Reasons to Buy Bamboo
Bamboo canes are hollow cored and they're stronger than wood or metal. Used as support framing, and left in their natural shape, they add tropical flair for indoor or outside furniture groupings. It's a popular choice for tiki bars, obviously. Bamboo is a member of the grass family and it's one of the fastest growing plants around. The faster it's cut down, the faster it redevelops. So, there's no danger of running out (and it's wise not to try to grow your own). It's not just available as cane, either. Turned into solid panels or sheets, it's an upscale choice for TV consoles, accent tables, dining furniture, and even flooring!
Over time, some cracking may occur in bamboo poles. However, that won't affect its structural integrity.
Rattan is a Real Bargain
Rattan is another rugged choice with exotic looks. The difference from bamboo is that rattan canes are solid rather than hollow. Poles used in furniture construction are still tough as nails, though. As a clinging parasitic vine, it can be easily bent but won't break. You'll see a variety of wicker furniture designs with curved frames that are crafted from steamed rattan. This vine is put to other attractive uses, including wicker fibers and "peels," which are veneer accent panels.
Maintenance is simple with both rattan and bamboo. Dust occasionally and avoid placing furniture in direct sunlight or in high-humidity areas.
Photo courtesy 4028mdk09 under Wikipedia CC License