- Non-Invasive Bamboo – What Bamboo Does Not Spread?
- What is a clumping bamboo?
- What are the advantages of clumping bamboos?
- What are the different techniques of planting non-invasive clumping bamboo?
- Bamboo confinement
- Non-spreading clumping bamboo varieties for your garden project
- Which one will provide the best bamboo screening?
- Where can they grow?
- How can I control them?
- More Information About Clumping Bamboo
- How to take care of garden bamboo plants
- Why grow bamboo plants in the outdoor garden?
- Which is best…clumping bamboo or running bamboo?
- Clumping Bamboo
- Uses for Cut Bamboo
- About Bamboo Plants
- The haute bamboo
- Zone 9 Bamboo Varieties – Growing Bamboo Plants In Zone 9
- Growing Bamboo Plants in Zone 9
- NEC Bamboo
Non-Invasive Bamboo – What Bamboo Does Not Spread?
We often hear that people say bamboo is so invasive. This doesn’t go for every kind of bamboo though.
Clumping bamboo is the non-invasive type. There are specific techniques on how to prevent bamboo from spreading.
Now you are probably thinking: “Ok, clumping bamboo. But what is it, what species are clumping bamboos, and what techniques can I use to prevent spreading?”. We hear you!
Bamboo roots are mostly superficial. Rhizomes commonly develop within the initial six inches underground. They create feeder roots that stretch further underneath the soil. Normally, the roots do not spread any more than 20″ inches beneath the ground. Bamboo rhizomes develop in two different ways. Some develop in a clumping or running form. Bamboos are determined either as clumping or running bamboo.
Do you want to jump ahead?
What is a clumping bamboo?
Clumping or sympodial bamboo is the non-invasive type. It has Pachymorph or U-shaped rhizomes that develop upwards and grow into a fresh culm then brand-new rhizomes appear from shoots on a present rhizome and so on and so forth. This chain effect generates the woods to increase moderately throughout the boundary. This maturity course gives the bamboo a ‘clumping’ way and further extension is expected and manageable. They may attain a maturity height in four to six years following optimal growing circumstances. Due to the anticipated germination pattern, a restriction is not required anymore. But specific maintenance still needs to be understood.
Clumping bamboos can survive drought better than runners. They burrow reasonably deep. Most hardy clumpers are shade admiring plants, but there are also some species that are sun-loving. There are also many bamboos that possess dark canes and some that are cold-hardy. Some of them never grow big.
The compact and solid roots develop in a compressed clump and increase gradually. Clumpers are just confined in the fields they grow. As a matter of fact, clumpers are not natively adapted to increasing more than several inches in one year. They maintain a pretty short root system. They are genetically incapable of extending more than a few inches per year and will usually produce discrete clumps. Every brand-new rhizome offers only a sole culm, found so close to its parent culm.
They go higher, growing canes quickly, and are easy to control. Sadly, not many of them are cold hardy. So, these bamboos are challenging to produce outside of zones 8 to 10. The cold-hardy clumping species which are chiefly mountain bamboos are very restricted in the climate zones they exist in.
The south clumpers are giants and progress so quick just like running bamboos. The obstacle is the restricted climate zones and the distribution of the canes in the clumper. The spaces within the canes are so small that most parts are very deformed due to a large number of dead canes and branches in the center of the clump. These impenetrable dead canes and branches are so hard to reach except if any of the outer canes are cut off first. Some tropical clumpers are badly managed and are hideous which gives bamboo a poor image.
What are the advantages of clumping bamboos?
- Have a superficial, non-invasive root system
- They will not break away from containers
- A quick growing grass type
- Great wind protection, sound barriers, and privacy protection
- Some can be raised in containers, gutters or raised beds
- Drought tolerant
- Some can be grown in confined areas
- They can be trimmed or shaped
- They develop in several attractive and interesting patterns, colors, and measurements
- Prevent soil erosion
- They can cool your garden especially in summer
- They purify air compared to other plants of its size
What are the different techniques of planting non-invasive clumping bamboo?
Culm planting has several benefits like easy, high survival and maturity rate. Aside from the variety of culm with or without its end, the entire culm or portion of it can be utilized. The last-mentioned with stump is the safest method because that part can increase the node shoots to germinate.
This process defeats the problem that most shoots on the culm don’t grow in developing culm plantings. The internodes of the stump and culm are not skipped off entirely, and the stump can furthermore be carried for sowing throughout its initial maturity days.
This is appropriate in the scattered bamboo platforms placed on smooth grounds.
Rising from the center of chosen parent bamboos, dig a straight channel.
Cover the soil in the base of the trench, feed with compost, and stir the manure and soil completely. Slice a chunk at the base and at the backside facing the trench.
Put the twigs and leaves of the initial node in the top part of culm, for other internodes just keep the central branch with two to three internodes and buds on every node and split off the other branches throughout the culm.
Force the parent bamboo gently into the trench, and coat it with a layer of 2 inches of soil and squeeze the covered soil firmly, simply exposing the leaves and branches of the end node.
Lastly, spread it with some straw and water it.
The nodes will grow roots and shoots throughout 100 days. In the following year saw off every internode into a self-supporting plant. Dig out those plantings and prepare them for planting new bamboos or transfer them into nursery ground for breeding plantings repeatedly.
This scheme involves establishing one or two noded culms.
Slice the tip of a culm, saw it into one-node or two-node pieces. A two-node culm is planted horizontally and a one-node culm is somewhat slanted or erect. Leave about 4 inches above the node and up to 10 inches underneath the node when sawing a one-node culm.
The extent of the two-node culm may be smaller than that of the one-node culm. The parts can be horizontally sawed. Be careful not to damage the culm. Plant one-node culm horizontally and make the nodal shoots face upwards.
The end of the bamboo can be harvested together. Healthy stump is the best thing for the new generation.
Protect the roots from damage when digging. They can be divided into halves for reproduction, and every half will produce roots and shoots. Trench and plant the stump horizontally or vertically. Then wrap it with 1 inch of soil and push the soil tightly.
Lastly, cover it with some hay and water it. Usually, the stump can produce shoots and spread roots in 30-50 days. It can be harvested and transplanted in the next season.
Branch cutting has two types which are the main and the sub-branch. The central and sub-branch cuttings can be used for reproduction. They produce adventitious buds that germinate and spread roots. This doesn’t harm the parent bamboo. The branches are easy to move. The survival rate is guaranteed.
Select branches which are solid and strong, with small internodes, and with plump buds on its first to third nodes and huge branch support with roots sprouting detail.
