- Black Bamboo
- Cold Hardy and Ultra-Chic
- Planting & Care
- What To Know Before You Buy Black Bamboo
- 2 Major Differences
- Choosing and controlling bamboo in your garden
- How to stop a bamboo invasion and other surprising facts about roots
- Will bamboo plants grow indoors?
- How to Grow Bamboo as a Houseplant
- Growing Tips
- Best Bamboo Varieties to Try Indoors
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Cold Hardy and Ultra-Chic
Why Black Bamboo Plants?
Defined by its unique, fast-growing appearance and cold-hardy strength, Black Bamboo is a well-curated choice for indoors or outdoors. And since it’s low-maintenance and hassle-free, it’s perfect for beginner gardeners.
But what sets the Black Bamboo apart? For starters, the Black Bamboo withstands temperatures down to 10 degrees, making it one of the hardiest Bamboo varieties available. Gardeners in far-North states can plant their Bamboo in pots, then bring them inside for the winter.
Best of all, this tree’s striking appearance is second to none. When your tree arrives, the shoots will be green. By the second year, (or even sooner!) they’ll transition to a flat black color. Lush, deep green foliage provides an interesting contrast that is incomparable to other bamboos. It’s an amazing addition to any garden as a focal point or a central part of your home decor.
Plus, it’s a fast, durable grower that will claim 10 to 12 feet each year, ultimately reaching 25 feet in height. And since it’s easy to tame, you can trim it to the height you desire. Some of our customers order several and plant them 3 to 5 feet apart to create a privacy screen!
Why Fast-Growing-Trees.com is Better
Effortlessly versatile and lush – is there anything better? We grow your Black Bamboo in their own containers from the very beginning, so you’ll get a full, healthy root system that establishes quickly and explodes with new growth without all the work. More roots mean more canes that are healthy, thick and vigorous.
Other nurseries stock bare-root (if they even have the Black Bamboo at all). But when you order your Black Bamboo from Fast Growing Trees, you get a fast, easy grower that’s ready to last year after year…without any hassle on your part.
The only catch is that you have to get your Black Bamboo before they’re gone. Order your own Black Bamboo for instant luxe looks and easy grow today!
Planting & Care
1. Planting: For best results, give your Bamboo a sunny spot that will provide some shade in the winter. Bamboo prefers loamy soil which contains a mixture of sand, silt, and clay and offers good drainage. However, the Bamboo adapts to moist soil types, provided there is good drainage. Also, since the Bamboo’s root system is shallow, provide protection from high winds.
Dig a hole with the same depth as the plant’s container and about twice its width. Carefully place the Bamboo plant in the hole. Backfill, remove any air pockets that may have formed while filling the hole and test the sturdiness of the plant once it’s in the ground to make sure winds will not be able to topple it. Water generously and tamp down the surrounding soil.
2. Watering: Water your Bamboo between 2 to 5 times each week as necessary. Water frequency will differ depending on the time of year and local climate conditions. Cooler locations typically require less frequent watering than warmer areas.
3. Fertilizing: Once your Bamboo becomes established, you should implement a regular fertilizing schedule. High-nitrogen organic fertilizer is the best choice for Bamboo. Apply once in the summer and again in the fall.
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Bamboo can benefit from a fertilization program. You can safely fertilize your bamboo once it has been in the ground for one month. A time release fertilizer will work great. Time release fertilizers allow for proper absorption in case your soil is out of PH balance. We offer some fertilizer to help with growth. We fertilize twice a year. Once in the early spring to encourage new growth and then again during the middle of the grow season to replace any nutrients that are being depleted. Click here to see our recommended fertilizer: Our Fertilizers
Over the years a lot of myths have been told about bamboo, while it can spread under good conditions, it is not as invasive as many people would have you believe. In colder climates an aggressive runner here in the south will hardy spread at all in comparison. We have been growing bamboo since 1985 and had experience with it long before that. The bamboo’s underground root system (rhizome) will spread beyond the initial planting over the years, so in the next two or three years you will need to decide on some method of containment on the sides you do not want the rhizomes to run over into.
We have constructed a page discussing multiple methods of controlling bamboo. It goes over root pruning, mowing new shoots, and in ground barriers: Controlling Bamboo
All this said and it may discourage you, but as with any plant there will be maintenance. Bamboo is very beautiful and is great in a Japanese style garden, but it will need maintenance down the road. At first it may seem to be doing nothing, but after 3 to 5 years you will have a lot of beautiful culms (canes) and love the foliage. All our 150 plus species simply contained by mowing and weed eating the new Spring and Summer shoots. Hopes this helps and don’t be afraid of the bamboo.
What To Know Before You Buy Black Bamboo
Posted on Aug 22, 2014. 1 comment
Everyone wants and loves black bamboo, that is everyone but the people who bought the wrong kind of black bamboo and had it take over their yards or die during the first frost. The truth is that black bamboo is spectacular when its in the right setting. That’s why its good to know the differences between the types of black bamboo before you buy, and definitely before you plant.
Black is a color and not a type of bamboo. There are several varieties of black bamboo and yes there are both clumping and running varieties. They each have there own very unique growing conditions and they are not interchangeable.
2 Major Differences
The 2 major differences in black bamboo are either clumping or running. Clumping bamboo like its name suggests, forms tight clumps and don’t extend more than a few feet away from where they were planted. we call this type of bamboo, bamboo that behaves. We love clumping bamboo because it does what is expected of it with no huge surprises. Running bamboo on the other hand will take over whatever size area it can. it is common for running bamboo (if not properly contained) to take over an entire city block! This is definitely not my idea of behaving!
Clumping Black Bamboo
There are 3 known varieties of clumping black bamboo, which are:
Bambusa Lako – Common name: Timor Black, Black Lako – This one grows about 15′ in pots and works this is a beautiful clumping variety and the most popular and best landscape black bamboo. it is absolutely amazing and looks great in the TROPICAL landscape. No the cat did not step on the caps lock button, ALL clumping black bamboo is tropical, and all of it will die to the ground at around 28F. If it just gets 28F for a few hours it might come back with new shoots next year, but if it gets to 28F for more than a few hours, your black bamboo will be dead! It is a shame because everyone wants this plant, and hardly anyone lives in an environment where it can be grown outdoors. Dont worry, I have some solutions and suggestions coming up.
G. Atroviolacia – Common Name: Java Black, tropical Black – This is another clumping black bamboo, but it is a good bit bigger (at 70′ overall) and somewhat less upright than the black lako described above. Atro as it is called for short has a very similar minimum temperature as the lako black and frost should be avoided at alll costs. You can tell Atro from Lako by the nodal bands, or the rings between the bamboo nodes. Lako has black think bands and Atro has thick white bands. Atro is much more of a flat black bamboo where Lako is much more of an eggplant purple/black color.
