True bamboo needs sun. Whether it is direct sun, partial sun, partial shade or indirect sun, all true bamboo needs sunlight. Lucky bamboo, a water lily that looks very much like bamboo, can survive for very long periods of time indoors. However, lucky bamboo is not bamboo.
True bamboo is a tall forest grass that can sometimes reach over 100 feet tall. Because bamboo grows naturally under a protective forest cover, different species have different tolerances for sun. Shorter species may be less tolerant, while taller species may do well.
Other considerations for sun tolerance are local climate. In very dry areas, for example, bamboo may be more tolerant of sun than in a moist climate. According to the University of Maryland, bamboo that does well in sun or shade may do better in shade during hot, dry summers.
Consider where you will plant the bamboo when selecting a variety. Although bamboo can be very tolerant of lighting conditions, some varieties do better in certain specific lighting conditions. By matching the variety to your growing conditions, your bamboo may do better.
If growing bamboo indoors, they can sometimes grow well with adequate artificial light. However, make sure you provide adequate grow lighting for your bamboo. How much you will need will depend on the size and type of bamboo.