They will grow into young plants in 3 months.
They can be transplanted in 4 to 5 months after. The best time to do this is from March to April. Growing plantings by branch cutting have advanced quickly.
It is not required or even useful to enclose your clumping bamboo with a plastic root partition. But if unavoidable, they can be trimmed. Just remove further shoots at ground level. The root ball of a clump has to be left to occupy a particular size in order to produce culms of adult height.
The area needed may differ depending on the size of a variety. The extent of culms can be defined if too little space is left for its roots. These bamboos won’t be able to adjust their round aspect to a long, narrow scope, and its height may be restrained if there is limited room left for the roots. It is recommended to plant them for about 2 to 4 feet away from a wall to provide some opportunity for growth and area for managing between your bamboo and the wall.
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Non-spreading clumping bamboo varieties for your garden project
Let’s have a look at actual species that you could grow in your garden, in-ground or in containers.
Bambusa genus is a huge variety of clumping bamboos. They have several branches appearing from the nodes. These branches can grow as tall as 35ft. These bamboos are indigenous to Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, Papua New Guinea, and the Northern Territory of Australia. According to some sources, they are also adapted in different countries like Africa and Latin America.
Bambusa multiplex or Alphonse Karr
The evergreen Alphonse Karr variety is famous for fences or high screens and is non-invasive. They have charming stems that are radiantly striped green or yellow including fresh pinkish and greenish growth. It can be kept at around 8 to 10 feet height with random pruning.
Bambusa ventricosa or Buddhas’s Belly
Bambusa Ventricosa or Buddha’s Belly is traditional decorative bamboo for hobbyists. It is known for its unusual habit to produce protruding culms or bellies which is directly impacted by the plant’s water weight. It is additionally famous for its capability to adjust to altering signs of growing environment.
Borinda Lushiensis or Yunan 4
Borinda Yunnan 4 is a tall bamboo with the most amazingly colored culms of a vibrant blue. It is the highest of its genus that grows up to 25ft. The characteristic of this variety is its dense green leaves. They are best located in semi-shade areas or a screened spot.
Bambusa Multiplex or Riviereorum is a heat-loving and deer-resistant bamboo. These species die when the ground temperature reached 8°F but will eventually grow back in summer. It can be raised as an ornamental grass. The leaves and stems stay green when the temperature is above 15°F.
Bambusa Ventricosa Kimmei or Yellow Buddha Belly Bamboo
The Bambusa Ventricosa Kimmei or Yellow Buddha Belly Bamboo is the most outstanding ornamental bamboo. Its tremendous flexibility and hardiness make it an exceptional alternative for various purposes like privacy screening, fences, windbreaks, bonsai and a lot more. It is also recognized to be remarkably drought-resistant and more receptive to soaked soil forms than other species.
Tell us about your garden project! Where are you going to plant your bamboo plants?
If running bamboo were going to take over the world, it would have done so thousands of years ago. There are running species (temperate cold hardy, Leptomorph) of bamboo which we love and there are clumping (Pachymorph) species. These species are commonly defined by their rooting (rhizome) characteristics. For simplicity sake, there are two major types of rhizome developments. There are many other aspects such as long neck versus short neck pachymorph and even hybrids root structures but we will keep it simple.
Clumping bamboo displays pachymorph or sympodial components to their rhizome structure. Meaning that each rhizome turns upward to form a culm. Running bamboo exhibit leptomorph or monopodial rhizomes. This is characterized by an independent underground stem from which aerial culms develop. We dislike the clumping species and specialize in cold hardy runners. We currently grow 152 different species of which around twenty are clumping species. The clumping bamboo has never impressed us with their looks or growth rate. We did have some nice Bambusa multiplex varieties that reached 8 to 12 feet in height just under a decade. For many years they were top killed each winter, but finally gained the root structure to remain evergreen, until it died completely in a cold 2008 winter.
Which one will provide the best bamboo screening?
Running bamboo can provide a serene privacy screen or a beautiful bamboo grove to walk through. Runners with easy maintenance can make a dense natural screen very effective in urban landscapes to provide privacy. They form very vertical privacy screens providing dense screening even in a narrow planting site.
Clumpers for screening purposes leave a lot to be desired as they are narrow at the base and weep over at the tops leaving huge gaps between each bamboo plantings. To the right are photos of clumping bamboo planted in zone 8 during the early 1950’s.
Where can they grow?
There is a running species for most all climate zones. From the cold of climate Zone 5 to the warmth of the tropics, there is a running species suited for all applications.
Clumpers are very limited to the areas they can grow, even though there are cold hard and tropical varieties of clumping bamboo. The cold hardy clumping species ( mostly mountain bamboo) are very limited in the climate zones they can live in. They take years to reach 8 to 12 feet in mature heights. In climate zones 7 and warmer, clumping species struggle to survive and usually die due to the summer heat and humidity. In colder climates, they will do fine if you desire a slow growing bamboo that matures at 8 to 12 feet in height. For screening purposes they leave a lot to desire as they are narrow at the base and weep over at the tops leaving huge gaps between each bamboo plantings.
Tropical clumpers can only be grown in very warm climate zones such as zone 8 and 9. The tropical clumpers are giants and can grow very fast like running bamboo. The problem is the limited climate zones and the spacing of the canes within the clumper. The spaces between the culms (canes) are so close most specimens are very unsightly due to the large amount of dead canes and limbs in the interior of the clump. These dense dead canes and limbs cannot be reached unless some of the outside canes are cut away first. The tropical clumpers I have seen in my travels have been poorly maintained and are unsightly giving bamboo a bad image. Even a well kept botanical garden such as Fairchild Botanical Gardens in Miami, FL which we visited in 2003 for a bamboo meeting, had thousands of unsightly dead canes in their clumping bamboo. A grove of running bamboo is unparalleled in my book and we have seen thousands of groves over the past 50 plus years.
This is an example of Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’ in climate zone 7. It generally comes back in the Spring if the winter is not too severe. Most of the U.S. is in a climate zone 7 or colder, so you can expect similar to worse results. The green bamboo in the background is temperate running bamboo. The trailer on the right if full of clumping bamboo. These were removed from a house in Highland Park. A high end suburb of Dallas, TX. They did fine for many years until one winter it stayed in the teens for a few days. The real questions with clumpers in marginal climate zones if not “if” they will die, it is “when” they will die. These were replaced with temperate running bamboo and the customer has been worry free ever since. If you desire an evergreen privacy screen, running bamboo is the best option
How can I control them?