Black Asper (betung hitam) – Common name- Black Asper – This is the big one at over 100′ when grown in ideal conditions. This is a black version of the famous Asper bamboo and is absolutely amazing but extremely rare and extremely cold sensitive. I tried growing this one in SW Florida and the occasional cold spells were too much for it. this is a true collectors bamboo and is way to big for the landscape (unless you have acreage).
Running Black Bamboo
Running Black Bamboo – I only know of one major variety Phyllostachys nigra. This is an aggressive running bamboo and must be contained. this bamboo takes the cold down to about 5F and prefers a real winter to go dormant. This is a nice landscape bamboo if you have the ability to contain it. Not preferred for the tropics.
Let us help you choose the right bamboo for you. I am a professional grower of over 60 varieties and am right here in SW Florida, serving the bamboo community since 2002. If you need any help choosing the correct variety, dont hesitate to call Scott at 8554769420
Choosing and controlling bamboo in your garden
Bamboo is one of the more infamous of the invading species people sometimes ‘innocently’ introduce to their gardens and then later regret it. I have certainly had my share of negative experiences with invasive species here in Southern California in a climate that is not one of the worst or the best for invasive species. I am only thankful (at times) that I do not live in a more tropical environment where things can really take off. Bermudagrass, wild morning glory and some Agaves have been worse experiences than improper placement and control of bamboo, but bamboo is easily one of my worst invasive species experiences. However, with proper planning and a bit of work, this can be a ‘safe’ species to plant in ones garden. The following is a introduction to not only controlling this aggressive plant, but also some suggestions on picking the right species for your situation.
Morning Glory seen here in different settings obviously let run amok. Was about this bad in my own garden only I have no detailed shots
Agave americana spreads all over, often many feet from the original plant, often next to something else you don’t want to uproot, and it is sharp and tough (left); right is my current out-of-control grape situation, my only really bad mistake in this last yard.
Phyllostachys nigra, aka Black Bamboo, was one of my big yard mistakes
Depending on the climate you live in, and the yard size you have, there are various varieties of bamboo to choose from. Those you that live in warm temperate climates should be able to grow most species of bamboo and those in tropical climates can virtually grow any species they want to. But if you live in a climate zone where it freezes regularly, you are pretty much limited to species of running bamboo. And running bamboo are the types of bamboo that require the most control (there is a reason why they call them running bamboo).
local bamboo sale showing many vaireties that are available (tall on left and short on right)
Bumbusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’ is a nice colorful plant for most warm climate yards (left); Bambusa oldhammi is a huge bamboo that can sometimes fit in tinier yards (middle), but some bamboo need a LOT of room (huge yards)- right
When I first became interested in bamboo I decided I wanted to grow as many species as I could in my ½ acre yard, figuring that it was plenty large enough for dozens of species to be grown here and there. And had I selected the right species, perhaps I would have been correct. But I just acquired what was available- about a dozen clumping Bambusa and several running species. I knew runners were risky, so I planted them in the ‘corners of the yard where they would probably not get too involved in the rest of the garden. I quickly discovered some of these runners were pretty good at getting from one area to another in a hurry. One I managed to control with drought, and by not watering the surrounding soil, the plant only managed a few ‘breaks’ into areas I did not want it, and I kept it under control for a while. Another immediately showed up in the middle of the neighbor’s yard, despite the presence of a concrete wall between (turns out there was inadequate footing, along with small spaces in between the bricks). Another plant I put in the ground in a large plastic pot with 3 feet walls… only the plant had been growing in this pot already for a few months so roots were already at the bottom. This one was my worst mistake and I was still battling this one until I left.
This is a shot of Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) planted without barriers. Note the new culms shooting up some distance from the rest
Another shot of Black Bamboo spreading
Anyone who claims that runners can be controlled by just kicking down the new growths, or applying Round Up to the ‘escapees’ are overly optimistic, and should not be listened to. Get a barrier! And BEFORE you plant your bamboo.
My worst bamboo mistake of all was planting a bamboo called Marbled Bamboo (Chimonobambusa marmorata) that had an uncanny ability to spread over ten feet from the other culms- this one quickly shot into the neighbor’s yard. Above is a large clump at a botanical garden (left) and though not a great photo, right shows a few culms shooting up so far from the main plant that they seem like unrelated plants (small sticks shooting next to the sidewalk)
Not every species needs a barrier, of course. Above are two of my favorite of all bamboo species- left is Chusquea coronalis, a wonderful fountain bamboo that stays in a nice tight clump; right is one of several species of ‘blue bamboo’ (this one is Himalayacalamus hookerianum). Both species are not big invasive threats and don’t do any damage with their roots (or not much, at least) . These clumping species are harder to grow in colder climates, however.
but just because a bamboo is a clumper, like this Dendrocalamus gigantea, does not mean it might not need some barrier control. This massive species is one of the harder to control, even with a barrier, as its rhizomes are massive and can destry nearby structures. Plan ahead even when planting clumping species.
Bambusa oldhamii is one of the more popular large clumpers since it is so upright and slow to spread (left)… but slow does not mean it never spreads.. .this Bambusa oldhamii clump in a botanical garden takes up over twenty feet in all directions (right) and could use a border of some sort in a private setting
But if you like Phyllostachys species, or live where you can’t grow clumping bamboo, you will definitely need some sort of control or you could end up with a huge clump of bamboo like this Phyllostachys nigra bory, which takes up nearly a football field sized area (and not more thanks to a road barrier, constant human trampling and gardeners knocking down the new shoots regularly)
Running barriers come in various materials from concrete, metal, wood to various forms of plastic. If you are looking at the real long term situation, plastic barriers are the way to go. Concrete eventually cracks over time and roots find their way through, though this can take dozens of years to occur. Concrete looks the nicest, though. Metal rusts and breaks down very quickly below ground and makes very poor barriers (and can be sharp and dangerous to work with). Wood, even very well treated, breaks down the fastest of all barrier materials. Plastics come in a variety of ingredients and thicknesses. High density polyethylene is probably the best material to use for rhizome barriers, at least for large and/or aggressive species.
