a rare plant that can occasionally be found on deserted islands through Nook Miles Tickets. It now spawns the crafting materials bamboo piece and young spring bamboo when struck with any type of Axe. Chopping bamboo gives progress towards the Rough-hewn Nook Miles stamp card and the Chop wood Nook Miles+ task. Bamboo can be imported to the player's island either by digging up bamboo shoots for planting or by consuming a piece of fruit to dig up a whole bamboo plant for replanting. It should be known that planting bamboo shoots is the only method for producing new shoots, transplanting the fully grown bamboo will not produce new bamboo shoots but can be cultivated for bamboo and young spring bamboo. Bamboo shoots can be harvested and sold, while the two crafting materials are used in various DIY Recipes.