Control of running bamboo is simple and there are numerous methods which we have listed on our web site. Mowing your lawn as always along with root pruning twice a year around the desired grove perimeter are the most common methods. There is also the in ground barrier containment method.
Control of clumping bamboo is almost impossible. It is not as aggressive, but is forceful about where it wants to grow. In ground root barriers have a harder time controlling clumping bamboo. Because of the higher force exerted, we recommend our thickest variety of Bamboo Shield, 100 mil x 36″. It is not possible to root prune a clumping species to control it. Running bamboo follow the path of least resistance and change directions when they become impeded. Clumpers are persistent and will force their way through obstacles in their outwardly spiraling root path. Never plant a clumping species right next to a foundation or concrete driveway.
The picture to the left clumping bamboo that was removed. It tends to grow tight at the bottom and expand at the top. The new growth occurs on the perimeter of the plant causing a fluming effect, leaving dead and older canes in the middle. Due to space constraints, this was an unwise choice for this application. It was removed and replaced with Phyllostachys Nigra Henon. A beautiful running bamboo that can be easily controlled with barrier. Here, we are watering the bamboo after the job was completed. The bamboo is installed and worry free. This will provide a excellent privacy screen and will add another element of beauty to this amazing home.
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More Information About Clumping Bamboo
How to take care of garden bamboo plants
Once you have chosen your favorite clumping bamboo, you should plant it in well-drained soil (bamboo plants do not like wet feet) and in the correct light exposure and expect to wait for a few years for it to mature. Once mature, clumping bamboo plants produce new culms (bamboo terminology for stems) each year that are a few inches from the previous year’s growth. Clumping bamboo plants form a slowly expanding, dense clump. As with all bamboo plants, the older culms die after 4 or 5 years and will look best if removed, but other than that, clumping bamboos are low maintenance.
Why grow bamboo plants in the outdoor garden?
Bamboo plants are wonderful outdoor plants that add exotic, asian, ‘feng shui’ flair to your garden. We have sought out some hard-to-find, cold hardy clumping bamboo plants that are perfect for the temperate garden. These include gorgeous selections of Bambusa, Borinda, Fargesia, Sinocalamus, and Yushania.
Which is best…clumping bamboo or running bamboo?
There is just one problem with certain types of bamboo plants…some species will spread invasively in the garden and into your neighbor’s garden, and then into their neighbor’s garden and on and on. Spreading bamboo plants are called runners or leptomorphs, and they are high-maintenance garden thugs that we do not like.
Lucky for you, there is a class of bamboo plants that do not run and are well behaved. These are called clumping bamboo, or pachymorphs, and clumping bamboo plants form tight, circular clumps of graceful, arching stems. Clumping bamboo is the only type of bamboo plant for sale here at Plant Delights Nursery.
Bambusa textilis ‘Kanapaha’ is a large clumping bamboo that is winter hardy in Florida.
Bamboo has a bad reputation with Florida gardeners. And while it’s true that some kinds do spread aggressively, there is a whole category of bamboos that do not.
There are actually two groups of bamboos: runners and clumpers. Running bamboos can grow rampantly and don’t stay in one place, but clumping bamboos grow only a few inches wider each year.
Clumping bamboo has a tight growing habit which makes it an excellent visual screen and sound barrier, all without endangering the neighborhood. Choose a clumping bamboo whose cold tolerance fits your area. South Floridians have a large and diverse group of bamboo to choose from, but some types thrive in North Florida as well.
For best performance, plant your bamboo in full or part sun. Bamboo will tolerate a wide variety of soil types, but for best growth, water and fertilize yours on a regular schedule, and don’t forget to mulch.
Uses for Cut Bamboo
Bamboo is often compared to trees and shrubs, but it’s actually a fast-growing grass. This speedy rate of growth makes it a popular renewable resource for all sorts of items. Bamboo is used to create flooring, as well as bed sheets, towels, and other fabrics. Outside, you can harvest bamboo to create fencing, trellises, or even Asian-inspired water features.
- Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’ — UF/IFAS Extension Nassau County
- Bamboo Control
Also on Gardening Solutions
- Bamboo Muhly
Clumping bamboo is non-invasive, available in a wide array of spectacular varieties, and creates the landscape look of a tropical paradise.
There is no South Florida plant as impressive as bamboo.
From dwarf varieties to “Giant Timber” this is one of the most exotic, beautiful, and fast growing plants for home landscapes.
Clumping varieties will expand outward from the original plant…unlike the very invasive running bamboo, which sends out shoots underground to pop up in surprising and inconvenient places.
Some cultivars grow more open with visible canes (known as “culms”), while others are very dense and bushy with foliage extending to the ground.
Besides its good looks, clumping bamboo is a long-lived, hardy plant that thrives with minimal care. It can be used for privacy, shade, as a backdrop or focal point.
Planting bamboo is a long-term commitment.
These plants, once established, are nearly indestructible.
In fact, after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, a bamboo grove at the point of impact began sprouting new shoots in a matter of days!
You must provide enough space for clumping bamboo to grow new canes and spread out.
Choose the type that fits your space and has an ultimate height you can live with.
When you go to the nursery to buy bamboo, expect to come home with a somewhat sparse and scraggly-looking plant that you just paid a pretty penny for.
Young bamboo in a pot looks totally different than it will in even a year’s time in the ground.
The musical sounds of bamboo are pleasant and enjoyable to most people (though not all).
Canes clunking together in the wind can produce a gentle, hollow knocking sound.
If the canes are very close together, the breeze moving them against each other creates a distinct kissing sound.
And the wind ruffling the leaves like feathers makes a soft, whirring noise.
Popular Tropical Bamboo Varieties
- Giant Timber (Bambusa oldhamii) Grows 40 to 60 feet with large green canes.
- Wamin “Dwarf Buddha Belly Bamboo” (Bambusa vulgaris ‘Wamin’) An open-growth plant with very noticeable “bellied” canes. It grows 15 to 20 feet.
- Mexican Weeping (Otatea acuminata) Super-fine textured, fluffy plant with a weepy appearance. It can get 15 to 20 feet tall.
- Alphonse Karr (Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’) Showy golden-yellow canes with green pinstripes that vary on each section. Grows 20 to 30 feet.
- Slender Weavers (Bambusa textilis var. gracilis) A distinctly upright grower with thin canes and a compact base, great for smaller areas. It grows 30 to 40 feet.
- Golden Goddess (Bambusa multiplex ‘Golden Goddess’) A small but full variety with slender yellow canes. Grows to about 15 feet.