These Phyllostachys plantings at the Los Angeles Zoo have a nice ready road barrier on one or both sides of these plantings, which seems pretty effective, but I wonder if there isn’t additional plasting placed along side the road edge
This Bambusa multiplex is actually a clumping species, and road works exceptionally well to control this one… its common name is appropriately Hedge Bamboo
There are plenty of online sources of plastic rhizome barrier that you can look over these and decide yourself. You want something that will never break down, is too thick to ever be ‘poked’ through by an aggressive rhizome but not too thick to be easily worked with (‘easily’ is a relative term and usually means can be manipulated by several strong people, not that you could do it by yourself… realistically at least), and can be sealed at the overlap point effectively keeping roots from finding their way in between. Turns out that even this solution can have a limited life span and most companies recommend replacing these overlapping areas every now and then (of course they do… $$).
Below are several web sites showing rhizome barrier installation, prices and availability. Last link is to google images of rhizome barriers.
For more on putting a rhizome barrier, check the internet – ads abound for these products. And for general information: http://www.wikihow.com/Install-a-Bamboo-Rhizome-Barrier
Rhizome barriers also come in a variety of depths. I would personally pick the deepest one available, unless you are only planting a small runner. Three feet is the deepest most companies offer. When digging a trench, one must dig it so that there is at least a few inches of barrier above ground (too much is unsightly, often tripped over, and leaves too much room below for errant rhizomes to escape). If buried at soil level, rhizomes will find little impedance as they run across the soil surface and quickly re-root on the other side. But even at two inches above soil level, rhizomes will still manage to crawl over- but they should be visible and exposed enough to chop in half or deter in some way. So one still needs to pay attention to the barrier regularly when one grows running bamboos.
this is a shot of a plastic rhizome barrier around a Phyllostachys planting in a botanical garden showing a bit higher than recommended lip (though this makes escapees less likely to occur without notice)
This large population of Phyllostachys sp. in this botanical garden has a plastic barrier keeping it from spreading to the lawn (left); right is a large Phyllostachys in a private garden with a thick concrete barrier- looks nice and effective, but maybe not so permanent
When digging a trench for a barrier, it is best to angle the trench a bit, if possible, or dig it wide enough that soil can be added after the barrier is sunk in, to allow the barrier to somewhat lean away from the bamboo… this will encourage would-be errant deep roots to grow upward and be discovered. Barriers that are vertical or worse, lean the opposite way (inward) will encourage roots to grow deeper, and some of the larger species might still manage an escape route that way.
This unique concrete barrier is more long one long, thin concrete pot and controls this Phyllostachys species quite well, though not sure how long it will last. It is at least 10 years old, though.
Note that not all running bamboo are a big worry. Some of the smaller species are only minimally invasive (I have a few Pleioblastus that are really nice and grow only a few feet in any direction over a period of years). Still, if you want to keep these in check, they will still need a barrier, but one a bit less labor-intensive may work fine.
this Pleioblastus species is a pretty slow psreading species , and can even be mowed in the fall when it looks less healthy
Also note that not all clumping bamboo can be planted willy-nilly without concern of invasion. The massive clumpers will slowy spread outward, but will destroy most objects in their way in the process (driveways, walls and buildings) if not well controlled. And some Otatea, which are officially clumpers, are as close to running bamboo as a clumper can get, and may need a barrier, too.
Dendrocalamus asper is one of the popular and common clumpers grown in botanical gardens, but could use some control in a private garden (unless you happen to have an enormous one)
Otatea acuminata aztecorum (aka Mexican Weeping Babmoo) is an incredibly drought tolerant and beautiful species…. but for a clumper it tends to spread rather rapidly… this clump in a botanical gardens is nearly fifty feet long and pretty wide (would be a lot wider if not for the road barrier)
One should also be concerned about a few other bamboo characteristics before planting them in your yard. The first thing to consider is size of the desired bamboo and the size of your yard. Some species are not suited for small yards, no matter how well controlled. Bambusa vulgaris, for example, will grow very tall and arch laterally to virtually shade out nearly a quarter acre from the sun making it difficult to grow much of anything but deep shade growers below.
Bambusa vulgaris can be a huge, shading plant, unacceptable for most gardens. Also, if you live in a windy zone, bamboo may never look good (right)
Climate is another thing to consider, obviously, as many clumpers cannot survive freezing temperatures. For those living in snow-frequented climates, running bamboos may be your only option. Drier cold climates may permit less intensive barrier construction… but serious rhizome barriers will be needed in wetter climates, particularly if you live in a high rainfall area like most of these running bamboo thrive in. Those living in dry deserts, particularly where winds frequent, will not be happy with the looks of their plants no matter how much they water them. And those with limited water sources should rethink growing bamboo as most are quite thirsty plants.
Phyllostachys sp. will grow well in a wide range of climates (left) and even tolerate freezing; Thyrostachys siamensis (right) is a much more tropical bamboo and does not like it super cold
Availability of sun and shade may also be important. Shade is important for many smaller and colorful species, and some will not thrive unless they are grown in some shade. And others will only grow well if they can get constant sunshine, and will wither in shade.
These two bamboo, for example, need full sun or they will not thrive or achieve the wonderful color (left) of their full potiential. Left is Giganticloa atrviolacea and right is Thryostachys oliverii. Nearly all the other species shown above are sun loving genera (Phyllostachys, Bambusa, Dendrocalamus etc.)
These bamboo will not do well in full sun and some shade to stay happy, particularly here in Southern California where the sun is brutal. Left is Thamnocalamus spathiflora and right is Farigesia nitida, aka Fountain Blue Bamboo (one of my favorite)
Above are two more species that do not appreciated direct sun, either (same goes for most, but not all, dwarf bamboo species) Himanocalamus tranquilans (left) and Sasa tranquilans (right)
Another thing to consider are other things in the yard. For those with pools and cactus gardens, bamboo are NOT good nearby plants as they endlessly drop tons of leaves year round. I will probably have to remove my Bambusa oldhamii since I am constantly removing gobs of paper leaves from the crowns of all my succulents and cacti (not easy to remove from cacti). And my bamboo is in a corner of the yard… still the leaves get everywhere. Few trees can compete with bamboo for continuous leaf drop.
these shots were taken of areas of the garden somewhat near the bamboo AFTER cleaning out all the leaves a gazillion times already
And lastly, be sure you really want bamboo. Few plants are more difficult to remove permanently from your garden than bamboo (even clumping bamboo can be persistent). These plants have roots and rhizomes like iron and can be very hard on saws and shovels. Runaway running bamboo sometimes are nearly impossible to completely get rid of, even with gallons of glyphosate, digging, chopping and tossing out. If in doubt, best to keep bamboo in a pot- many make very nice potted plants.
I’ve been growing bamboo since 1978 and have made many mistakes. Some species of bamboo doesn’t do well in Ohio, where I’m based, because they won’t tolerate the cold weather in winter. In some cases I’ve left the plants growing in my yard if only to show others what won’t do well in my climate.
To control bamboo’s growth you need to do two things: contain it and maintain it. I’ll tell you how.
Every containment situation is different. In general, most bamboo will be sufficiently contained using a 24″ deep bamboo barrier. For additional protection or more aggressive species, a 36″ deep bamboo barrier is the best choice. These are the basics of how to use this product when using it to install bamboo:
- Determine the extent of the area to be given over to the bamboo. Dig a trench around the entire area line the trench with the barrier.
- Overlap the ends of the barrier by at least 12 inches, and by up to four feet if you have extra material available. Place the included sealant tape between the overlapped pieces, then backfill and tamp the soil tightly.
- Place the top edge of the barrier approximately 2 inches above the finished grade. This will deter overgrowth and make annual maintenance easier.
- Plant according to the standard bamboo nursery planting directions, paying attention to soil deficiencies, drainage and compaction.
It is best to maintain the bamboo during the fall when the rhizomes, referred to as “trip wires,” have grown outward throughout the late spring and summer and come to the surface and can go over the 2” lip of the barrier that’s above ground. The escaped rhizomes should pulled from the soil and put back inside the bamboo containment area to continue their journey. Cutting will not solve the problem since the severed portion will start to grow again outside the barrier.
After checking for escapees it’s time to cut out dead and dying canes. You can tell they are in decline or already dead by their color — they will be tan rather than green. Using a long handled lopper, cut the dying cane as close to the soil surface as possible.
By cutting off the branches and raising the canopy (this is called legging up) you accentuate the node and internodes, which will add beauty to the grove. You can cut off the branches as deep as you wish and they’ll never grow new branches again. This will lessen your screen effect, so go as deep as you wish.
The height of the bamboo can be controlled by cutting the culm at the top of the node, always leaving at least one branch with leaves. It will never grow any taller where you’ve cut. This maintenance should be done after it’s limber, which is usually in mid June. Any earlier and the bamboo is 85 percent water; the branches will simply snap off.
I often recommend that people plant two similar species of bamboo at once. By doing this you are covering your bases in case it goes to seed. This may not happen for 60 or 80 years, but it could also happen shortly in the future. The species which doesn’t seed will offer screening until the other recovers.
Bamboo is versatile and can add a lot to your site, but does require some love. By containing and maintaining your bamboo you can create a grove which is admired by you and your guests for its beauty — and perhaps as importantly, by your neighbors for its lack of spreading.
Jerry Burton is the man behind Burton’s Bamboo Garden. He has grown 50 kinds of bamboo on 22 acres of land (with a 7 acre lake!) since 1978. He runs educational sessions out of a large Haiku House surrounded by large bamboo groves and overlooking the lake. Exotic birds from Papua New Guinea (Cassowries), Argentina (Rheas), Australia (Emu), India (Peafowl), and China (Phoenix Chickens) also live on the grounds, along with large granite statuary from the Yangtze river area of China. All 27 years in the bamboo business have been spent learning, and he has a special knack with birds and plants. His philosophy is, “If they show up, sell them. If not, read a book because you’re at home anyway.” His son Zach will inherit the business.
Images: Jerry Burton
How to stop a bamboo invasion and other surprising facts about roots
When you’re facing a tough problem, it’s always best to start with the roots. Such was the takeaway lesson from our second installment of ScienceScope, where the NewsHour team leaves our broadcast center to explore the world of science that surrounds us (with an assist from the Twitter-based livestreaming service Periscope).
Today, we ventured to the U.S. Botanic Garden in downtown Washington, D.C. for an off-hours tour of their newest exhibit:
Without roots, most life outside of the ocean would struggle to survive.
Plants provide virtually all the food for organisms living on land, from microbes to humans, says U.S. Botanic Garden executive director and botanist Ari Novy, who guided us through the exhibit. Plants would be nothing without their roots, which do much more than provide a stable foundation, absorb water and store nutrients like sugar. Here are a few things that we learned and saw on today’s field trip:
A. Prairie plants look way cooler underground
A bevy of prairie plants and their roots hang at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Photo by Nsikan Akpan
Up-close and personal with a sorghum root. Photo by Nsikan Akpan.
Wheat, sorghum and other prairie plants may not inspire “wows!” when viewed aboveground, but their undercarriage boasts a stunning sight. Their roots grow like stringy spaghetti up to 15 feet deep, with the ostensible mission of sapping water from hard-to-reach underground reservoirs.
It’d typically be impossible to pull these roots from the ground without ripping them to pieces, but scientists at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas have devised a solution.
“They take 12-inch diameter PVC piping and then fill it with soil media — ceramic chunks similar to kitty litter — and then let the roots grow down over the course of years,” says Novy. Afterwards, they pull the pipes from the ground and cut through the plastic. The researchers then clean away the soil, leaving behind the giant intact roots. The Land Institute donated a preserved set of these prairies plants to hang in the garden’s exhibit.
B. WiliWili likes bacteria bumps
WiliWili (Erythrina sandwicensis) root at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Photo by Nsikan Akpan
WiliWili (Erythrina sandwicensis) root at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Photo by Nsikan Akpan
WiliWili plants — pronounced “Willy Willy” — are Hawaiian trees (Erythrina sandwicensis) that grow braided roots with tiny bumps called nodules (not shown). These little pods lack oxygen and are filled with microbes that prefer living without it. Instead, these germs consume nitrogen gas in the air and turn it into ammonia, which serves as fertilizer for the tree.
C. Bamboo versus Concrete.
Many of the underground parts of plants that we often think of as roots are actually rhizomes, says Novy. Rhizomes are buried stems that, rather than shoot out the ground, grow horizontally through the earth like vegetative pipes. Occasionally, these offshoots will sprout upward, creating picturesque forests of bamboo.
Bamboo rhizomes (underground stems). Photo by Nsikan Akpan
Bamboo rhizomes can grow several feet in a single year and provide the means to become an aggressive invader. Golden bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea), for example, was introduced to Alabama in 1882 as a natural noise barrier, but the invasive plant has now spread across the Southeast U.S. and mid- Atlantic states. Still, gardeners enjoy planting bamboo, so what’s the best way to control it?
“If it’s listed as invasive by your local species council, then don’t plant it. But if you absolutely must plant a colonizing bamboo, then you must build an underground mechanical barrier, in the form of a metal or concrete wall, says Novy. “The wall needs to extend at least 2 feet below and up to 6 inches above the soil because these runners sometimes jump onto the surface of the soil to colonize.”