- Blue Bamboo (Bambusa chungi) Soft blue canes covered with a powdery coating while young. Grows to 30 to 40 feet.
- Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) Striking black canes on an open-growth bamboo. Grows about 20 to 25 feet.
Clumping bamboo prefers sun to part shade – with at least 4 hours of sun per day.
Most varieties are cold-tolerant and will do very well in Zone 9B or Zone 10.
Bamboo grows with gusto – an extremely fast grower from newborn shoot to full-size cane within 60 days.
The new shoots, which emerge the same thickness they will be when mature, are vulnerable to rough treatment so avoid damaging them.
Bamboo care is easy once the plants have been well-established (about a year in the ground).
Add organic peat moss and composted cow manure to the hole when you plant.
No trimming is needed. However, if bamboo shoots are coming up where they’re not wanted, cut them off at the base.
Water on a regular basis. The planting area should drain well but these plants like consistent, even moisture.
Situate the plant in such a way (if you can) where the base stays a bit shaded and the top gets good sunlight.
You can mulch heavily to help retain moisture in the soil around the plant’s base.
If the leaves are curling, the plant isn’t getting enough water. This is imperative during the first year in the ground.
After that, the plant is somewhat drought-tolerant, though regular watering keeps it attractive and the foliage green.
A newly planted bamboo may drop leaves initially – don’t worry, new ones will soon emerge to fill in.
Bamboo can be messy. VERY messy. Dried and fallen leaves can blanket the earth (or patio or road) around the plant. Avoid placing bamboo near an open pool for this reason.
You can generally whisk away the lightweight dried leaves with a leaf blower.
Some leaf stalks may fall off the canes and will have to be picked up. Regular waterings and planting in the right spot minimizes the mess.
Fertilize with a good-quality granular palm fertilizer 3 times a year – in spring, summer and autumn.
This plant can get mealybug, but no treatment is necessary. Mealybug is no match for bamboo.
This depends on the variety, but as a general rule of thumb when growing a “hedge” of bamboo, space plants 5 feet apart.
Again, depending on which of the clumping bamboos you’re planting, place it 5 to 12 feet (or more) from the house,
Ditto for the nearest garden plant, the sidewalk and the drive.
Larger varieties should go in at a safe distance from the house where they won’t hit it if they bend in a strong wind.
Forget growing bamboo in a pot – it’s way too fast a grower and needs its feet on the ground.
Landscape uses for clumping bamboo
- single yard specimen
- backdrop for other tropicals
- privacy screen
- windbreak (larger varieties)
GOOD SNOWBIRD PLANT? YES (with year-round irrigation)
COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Ruella (“Mexican Petunia”), papyrus, white bird of paradise, macho fern, elephant ears, heliconia, hair grass, walking iris, and selloum philodendron.
Other plants you might like: Areca Palm, Arenga Palm
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- Ornamental Grasses
By Frank Giles|August 21, 2018
The bamboo market is strong due to the many different products that can be produced with the plant.
Photo courtesy of OnlyMoso USA
Diego Cespedes believes in bamboo. In his role as Grower Advisor for OnlyMoso, he is spreading the word about the crop’s potential to growers in Florida. The Italian-based company started planting in 2014 with more than 1,000 grower partners in Europe and has grown more than 6,000 acres with the first partial harvest this past spring.
But, Cespedes says there’s plenty of room to grow, and Florida is a good location to raise the crop. The market demand for bamboo shoots and trunks is strong due to the surprising number of uses for the crop.
Bamboo is used in more than 1,500 products. The OnlyMoso Commercial Division has more than 30 different product offerings that contain bamboo, including teas and a wide array of food items.
According to Cespedes, bamboo represents a $60 billion global industry that is growing. The U.S. is the largest importer of bamboo products, accounting for 95% of its current consumption. The U.S. imports $519 million worth of bamboo shoots annually. China is the largest exporter of bamboo, shipping $32 billion annually.
“Until now, the U.S. was not capitalizing on this sustainable industry,” Cespedes says. “So, OnlyMoso USA was incorporated in late 2015, and in May 2016, opened for business and started developing nurseries in the state. Last year, we planted the first tropical bamboo in Central Florida. In September, we are importing our first 20-foot container of bottled shoots from OnlyMoso Italy to start warming up the food industry, showing what we will be producing in a couple of years from our own domestic harvest with our U.S. farmers partner alliance. We have a strong and ambitious marketing plan, through our OnlyMoso Harvest company, to go after multiple markets. But the first market we will pursue is the food industry.”
Bamboo trunks and its shoots (center) grow fast in Florida’s climate. The plants also are relatively low maintenance to manage.
Photo courtesy of OnlyMoso USA
A Fit for Florida
According to Cespedes, to fill the current import demand for bamboo shoots in the U.S., growers would need to plant 26,000 acres of the crop. He says Florida and other southern tier states are prime locations for planting.
About 250 acres have been planted in Florida, through OnlyMoso USA, and 300 acres in other states. But, given the demand and good growing climate, he expects acres to ramp up quickly.
“The plantings we have in Florida are doing really well,” Cespedes says. “There is one planting near Ocala where the grower’s two daughters go out every day just to check and see how much the bamboo has grown. It is growing really fast.”
In Florida, citrus, vegetable, blueberry, and row crop growers have put in plantings. OnlyMoso USA has a grower-partner program to provide certified bamboo plants for planting and to purchase the product, and thru their 10-year guaranteed crop buyback agreement, they will pick up the shoots and trunks on the farm after harvest. Traditional financing programs can be utilized as well.
As part of the grower-partner program, the initial planting is about $20,000 per acre, or a $10,000 per acre investment with a 50% deferral program, until year three. Annual costs include $600 per acre for fertilizer and about $500 per acre for irrigation. Cespedes says there is no need to apply insecticides or fungicides on the crop.
Once the bamboo is established, the plantings can produce gross returns of up to $30,000 per acre for the Moso variety and up to $40,000 per acre for the ‘Asper’ variety. The crop is harvested twice per year, and the plants have a 50- to 80-year production lifespan.
“It is relatively low-maintenance and highly productive,” Cespedes adds. “And, our company will develop and market bamboo products in various industries, including food, bio-energy, textile, construction, and paper. With the human health benefits of the plant and its positive environmental profile, we believe bamboo has big potential here in Florida and many states.”
Giles is editor of Florida Grower, a Meister Media Worldwide publication. See all author stories here.
About Bamboo Plants
How Bamboo Plants Grow
Bamboo plants produce new canes (culms) in the Spring. These shoots emerge out of the ground and grow in height and diameter for approx 60 days, although this can vary for each species. During this growing period it will produce new limbs and leaves.