D. Root inspired sculptures by Steve Tobin
“Cathedral Root” — a sculpture by Steve Tobin. Photo by U.S. Botanic Garden.
Close-up of “Romeo and Juliet” — a sculpture by Steve Tobin. Photo by Nsikan Akpan
E. Ginger: Root or Imposter?
Roots are delicious, but are you sure that veggie in your salad counts as one? See if you can guess which of the following is a true root and which is a faker:
- Sugar Beet
- Imposter, rhizome (underground stem)
- True root.
- Imposter, corm (swollen underground stem).
- Imposter, rhizome (underground stem)
- Imposter, garlic bulb is a collection of energy-storing leaves.
- True root
- True root
- Imposter, tuber (underground stem).
- Imposter, rhizome (underground stem)
Exposed: The Secret Life of Roots runs until October 13, 2015
Nigra Black is a part of our premium bamboo range. These beautiful species of bamboo are ideal for high-end landscaping to make your garden stand out.
Nigra is a small running black bamboo perfect for contained garden beds or pots and troughs. Nigra will naturally grow up to 6mtrs in the ground but is promoted as between 3-4mtrs in height in pots. It can be easily trimmed down in height if need be (read maintenance tips here).
It has a weepy growth habit, not vertical, with attractive bushy green foliage. The natural spread of a running bamboo has no limit, so they are wonderful for creating groves or forests in acreage or large blocks. They are not recommended for planting uncontained in suburbia. Nigra is the best choice for a black bamboo in a pot, as the clumping black bamboo species won’t grow long-term in pots or troughs. It can be grown as a beautiful feature bamboo or light privacy screening. Nigra is also useful for dam or creek wall stability and to prevent soil erosion.
Black bamboos send up their shoots green and they turn transition to black over 6-9 months. Eventually these black stems will fade to a white/grey as they die off, so these can be trimmed out of the bamboo to freshen up the look and encourage new shoots.
The narrower the contained garden bed, pot or trough, the closer you plant the bamboo together. For more information, talk to one of our helpful and knowledgable staff members for professional advice on your garden circumstances. Different circumstances have different solutions!
Nigra is fast growing and can be fully grown within 2-3 years, or quicker if you purchase more established sizes! Nigra is low maintenance & drought tolerant once established in the ground. However in pots and troughs it will require regular watering.
Follow our bamboo planting guide (provided with your purchase) to achieve the best results. The guides are helpful and easy to follow, and assist you in achieving the best results in the shortest amount of time. Most of the effort in growing your bamboos is preparation and the first few months after planting.
Will bamboo plants grow indoors?
Growing Bamboo Plants Indoors
Yes, some potted bamboo plants can be grown indoors; see the list below.
When growing potted bamboo plants indoors, the single most important factor to consider is the amount of water to give them. With less circulation, and lower light conditions, its easy to over-water them. A good way to tell if you have over-watered your bamboo plants is if you start to notice dead leaf tips. Bamboo is thought of as a moisture loving plant, but without good drainage it suffers. If you suspect your potting soil is too heavy, and the drainage is not ideal, try adding perlite to it. If your bamboo plant is too dry the leaves will roll into themselves, and in extreme cases look like cactus needles.; they do this to reduce the leaf area that is exposed to evaporation. Its better to let a bamboo plant go a little dry than to over water it. Once a dry bamboo plant is watered the leaves will usually unravel themselves, and look fine within a few hours. The best way to determine your watering schedule, when growing potted bamboo plants indoors, is to let them dry out slightly between watering.
Another factor to consider when growing potted bamboo plants indoors, is humidity levels. A periodic light misting of the leaves can be very beneficial, but you need to keep in mind how easily they can be over watered indoors. Placing your pot onto an oversize drip tray filled with water, and gravel, is an easy way to raise the humidity levels in the immediate area around your bamboo plant. Be sure to keep the water level below the gravel level, so the potted bamboo plant is not sitting in water.
Food is another factor to consider when growing a bamboo plant indoors in a pot. You want the leaves to be a dark green color, so if you notice them slowly yellowing (going chlorotic), it might be time to fertilize the bamboo plant. Keep in mind that the leaves can look chlorotic when over fertilizing also, but usually the color change is more immediate.
It is not uncommon for bamboo plants to drop a lot of their leaves once put indoors. To know what is currently happening with a bamboo plant, look at the newest leaves at the ends of the branches; the emerging leaves. If you see signs of stress, putting it outdoors for a couple of months can do wonders to help it bounce back.
If you don’t have room for your potted bamboo plants inside of your house, but you have a cool garage or shed, you can store them inside of it over the winter. The temperature should be between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius.
Most of our bamboo plants do best outdoors, except for the list below, which contains some of the best varieties to try indoors:
Bright Light Phyllostachys aurea ‘Flavescens Inversa’
Phyllostachys aurea ‘Holochrysa’
How to Grow Bamboo as a Houseplant
Bamboo is traditionally considered an outdoor plant, but under the right conditions, certain varieties will thrive indoors and can become the most interesting centerpiece in your home. What are these conditions? The factors vary between bamboo species, but here are some general rules of (green) thumb.
- Of utmost importance is correct daily sunlight exposure. Most bamboo require at least six hours of direct sun per day. While some varieties tolerate more shade, the more sunlight you can offer, in general, the happier the plant. The ideal spot is in an atrium or greenhouse where light and humidity can be higher.
- Proper watering is a key factor. Bamboo is susceptible to and can be damaged from over-watering. This is the most common reason for an indoor bamboo’s demise. Also make sure the pot drains properly and has sizeable holes to enable excess water to flow out. Another suggestion is to use a spray bottle and mist the plant daily to keep it healthily humidified.
- Bamboo likes to eat, too. Because your bamboo is living in a pot and will be depleting nutrients every time it’s watered, you should be feeding it with a high nitrogen fertilizer to keep it green and lush. An organic lawn fertilizer will also work.
- Fresh air is greatly appreciated. If possible, bring your potted bamboo outside for a bit to get direct light from the sun, and to get a shower to help wash off any dust and bug intruders.
- Consider the pot you plant it in. At some point you will need to repot your bamboo because the rapidly growing rhizomes will completely fill the container. Therefore we recommend using one that has a squat shape and widens at the top for easier plant removal.
Best Bamboo Varieties to Try Indoors
Bambusa ventricosa ‘Buddha’s Belly’. Grows from 5 to 15 feet tall. This bamboo grows with unique, zigzagging bloated culms, giving it its common name, and the bulginess is a direct result of the plant’s water stress level—the less water, the more the plant “bellies out.” This variety is very adaptable to a wide range of conditions and even makes an interesting bonsai specimen.
Chimonobambusa quadrangularis ‘Yellow Grove’, a.k.a. Square stem bamboo. This variety is upright with graceful foliage and yellow-grooved, square culms. Grows 8 to 10 feet tall and requests optimal light.
Pseudosasa japonica ‘Japanese Arrow Bamboo’. A surprisingly happy indoor bamboo. A profusion of slim culms grow tightly together and adorn this tough plant. This is a more shade-tolerant variety because of its larger leaves.
Warton’s Bill Blackledge is one of the county’s most popular and sought after gardeners. If it’s green and needs watering, Bill can tell you about it. He has been answering BBC Radio Lancashire listeners’ queries for over thirty years, which means he’s been there nearly as long as the transmitter!
His knowledge is encyclopedic. After training at the under the then Ministry of Agriculture, Bill spent over twenty years at the Department of Biological and Environmental Services at Lancaster University. Now, he’s a regular course tutor at Alston Hall, Longridge and Lancaster Adult College.
For three decades, Bill has travelled the county with fellow judges as a regional judge for North West in Bloom.
So, whatever the problem, we like to think Bill can sort it out… at least that’s the theory!
Dave Fogarty asks…
Will black bamboo survive in a south facing conservatory?
The Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys Nigra) is Dave one of the most popular Bamboos grown in this country and can be grown outside in full sun or light shade but, must be sheltered from the wind and during the summer months must be kept well watered. With regard to growing your Bamboo in a south facing conservatory my worry would be the high temperatures reached during the summer months in your conservatory which would mean constantly having to water and you may also get scorching of the leaf edges. Growing plants such as Bamboos in conservatories make them more susceptible to damage from pests such as Aphids and also the greenhouse pest Red Spider Mite. If possible I would personally place your Bamboo outside during the summer period and then bring it back indoors during the winter months. If you do intend to keep your Bamboo in the conservatory over the twelve month period you will need to shade your conservatory during the summer period and also ensure that it is well ventilated.
My golden bamboo seems to be suffering from the same thing as other people’s this year (wind scorch damage). I want to move the bamboo to a more sheltered spot in the garden but the only places are either in complete shade or against a wall in the sun. Would any of these places be OK?
Your Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys Aurea) will Nicky grow in full sun or light shade but, it is important to situate your plant where it will be sheltered from prevailing winds. Of the two options you have and providing that you can incorporate some well rotted manure or any organic material into the compost which will help to maintain moisture you will be able to plant your Bamboo against the sunny wall. It is however important to keep an eye on the watering until your plant is well established.
Linda Coleman asks…
We have just put in a black stemmed bamboo Phyllostachys Nigra (I think) We have watered it well, prepared the hole well. One of the three stems is yellowing and I think we will lose it. Can you help please?
Your Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys Nigra) will Linda need to be watered regularly until well established and quite often with newly planted Bamboos you will find that the lower leaves do start to yellow. As you will be aware Bamboo plants are quite expensive to buy and if for some reason your plant does not recover it would be worth your while to contact the Garden Centre from where you purchased the plant, quite a number of Garden Centres will guarantee plants for twelve months.
I divided a bamboo, now both halves are looking very brown and dead, but I have checked and the canes are green inside, is there anything I can do?
If the canes of your Bamboo are still green Bernice there is still a very good chance that new shoots will appear.
Pat Williams asks…
We want to plant a golden bamboo immediately adjacent to the house and to the boundary fence for privacy. Is there any reason why we should not do this as I understand from the previous correspondence that phyllostachys aurea is not invasive?
You will find Pat that the Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys Aurea) does grow very vertical and stays in tight clumps at the base of the plant and this does make it ideal for screening purposes such as hiding ugly fence panels. It is also an ideal plant for small gardens. You will need to keep an eye on the watering throughout the summer months and your plant will require regular feeding and it is very important with Bamboos that they are grown in a sunny but sheltered position away from prevailing winds. I would also be worthwhile through the summer months to keep a check on aphids which can become troublesome.
Theresa Scarfe asks…
Our black bamboo was growing beautifully last year. However, we have now noticed that all of its leaves look brown and papery. We have it in a large container in a sheltered position. What can we do to get the vibrant green leaves back?
Quite a number of Bamboos have suffered this year Theresa due to the cold weather and varying temperatures and it is important that you do keep your containerised Bamboo in a sunny but sheltered position. It is also important with your Bamboo growing in a container that your plant receives an adequate supply of fertiliser and I would top dress the container with a slow release fertiliser such as GrowMore or Vitax Q4 which contain the main three fertilisers and also trace elements. Your Bamboo could also be given an added boost by watering with a liquid fertiliser as soon as the weather improves.
The leaves on my golden bamboo are dried out can I rejuvenate it?
Golden Bamboos do suffer from winter wind scorch damage and it has been very noticeable this year. You will however find that during the summer months your Bamboo will recover but you will need to give your plant a liberal dressing of a balanced fertiliser such as GrowMore or Vitax Q4 and also a top dressing of well rotted farm yard manure would also be beneficial. The Golden Bamboo is a beautiful plant but does require a sheltered position away from prevailing winds.
Can I move a black bamboo that has been established for 2 years?
Your Black Bamboo (Phyllostacys Nigra) is possibly the most popular Bamboo grown Alison and, the time to move your Bamboo is springtime. Do ensure that you dig out a large root ball and the plant will require a rich fertile soil and can be planted in full sun or light shade but will need a position away from prevailing winds. It is important that you ensure that your Bamboo is well watered especially during the summer months and your Bamboo will appreciate a top dressing of a base fertiliser such as Fish Blood and Bone Meal approximately every five to six weeks during the growing season.
Is it possible to re plant and grow pruned stems from a black bamboo each stem being approx 6 feet high with leaves?
The two methods which are used for propagating Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys Nigra) Nick is by dividing the existing plant and this can be done early springtime or, by rhizome cuttings which is less invasive than dividing the plant. What you need to do is to find a rhizome which is spreading through the soil from the plant and, these will be quite close to the soil surface. Remove the soil from the around the rhizome back to the point where it joins the main plant and then you need to cut the rhizome from the main plant and gently pull the rhizome out of the soil. You will find that the rhizome is divided into nodes and you can cut the rhizome into sections which include some nodes and also a reasonable amount of root. The node sections are the dormant buds and the rhizome can be placed in seed trays just below the soil surface and watered thoroughly. You will then find young shoots appearing from the nodes and these can then be repotted into single pots and when large enough planted in the garden. If the stems which you have pruned do not contain any roots I am afraid that these will not survive.