After the period of growth, the new bamboo canes do not grow in height or diameter again. It will put on new foliage every year, and typically a cane will last for 10 years.
The bamboo plant is actually a member of the grass family and is classified as a colony plant. It uses energy from the existing plant to produce more plants the next year increasing the size of the colony. The new plants will grow in the same manner. New shoots emerge to turn into a cane with limbs and leaves within approximately a 60 day period.
It takes a bamboo plantabout three years to get established. Once established the new shoots that emerge in the Spring (they will still only grow for approx 60 days) will continue to get bigger and more numerous from year to year. It takes a varying number of years (4-15) for different species to reach their maximum size. This is dependent on species selection, soil, sunlight, climate and watering conditions.
The Bamboo plant is a noble plant – both gracious and hard working
No matter what their size, all bamboo plants are decorative, graceful plants. They have so many different characteristics from their pointed, rustling leaves, their decorative culms (canes) with raised nodes and an amazing array of colours – some can be pale honey, warm yellow, bright green, dark green, dusty blue, deep crimson, near-purple and sophisticated black. Many are striped and some are spotted like leopard skin.
What’s more, the main reasons we love bamboo, they are evergreen, frost-resistant – and largely untroubled by pests and diseases. They can be grown as dramatic, solitary specimens, in combination with other plants, as groundcover or even as a hedge.
Bamboos are native to all the major continents, except for Europe, but most of those in cultivation come from China & Japan. In Chinese philosophy, the bamboo symbolises longevity, durability and endurance, and is one of “The Four Gentlemen of the Garden”, along with the orchid, plum blossom and the chrysanthemum.
Is bamboo really hardy enough to survive in Scotland and the rest of the UK?
This is the main area of concern for people who want to have bamboo in their garden – will it survive the harsh winters in the UK, especially those we get north of the border in Scotland (here in Aberdeenshire we have seen temperatures plummet as low as -15 degrees centigrade)? The real answer to this question is that each species of bamboo has its own limits for tolerating conditions such as heat, cold, drought and wind. Scottish Bamboo, however, only sell bamboo proven to survive in cold climates where temperatures can reach well below -15 degrees C. In fact many of the bamboos we sell will survive to extremes such as -25 degrees C. Within the description of each bamboo listed on our website, the hardiness rating will be given.
Other common myths about bamboo explained:
Is bamboo evergreen? Yes, bamboo plants are evergreen, they don’t lose their leaves during the autumn and winter months. Leaf loss only very rarely happens and is usually a sign the plant is distressed i.e. requires more water or pot bound.
Will bamboo take over my garden? Most varities of bamboo grown in the UK are reasonably well behaved and grow by forming clumps. There are spreading varieties however these can be easily contained by the use of root barriers or by cutting away any unwanted culms as they appear through the ground.
DID YOU KNOW? – Amazing Facts About Bamboo
Helps Reverse Global Warming: Incredible and true, bamboo produces the MOST OXYGEN of all the plants! And it consumes more carbon dioxide than any other plant.
Sustainably Harvested & Annually Renewable: Mature bamboos produce new shoots and canes each year, which can be harvested individually without destroying the plant.
Fastest Growing Plant on the Planet: New shoots of some species have been recorded to grow up to 4 feet per day in their shooting season! (this is highly unlikely in Scotland or the rest of the UK).
Environmental Cleanup: Bamboo plants are very effective at removing metals and other toxic substances from soils and water.
Diverse: There are over 1500 species of bamboo in the world.
Stronger Than Steel: Bamboo has a Tensile strength of 28,000 per square inch, vs. 23,000 for steel – amazing!.
Provides Safe Housing: Over 1 billion people in the world live in bamboo houses. Bamboo buildings have even proven to be earthquake proof.
Nutrition for Humans and Animals: Bamboo shoots have been eaten throughout Asia for centuries, and branches and leaves make good fodder for animals. It contains Germanium, which reverses the aging process in cells.
Ancient Healing: Various parts of many bamboo species have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.
Did You Know? Thomas Edison used bamboo filaments in his first light bulbs, and apparently one of those bulbs is still burning today in Washington, DC!
Hardy: Bamboo was the first plant life to return after the atomic bombings in Japan. Also, some bamboos are cold hardy to minus 30 degrees celcius
Bamboo is Environmentally Friendly & Sustainable
There is no plant that combats global warming like bamboo does. Bamboo minimises CO2 emissions and generates up to 35% more oxygen than any other stand of trees.
Bamboo removes CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis by using carbon as an energy source and converting it into plant tissue which releases oxygen (O2) as a by-product.
The haute bamboo
THEY are traipsing around Cliff Sussman’s home in La Verne, navigating a steep hillside that’s wildly overgrown with bamboo — scores of tropical and subtropical species spreading underground, thick cones and tender new shoots poking up as robust mature specimens tilt against one another, fighting for space and light.
Sussman has labeled some of his plants but admits with a grin that he’s not 100% sure what’s what. The nomenclature is often questionable, the taxonomy ill-defined, even to fanatical collectors like his visitors, members of the American Bamboo Society gathered for a tour. After all, the plant comes in more than 1,200 forms, excluding the mutations and as-yet-unidentified subspecies.
More than its usefulness as a privacy screen or the instant tranquillity its arched branches and fluttering leaves can impart on even the smallest urban garden, it is this ancient grass’ astounding diversity that inspires the cult of bamboo. Exotic varieties are graced with stalks — culms is the technical term — in black, brown, purple or orange. They can be striped, mottled or tortoiseshell, as thin as a pencil or as fat as a telephone pole. On some species, leaves are feathered like fine lace. On others, they are 2 feet long and as wide as a hand.
The number of possibilities seem astronomical — and at times, so do the prices.
“There was a tortoiseshell bamboo that sold for $9,000 — a 5-gallon pot,” says Bob Dimattia, better known as Bamboo Bob, a collector, propagator and seller of the plant in Vista, Calif., and a director of the American Bamboo Society. “I got a black bamboo on my property that was basically two twigs in a pot — $1,200,” he says, referring to the price he paid. “The passion of the collectors is the drive.”
That passion will be on full display Sept. 16, when the American Bamboo Society holds its next sale at Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas. The twice-yearly event draws nearly 1,000 collectors from all over the country in search of the most exotic specimens. Frequenters of past sales say the event has, at times, been marked by frenzied buying, with some collectors going so far as to work in teams — one as a blocker and the other as a grabber.