Duncan and Michelle both ask…
I have a front garden south facing to the sloping drive side I wanted to plant Bamboo as we love the sway of it. There is a main drain here so having to rethink. The garden is made up mainly of pampas bamboo coastal hedging and a few flower beds. We need this side to be a quick growing screen, which does not root deep, but is evergreen. Suggestions please
With regard to the planting of Bamboos Michelle the Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys Aurea) is an ideal Bamboo for a small garden and also for screening purposes, and will grow to a height of approximately five feet. Unlike other Bamboo species the Golden Bamboo is not as invasive. Other popular plants which you could use for coastal hedging are Griselinia Littorlis, Seabuckthorne (Hippophae Rhamnoides), Elaeagnus Ebbingei and Tamarix. You could also plant architectural plants such as Yucca Gloriosa Variegata which will grow to a height of approximately five feet, Pampas Grass Pumila which, again will grow to a height of approximately four to five feet and the Phormium species. Regarding the main drain in your garden it is difficult to give you a concise answer as to whether the plants I have recommend will affect your drain but, quite a number have fibrous roots systems rather than the long protruding tap roots.
John Sepahi asks…
I’ve recently been able to start a small collection of bamboos at my mothers home (big garden) as I have never had a garden of my own. I’m really proud of what we have achieved with so little money. We have five different types of bamboo, all were at low cost or from cuttings from friends. They are all in containers next to each other, receiving partial shade and protection from the wind, all were fed and watered the same. They all improved greatly throwing up new shoots every day then all of a sudden the phyllostachys aureosulcata aureocaulis stopped growing and started loosing the new culms it had just thrown up, then the leaves started turning pale yellow now they are almost white with papery brown edges and brownish back splotches. I thought I had overwatered it and so haven’t since but no improvement it just looks worse.
You will find John that the Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys Aureosulcata) can be quite temperamental and quite a number have suffered this year through leaves turning yellow and then going a white papery brown. Part of the problem is due to the weather conditions we experienced last year and the prevailing cold winds. What I suggest you do in early springtime is top dress your pots with a general base fertiliser such as Fish Blood and Bone Meal and I would also liquid feed at least once a week during the active growing season again, with a balanced fertiliser, which should include trace elements and I am sure that your Golden Bamboo will produce new shoots.
Howard Maddock asks…
I have had a Bamboo for two years and it has started to drop its leaves, so much so that the plant looks very poorly. I do not know which variety it is but it has a wobbly stem, (like bobbins), and its height is about three feet. The plant is sited in a reasonable sized ceramic pot located in a large hall with reasonable light and temperature. It is only watered when the top compost feels to be drying out. I would dearly like to keep the plant and would greatly appreciate some guidance as to what can be done to rectify the escalating problem.
You will find Howard that Bamboos kept indoors do need maximum light intensity and a very cool temperature and therefore the reason why the leaves on your Bamboo keep falling could be due to too high a temperature. With regard to watering it is important that when the compost is drying out that you do give the Bamboo a good watering as they do require moist conditions. If the leaves on your Bamboo still keep dropping off I would be inclined during the summer months to place your plant outside. When growing Bamboos in containers regular feeding is required throughout the growing season.
Allan Walker asks…
I planted a black bamboo about five years ago it has now grown to 22 feet high and about 3 square foot I would like to take cuttings for potting – how much should I remove and when?
The easiest method of propagating Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys Nigra) Allan is by division or from rhizome cuttings. Division is best taking place during early springtime and if your Bamboo is growing in a large pot you can knock the Bamboo out of the pot and using a very sharp strong knife, saw or sharp spade to divide the large plant, ensuring that there quite a number of shoots. It is important that once division has taken place to keep your new plants well watered until well established. Propagating from rhizome cuttings is far less invasive than dividing the plant and is far more effective for Bamboos growing in the garden soil. Rhizomes grow near to the soil surface and after gently removing the soil from around the Bamboo you will be able to see the rhizome/tuberous roots. The rhizomes can then be lifted, cut into sections, ensuring that there are a number of nodes in each section of the rhizome, these can then be planted in pots and placed just below soil surface, young shoots will then appear from the nodes/buds. Again it is important to ensure that the soil in the pots is kept moist.
Debbie Kennett asks…
I have read through the questions and note that a few people have stated that their bamboo has spread into the rest of lawn or garden. I have just purchased some bamboo and do not want this to happen. Is there anyway of preventing at the time of planting? I have seen programmes that have put metal sheets in front of the bamboo. If I did this how deep would it need be? and should I leave any of the metal above ground level?
You will find that quite a number of Bamboos are vigorous and rhizomes will spread over your garden. You mention using metal sheets which will be effective and these should just be kept level with the soil surface. You can also, beside using metal sheets, use a semi-permeable polypropylene liner which is used for surpressing weeds but is water permeable. The depth of the liner or metal sheets should be approximately two to three feet deep.
I have a bamboo (phyllo pubescens) seedling, which is (was) about ten inches high. Up until now, it’s been doing very well but was horrified to notice that some aphid (I suspect?) has chewed most of the new leaves away and I’m left with a rather unhappy looking ‘stump’. I noticed some tiny transparent worm-like creatures in the soil but where it’s been chewed has definitely got a shiny trail left. Can you help? Can it possibly be a slug indoors? I’m devastated. Many thanks
I am certain that the problem with your Bamboo leaves being eaten Christine has been caused by the small grey slug and the tell tale signs are the shiny trails which have been left. With the recent moist damp weather over the past couple of months you will find that slugs can get into your home and, what I would do is place a few of the small slug pellets on top of your soil and this will attract the slugs and eradicate them.
I have 2 outdoor bamboos do they need feeding if so what with?
You will find Sue that your Bamboos will need feeding and I would use a general base fertiliser such as Fish Blood and Bone Meal, Grow More or Vitax Q4. and, you will need to sprinkle approximately four ounces of fertiliser per square yard around the base of the plant.
Linda McAlister asks…
We had two magnificent bamboos which are about 7 foot high and have been kept in containers. However, they now look quite dry and brown and have seed heads coming from them instead of leaves. If you peel back at the stems you can see green underneath, is there anything which can be done to save them?
Quite a number of Bamboos when they flower and produce seed Linda will then die and I am afraid this what could be happening to your Bamboos. I would not give up hope just yet because quite a number of Bamboos have suffered badly this year from wind scorch damage and browning of the leaves.