The things people will do for great bamboo.
GIVEN the abundant varieties available in nurseries and online, it’s no wonder some gardeners go a little crazy. Bamboo can grow straight or curved, in clumps that are round or square. Nodes, the joint-like divisions of the culm, can be smooth, knobby, even diamond-shaped.
But any complete discussion of bamboo has to start with the one constant: the plant’s infamous reputation. Bamboo can be invasive, and it’s easy to lose a garden to a little plant bought in a 5-gallon tub. Three years after it lands in the ground, it may rule your garden — and your neighbor’s.
Perhaps the two most popular bamboos that have contributed to this reputation are golden bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea) and black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra). Both are runners, the type of temperate bamboo that collectors say has a three-year growth cycle: The first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps and the third year it leaps. Rhizomes, the food-storing stems that grow underground, can spread rapidly, undetected, before sending up shoots.
Not so with the prized subtropical and tropical clumping bamboos. Clumpers are well-mannered by comparison. Their rhizomes grow short distances before sending out shoots in an expanding circle, as the name implies. They propagate fast, some rising 100 feet with culms that are 10 inches in diameter.
“When someone walks into my yard, the first thing I tell them is that everything I talk about is a clumper,” says Jim Rehor, a retired electrician who fell in love with bamboo 10 years ago and became a dealer.
He has more than 200 species sprouting in hundreds of 5- and 25-gallon tubs covering his Chino Hills garden. Among his donations to the Los Angeles County Arboretum is a rare and expensive Indian bamboo that has grown into a graceful 30-foot black clump arcing down the path from the park’s bamboo tunnel.
“I started out as a collector like most of us but then realized you could divide them and make more, and people buy them and even fight over them,” Rehor says. “People go crazy.”
Rehor supplied most of the bamboo that An Do planted at his home in Garden Grove, a corner lot close to Little Saigon. His tidy frontyard is just like his neighbors’: neat lawn, cinder-block wall, a few short palms. It won’t be that way for long. Do planted six giant clumpers including one of the most popular tropicals, Bambusa beecheyana, and one of the most prized, Dendrocalamus asper, a speedy grower whose black culm can rise to 100 feet.
“I know one man who had one of these. It was a little stalk in a pot — just like a No. 2 pencil,” Do says. “After two years he had about 30 huge bamboos. Unbelievable.”
He points to a month-old planting with a 12-foot shoot. The secret, he says, is daily watering, loose soil and leaf mulch that provides enough silica to keep the plant happy.
He’s most proud of his Dendrocalamus giganteus, a species with leaves up to 20 inches long and a native to his home country, Vietnam. For Do, bamboo is a deep part of his identity. Bamboo grew everywhere in the Mekong Delta, he says, where his family fled after the fall of Saigon.
“If you went into my house in Vietnam you could not find a nail.” Do says. “It was 100% bamboo — the rafters, the posts, twine, tools. I loved it. You come home and just look at it, and it relieves all your stress.”
Ed Reyes of Montebello echoes the sentiment for bamboo’s sway over the senses.
“When I was a kid I wanted to grow bamboo,” he says. “It was exotic and beautiful, and you see so many different colors. Sitting here and hearing the wind rustling the leaves and the creaking — it’s like being on a ship. It’s so soothing, so peaceful. My oasis.”
His home is just 20 minutes east of downtown, on a double lot bordered by train tracks and a school bus parking lot across the street. When Reyes was growing up here, his parents grew fig trees and passion fruit. When he inherited the property, he decided to fulfill a childhood dream, transforming the baking backyard into his own private Gilligan’s Island in the city, complete with a bamboo canopy.
Five years ago he started buying runners and a few clumpers, including the clumping giant timber bamboo, Bambusa oldhamii, sold at many nurseries. Now the runners are all corralled in pots, and the B. oldhamii is being given away slowly, replaced by a dozen more exotic species including a wispy Mexican weeping bamboo (Otatea acuminata aztecorum), a Timor black (Bambusa lako) rising in broad V-shaped clump, a stand of green- and yellow-striped painted bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris ‘Vittata,’ also called golden Hawaiian bamboo) and a D. asper that started as a finger-size stalk four years ago. Now it’s 30 feet high with dozens of black culms.
“This is like a young adult,” Reyes says. “He’ll get 50, 60 feet high.”
Why bamboo? Reyes doesn’t have to think: “Instant gratification.”
FOR most bamboo collectors, speed is a large part of the appeal. The plant’s legendary growth — up to 2 feet a day in optimal conditions for some species — is achievable with a minimum amount of gardening acumen. It’s hard to kill bamboo.
“They call it ironweed in China,” Dimattia says. “It’s what comes up after everything else is dead and gone.”
Unfortunately, as soon as the plant enters its once-a-lifetime flowering cycle, it’s almost impossible to save. Each bamboo has an inner clock that runs for decades, sometimes a century or longer. When a species finally enters the flowering cycle, nearly all of that species produces flowers and sets large quantities of seed at the same time, sometimes for years. The process is called gregarious flowering. Then, for reasons researchers don’t entirely understand, most of the species dies.
“It’s very strange,” Dimattia says. “No other plant does that.”
For homeowners who have seen their yards taken over by running bamboo, mortality isn’t such a bad thing.
Tim Phillips, formerly horticulture director at Quail Botanical Gardens and now the superintendent at the L.A. County Arboretum, knows something about how to kill, or at least control, invasive bamboo. One runner took over a quarter of an acre in the arboretum, squeezing out other bamboos and palms. Stopping it required a three-pronged approach: cutting it back, letting it grow to 3 feet, then applying weed killer. The process had to be repeated three times.
“You have to be as tenacious as the bamboo,” Phillips says. “You have to wear it down.”
Or you can try a plastic or cement barrier. That was the approach that Drew Zager tried at his Holmby Hills home, where he wanted screens to block noise from nearby Sunset Boulevard as well as a new house next door. He needed to control his extensive bamboo plantings, which includes a few runners such as the Phyllostachys viridis ‘Robert Young’ (yellow with green stripes) and the ‘Reverse Robert Young’ (green with yellow stripes).
“I actually like the runner because it’s cheaper,” he says. “I bought this very tropical house and wanted to continue the tropical feel. Everybody said, ‘Don’t do bamboo. It’ll take over.’ Yes, but not if you do the preparation.”
Zager considered digging a trench and putting down a 36-inch concrete barrier, but he decided on a root barrier instead. The 20-millimeter-thick liner, when planted at a slant at least 3 feet down, will prevent runners from spreading, according to the arboretum’s Phillips.
It’s true that runners are less expensive — some only $10 to $30 for a 1-gallon container — and in many cases they’re more ornamental. In contrast, a popular clumper such as Otatea fimbriata can be $150 a pop, while a rare 60-foot black giant such as D. asper ‘Hitam’ can be three times as much.
Costly, yes, which perhaps is why the most consistent advice from collectors is to plan thoroughly before you spend. Some plants droop, others grow straight. You need imagination to envision how an 80-foot bush will play out in your garden.
What you don’t need is patience.
This is bamboo.
A touch of earthy decor
Bamboo continues to be the darling of the eco-minded because it’s a fast-growing, renewable resource. Designers and manufacturers keep finding new, sometimes surprising ways of employing the material. Among the latest:
A guide to get the bamboo going
When buying bamboo, consider the species’ height and tendency to droop. The Species Source List at www.americanbamboo.org explains how various bamboo will behave. Choosing the right one is critical. A bamboo such as Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’ may be popular but prove susceptible to mealybugs. Advice from local growers:
Mexican weeping bamboo. Otatea acuminata aztecorum. A droopy variety with fine, narrow leaves. Grows to 20 feet. Drought-resistant.
Tropical black bamboo. Gigantochloa atroviolacea. Green culms turn black-brown after a year. Grows to 50 feet, sometimes higher.
Weaver’s bamboo. Bambusa textilis. Grows in tight clumps, 20- to 30-feet tall. Small leaves. Green culms.
Buddha’s belly bamboo. Bambusa ventricosa. Culms can grow to 30 feet, sometimes higher, and have distinctive bulging internodes, usually when grown in containers or poor soil. Green culms turn gold when mature. Also available in dwarf version, B. vulgaris ‘Wamin,’ which grows to 16 feet and also has swollen internodes.
Mountain bamboo. Chusquea circinata. From Mexico. Dark drooping culms. Some Chusquea will climb onto surrounding trees.
Maintenance: Do not rake away all the fallen leaves because they keep the soil soft and moist and provide a source of silica, essential to healthy bamboo. For optimum growth, you will have to fertilize regularly. Newly planted specimens may need a gallon of water or more a day.
Young plants: Too much water or fertilizer can kill tender plants, however. Water in small doses several times daily.
Pots: Bamboo will grow in containers, although less vigorously.
Pura Vida Tropicals: At Bob Dimattia’s home-based nursery, you can see or buy 135 types of bamboo on 1 acre. By appointment only. 1541 Sunset Drive, Vista. (760) 519-0397.
Quail Botanical Gardens: Home of the American Bamboo Society and site of what many regard as the country’s best collection of rare bamboo. 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas; (760) 436-3036, www.qbgardens.com.
Zone 9 Bamboo Varieties – Growing Bamboo Plants In Zone 9
Growing bamboo plants in zone 9 provides a tropical feel with rapid growth. These speedy growers may be running or clumping, with runners being the invasive type without management. Clumping bamboo is more suited to warm climates, but running types can also thrive in zone 9. There are many bamboo varieties for zone 9. Just be certain you have room for some of the larger types and a barrier strategy if you opt for a running species.
Growing Bamboo Plants in Zone 9
The biggest true grass is the bamboo. This monster of a plant is a tropical to temperate genera, with the biggest concentration found in the Asia Pacific region. However, there are not only warm weather bamboo but some species found in cold mountain regions.
Zone 9 bamboo will rarely experience freezing conditions but it may suffer if it is grown in an arid area. If you do choose to plant bamboo in zone 9, extra irrigation may be necessary to fuel this grasses phenomenal growth.
Bamboo thrives in warm regions. This plant can grow up to 3 inches (7.6 cm.) per day or more dependent upon species. Most species of running bamboo are thought of a nuisances, but you can plant them in stout containers or dig around the plant and install a barrier under the soil. These varieties are in the Phyllostachys, Sasa, Shibataea, Pseudosasa, and Pleiboblastus groups. If you choose to use a running variety without a barrier, make sure you have plenty of room for a grove.
Clumping plants are easier to manage. They do not spread by rhizomes and stay in a tidy habit. There are species of both bamboo varieties for zone 9.
Running Species of Zone 9 Bamboo
If you are feeling really adventurous, then the running varieties are for you. They do make a spectacular display and are more cold hardy overall than the clumping varieties.
Black bamboo is an especially stunning plant. It is more purple than black but very striking and has feathery green leaves.
A cousin in the Phyllostachys family, is ‘Spectabilis.’ The new culms are red while mature culms are bright yellow with green joints.
Chinese walking stick is a monster of a plant with large joints. Plants in the Sasa and Pleiboblastus groups are smaller and easier to manage with some forms variegated.
Clumping Bamboo for Zone 9
The easiest warm weather bamboo are the clumping varieties. Most of these are in the family Fargesia.
Blue fountain is a species with especially appealing culms. These are dark gray and purple with airy plumes of green leaves.
A smaller clumper is Golden Goddess with bright yellow mature canes.
Silverstripe Hedge has variegated foliage, while Royal bamboo is evergreen and has blue young canes. An interesting ornamental species is Painted bamboo with golden canes that bear “drips” of green.
Other great choices for zone 9 include:
- Green Screen
- Green Panda
- Asian Wonder
- Tiny Fern
- Weaver’s Bamboo
- Emerald Bamboo
It is amazing to me still that few people know the genus Fargesia. There are few plants that can rival the merits of this woody grass: fast-growing, cold-tolerant, evergreen, shade-tolerant, deer-resistant. A perfect under-story screening, the leafy stems sway in the slightest breeze and bend but don’t break under snow cover. I need to first tell you that I am just way-tired of all the bamboo horror stories of bamboos invading suburban yards. The general misconception of such bad behavior needs to be re-directed to the negligent homeowners. These so-called “invasive” bamboos are LEPTOMORPH: having monopodial running rhizomes like many kinds of turf grass. These bamboos can spread vigorously and definitely need to be managed. All species of Phyllostachys, Sasa, Shibataea, Pseudosasa and Pleioblastus are RUNNING bamboos. (Unfortunately these are the bamboos most of the general public know and are afraid of!)
The Fargesia are bamboos which are PACHYMORPH: having sympodial clumping roots like the ornamental grass, Panicum. These bamboos enlarge slowly, forming a dense clump. The only genus of cold-hardy bamboos is Fargesia.