I have a large bamboo in a large pot. Ten feet tall and well looked after. For the first time in 5 years it has gone brown this winter, lost its leaves, yet is throwing up deep red “flowers” with bright green seeds. Is the bamboo going to recover and return to its green leaved state?
You will usually find Patrick that with a number of Bamboos once they have flowered and seeded the plant dies and it looks as though this is what has happened with your Bamboo. I would leave your Bamboo for a few weeks to allow the seeds to ripen but I feel that you are going to have to replace your Bamboo.
We have just bought a house with a lovely mature garden which contains bamboo plants. These appear to form dense clumps rather than to spread, so my dilemma is how to control their height as they must be about 5-6 m tall and are obscurring the view. Can I prune them? Thank you
Bamboos produce new shoots from ground level Anna and with your Bamboos being very well established and forming dense clumps I would thin out a lot of the shoots and cut back to base level which, will encourage new shoots to appear and you can also cut back some of the larger shoots which are obscuring your view and, I would do this early Springtime. Long term will you will need to cut back some of the older shoots to encourage new growth.
I bought an 8ft Golden Bamboo last year; Phyllostachys aurea, and it has suffered through our wet, windy winter. The ends of all the leaves are withered and dry. When is the correct time to feed it, and what will improve the current state of the foliage? It is in a container situated next to the house in a sheltered aspect but still catches the sun.
The Golden Bamboo Emma is a wonderful architectural plant but this year I have seen numerous plants which have suffered due to the very cold and wet winter we have had. One of the problems with the Golden Bamboo is that it takes a few years to become established. By growing your Bamboo in a container you will need to feed it regularly and I would start this feeding early May. It is also important that during the summer months you keep your plant well watered.
Are there any bamboos that have roots that don’t spread and which are not to high?
The two Bamboos I would recommend for a small garden are:
1) Phyllostachys Aureosulcata Aureocaulis – this Bamboo is one of the most attractive of the species and produces some beautiful pinkish canes which when mature gradually change to a mild yellow. An established plant will produce numerous new canes but, the basal clump will stay tight and not spread.
2) Phyllostachys Aurea (The Golden Bamboo) is again ideal for a small garden and the basal clump will remain tight. Although named the Golden Bamboo the canes are green and will only turn golden if we have a very hot summer.
Both species need to be kept well watered especially during the summer months and will need feeding at regular intervals.
Patricia D’Arcy asks…
We have bamboo in our garden which has gone completely out of control We have had shoots coming up all over the garden which is paved and pebbled. It is even pushing up the paving stones. About six weeks ago we took all the pebbles up and the membrane underneath and we were shocked at the root system before our eyes. We pulled out all the roots and cut everything back to the main plant – now six weeks later we are in the same position we were before we took the pebbles and paving stones up. The plant has advanced into our neighbours garden.; Help what can we do?
What I would do Patricia is to dig a small clump of your Bamboo up and place it in a pot and if you do not want to keep any of the remaining Bamboo I would spray with a systemic weed killer such as Round Up or Tumbleweed – which contains glyphosate. Spray on a warm but still day and you must ensure you do not spray any other plants in the garden. The weed killer will then be transferred through the leaves into the stem and then into the roots and it is the roots we have got to kill.; You may need to spray at least two/three times to keep the Bamboo under control i.e. Summer/Autumn time.
Sarah Green asks…
I have recently purchased a black bamboo, that we are thinking of splitting into two plants.; Is it ok to do this time of year, or should we wait for warmer weather?
The Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys Nigra) is a beautiful architectural plant and it is possible to split them but I would wait until you can obtain two decent sized plants before doing so. The best time for splitting your Bamboo is late spring.
Bamboos need to be planted in a sheltered spot and it is very important to keep your plant well watered.
Ann Henderson asks…
I have a couple of medium height bamboos (currently in containers) I want to plant out one in a border, for privacy. How do I do this, yet stop it from spreading all over? Thanks
There are two methods you can use Ann – the first method is to dig a hole where you wish to plant your bamboo – the width of the hole needs to be the width to which you require your bamboo to spread – you then need to completely line your hole with one of the polypropylene ground cover liners – which are interwoven* Place your bamboo into the lined hole and gently firm the soil around your plant.
The second method is – dig a hole and plunge your container into the hole.; This method will keep you bamboo under control and it will also help to stop your bamboo drying out during the summer months.
* The polypropylene ground cover liners can be obtained from any garden centre outlets and are used mainly for weed suppression and have excellent water permeability.
Paul Harvey asks…
I am thinking of planting some bamboo in my garden, I have been told they don’t like windy sites, is this true and to what extent? Also what are good varieties for our climate (Rossendale) Thanks.
Bamboos are certainly becoming a very popular architectural plant in the Lancashire area.; The most popular one is the Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys Nigra.) This Bamboo produces black canes which are magnificent. It will grow in full sun or a slightly shaded spot – but will require sheltering from prevailing winds. However, a Bamboo which is more tolerant to wind damage is the Arrow Bamboo (Pseudosasa Japonica) it will grow in a wide range of soils and also in exposed costal areas. One of the most attractive Bamboos and, ideal for a small garden, is Phyllostachys Aureosulcata Aureocaulis.; The new canes are pinkish red in colour and then mature to a deep yellow. Last but by no means least I would certainly recommend the Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys Aurea). This Bamboo is very versatile – it will either grow in a very sunny or shaded spot – but again will need shelter from the wind.
It is very important for all Bamboos to be kept well watered with the majority needing protection from the wind.
Dawn Strong asks…
How can I get rid of bamboo that is coming from my neighbour’s garden? It has totally ruined my shed and patio.
I feel the best method of keeping the bamboo under control Dawn is to spray the leaves of the plant with a systemic glyphosate weed killer. One recommend brand is RoundUp. It is important when spraying to use the recommended clothing and avoid spraying any other plants in the vicinity. The weed killer will be transferred through the leaves down the stem and into the roots.You may have to apply the weed killer two/three times during the summer months when new leaves appear.
Karen Walker asks…
I had bought an ornamental lucky bamboo in a vase with water only. My problem is one of the stems has turned yellow the rest are still green. What went wrong can you help?
I purchased an Ornamental Lucky Bamboo myself approximately one month ago Karen and it is situated on the kitchen window sill in a light position and, so far so good, it seems to be growing ok. But as the leaves begin to grow I will need to add a dilute solution of liquid feed to the water. It is not going to be easy to grow bamboos under these conditions with numerous shoots strapped together and I feel sooner or later some of these stems will start to yellow – it is just the conditions they have been grown under.