So, Fargesia are perennial woody evergreen grasses. They evolved primarily as under-story plants in the mountain forests of China, living under pines on slopes and along streams. Neighbors include the well-known garden plants of rhododendron and hydrangea, and mahonia.
Until recently, there were only a couple of species of Fargesia available to the American garden, imported over a hundred years ago from wild-collected plants originating from China. Within the species, F. nitida, multiple clones were in cultivation, showing varying forms and diversity. However within the past 5 years, most of these clones have begun flowering, which in the case of this species, is monocarpic, resulting in death of the plant. Needless to say, this is not a desired phenomenon in the garden landscape. Resulting from these mass flowerings, new genotypes arise. Very few have made it to the trade, as field-testing and selection takes many years.
For many decades, only one other Fargesia was available for home gardeners. Fargesia murieliae, which was the original collection of E.H. Wilson. Only one genotype was in cultivation, and all specimens flowered and died in the 1990s. Resulting from this flowering are many un-named seedlings, and they vary widely in their characteristics.
Other types of Fargesia that have been cultivated over the past 10 years in the U.S. include the following forms. These are great additions to the palette of woody plants – not to be confused with ornamental grasses, since these are indeed evergreen, permanent additions which mix well with traditional plants like rhododendron and hemlock as understory screen plants or single specimens.
This species is not well-known, yet it has the most beautiful arching habit and tolerates not only the frozen winters but heat and humidity. It was first introduced by UK plant guru Roy Lancaster, coming from northern Sichuan and southern Gansu, China. It can reach a height of 15 feet, but normally some like 10 ft. under average conditions. USDA cold hardiness zone 5-9.
Fargesia robusta ‘Pingwu’ Green Screen™
This clone has been cultivated as Fargesia robusta ‘Pingwu’ in Europe for over a decade. It is very upright, with persistent culm sheaths that add spring interest and texture. A clumping bamboo perfect for use as a hedge or screening plant, it has the great benefit of its non-invasive root system and robust size. This exciting new bamboo holds up well in the heat and humidity of the Southeastern U. S., unlike other Fargesia types. The maximum height is 18 ft. and USDA cold hardiness zone 6-9.
Fargesia rufa ‘Oprins Selection’ Green Panda™
This selection was cultivated as Fargesia ‘Rufa’ in Europe for several years. Oprins Plant NV received a new plant introduction award at Boskoop in Holland for this form in 2003. Subsequently, it was introduced into the U.S. in 2003 as Green Panda™. This clumping, non-invasive bamboo is extremely cold hardy and heat tolerant, and has enormous potential in landscapes across North America and Canada. It grows into a large clump (6-8 ft wide) with arching stems. The maximum height is 10 ft. maximum and culm diameter is 0.5 inches. USDA hardiness zone 5-9. Originally from Gansu, China, it is a favorite food of the giant panda. Remarkably, this form grows well in shade as well as full sun. It can grow in a wide variety of environments, from Atlanta to Boston to Chicago to Portland, Oregon.
Fargesia scabrida ‘Oprins Selection’ Asian Wonder™
A new introduction originating also from China, this clumping bamboo has an interesting overall character of very narrow leaves and a graceful appearance. Stems show great color, with orange culm sheaths and steely-blue new culms (stems). Culms mature to olive green. Maximum height is approximately 16 ft. USDA zone 5-8. This bamboo prefers sun to partial shade.
Propagation of temperate bamboos can be accomplished by traditional vegetative division, by seed (when available), or via micro propagation or “in vitro” tissue culture. Traditional vegetation is the most simple and the most widely used method, however it is both labor sensitive and time-sensitive, as the plants are quite vulnerable to stress during their active shooting periods. Seed propagation is rare due to the irregular and/or infrequent flowering cycles of most bamboos.
In vitro micro-propagation of bamboo is by far the best method for mass-production, although the technique is very difficult, with very specific protocols for each species and form. Micro-propagation can be done from seeds or from meristematic tissue, and from type species or selected clones. Micro-propagation (tissue culture) is simply taking a small piece of a plant and multiplying more plants from that small piece.
It takes about 9 months from initiation of the meristematic tissue to a rooted plug, and approximately and additional 3-6 months from a rooted plug into a gallon-size pot for a saleable plant capable of withstanding installation into the landscape. Best time to plant in the landscape is spring.
The genus Fargesia contains wonderful types and forms of non-invasive bamboo that can enhance landscapes across many temperate zones, adding unique texture and year-round appeal as a vigorous evergreen with versatility and function. Let’s look outside the box at the potential of these well-behaved bamboos in our landscapes, and consider Fargesia as a different kind of evergreen for hedges, for screens, or simply as an elegant specimen.
Susanne Lucas, Horticulturist
Pioneer Plants, LLC. www.BambooSelect.us
9 Bloody Pond Road, Plymouth, MA 02360 USA [email protected]
Pachymorph root system – see how compact?
Please click on the article link for more images…………….
The general rule is that temperate running bamboo is generally better suited to most of the Southeast than clumping bamboos. If you want a bamboo variety that you won’t have to worry about performing extremely well, go with a temperate running bamboo. However, if you don’t want to deal with the containment strategies of running bamboo or simply want something a little different, you do have options with clumping bamboo. The type of clumping bamboo that is right for you will depend a great deal on where you live. The problem with clumpers in much of the southeast is that they are either too sensitive to the cold or too sensitive to the heat. They are either subtropical or mountain varieties. This isn’t a list of all the types available that are possible to grow, but only the very best performers that have the best chance of doing well, which is what we carry.
Fargesias are mountain bamboos that are very cold hardy, but sensitive to summertime heat. They are best positioned with shade in the summer afternoon sun. Heat zone 5 and less will do best, but heat zone 6-8 can also grow limited species with proper care, including keeping it well watered in the summer. Heat zone 9 and above are not recommended.
In heat zone 6-8, we find Fargesia rufa to be the best performer, followed by Fargesia Robusta ‘Green Screen’ then Fargesia Robusta ‘Campbell.’
Bambusas are subtropical bamboos, some of which are hardy to 12°F.
Zone 7a and lower: not recommend
Zone 7b-8a: You can grow the species below, but be careful to protect from the coldest winter nights by planting in a warm microclimate (such as next to a south-facing brick wall) or be prepared to cover with rowcover or similar insulating fabric if it threatens to dip below 12°F.
Bambusa multiplex ‘Silverstripe’
Bambusa multiplex ‘Golden Goddess’
Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’
Bambusa multiplex ‘Tiny Fern’
Everything above is safe, can also add Bambusa textilis varieties.
For prices, availability, and descriptions, go to Nursery main page