Bamboo Information

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Few plants have been as interwoven with the affairs of man as bamboo. The cedar of the West Coast Indians come closest, but it never served as a food staple as bamboo has. Food, construction, storage, art - they are all in the domain of bamboo. Bamboos are often an excellent choice for the indoor or conservatory garden.

Bamboos are divided into 2 important categories - Clumping and Running. Within the running category are gentle runners and rampant runners. Most bamboos that are normally sold are the rampant runners. These are the ones that have given bamboo it’s much deserved reputation as a monster. These varieties can break up drain tiles, run under sidewalks, and alienate neighbors. Unless you use a rhizome barrier (steel flashing or polybutyl), do not plant a rampant runner in a small suburban or city lot. Some Phyllostachys; all Pseudosasa, Sasa, and Hibanobambusa are rampant runners. Some Phyllostachys, Pleioblastus, and Shibataea are gentle runners and spread very slowly.

Clumping bamboos, like Fargesia, Bambusa, Borinda and Chusquea, are well-behaved plants that send up shoots 1-3” from the edge of the clump, not 3-5’ like rampant runners. Fargesia are among the hardiest of bamboo and we have sent many to Ontario and Nova Scotia that are now thriving. If your winter temperatures are below -22°F (-30°C), push the canes to the ground, tie them down and cover with mulch. Some Chusqueas and Borindas are fully hardy on the B.C. Coast. Bambusas are hardy in only the mildest of B.C. climates.

Most bamboos are shipped as divisions or as 1 or 2 gallon plants. We ships roots for those varieties that cannot be grown in sizes less than 5 gallon size. Roots have no greenery and are approximately 12-16” long with 2 to 4 growth buds. Roots usually, but not always, grow. We have about an 80% success rate here at the Nursery. Our customers have indicated about a 75% success rate. Roots are a gamble. Unlike most other plants that we sell, we do not guarantee bamboo roots. Please consider this if you choose to order roots. Roots can be shipped only in the spring.

ROOT CARE:  Unpack and plant them immediately. Plant in a wide pot (minimum size 12”) or in the ground if the soil is warm enough. Lay the root almost flat with the growing end slightly raised. Cover with 2” of good, light soil and water well. Don’t expose any of the root above the soil surface. Add more soil if needed. Keep moist, but not soaked, until the root sprouts. Growth should begin once the weather is warm.  

GENERAL BAMBOO CARE:     Plant in average, well-drained soil mixed with well-rotted manure or compost.  Bamboo is a grass, so in early spring fertilize with high nitrogen fertilizer.  Occasionally the leaves will yellow - this usually occurs during the winter or in late summer.  If this occurs, fertilize additionally with a high iron fertilizer such as Milorganite or Miracid. Running bamboo placed in containers need to be divided and repotted every 2 - 3 years.

All bamboo are available in large sizes at the Nursery. We have increased the size of our bamboo display gardens and we welcome your visit to see some of these spectacular specimens in a garden setting.  

BAMBOO IN THE GARDEN

We have grouped the bamboo according to origin and size. We find this useful because it gives us a framework for using them in the landscape. Often we mix different coloured canes together such as Phyllostachys nigra and Phyllostachys aureosulcata aureocaulis. Or we combine different types of bamboo. You can give your bamboo garden structure by using a hedging bamboo such as Sasa tsuboiana to border your paths, and a large culm bamboo behind them. Some of the bamboo below such as Hibanobambusa, Pseudosasa or Bashania could go in two categories (they are real tall, shrub bamboos).

All Borinda

All Chusquea

All Fargesia

All Himalayacalamus

All Thamnocalamus

Yushania

  MOUNTAIN BAMBOO

These bamboos grow in the mountain areas of the Himalayas and the Andes. They do not like hot dry areas and often perform better when not in full sun.

They are all clumping bamboo and grow in pots as well as in the garden.

Most have small leaves that impart a delicate look to the plant. They are not dense so you can look through them and see other plants placed behind them. They look good in mixed borders, or as specimen plants.

Pleioblastus argenteostriatus

Pleioblastus fortunei

Pleioblastus shibuyanus

Pleioblastus pygmaeus & viridistriatus

Pseudosasa owatarii

Sasa veitchii

DWARF BAMBOO

Low and fast growing with dense, weed-choking growth. They grow in sun or shade. They often benefit from mowing or cutting in early spring.

Do not place them near perennials or small shrubs. They will quickly create a weed-free carpet of greenery.

 

TALL BAMBOO

All Arundinaria

Bambusa multiplex Alphonse Karr

Bambusa textilis

Bashania fargesia

Chimonobambusa quadrangularis

All Hibanobambusa

All Phyllostachys

Pleioblastus hindsii & linearis

All Pseudosasa (except owatarii)

All Semiarundinaria

All Sinobambusa

Fast growing, usually spreading. They need room to grow and vary in height from 15’ to 60’. 

They prefer sun and are heavy feeders. Fertilize well in spring with rotted manure.         

Most will do well in pots for a couple of years before needing to be transplanted. When transplanting, put into larger pots or cut away 1/3 to 1/2 of the roots and place back into the same pot.  

Their canes are quite beautiful. Cutting out the smaller sized canes can help show off the larger remaining ones.

They look great in groves or growing up through low growing bamboo. Some of the larger ones can create a small forest in six to ten years.

 

Bambusa m. riviereorum

Chimonobambusa marmorea

Indocalamus tessellatus

All Pleioblastus chino varieties

Pleioblastus gramineus & kongosanensis

All Sasa except veitchii  

All Sasaella

Shibataea chinensis & kumasaca

  SHRUB BAMBOO

This is a varied grouping with plants ranging from 4’ to 8’ high. Most like sun to part-shade.  They are heavy feeders and like a quantity of rotted manure.

They are all fast-spreading with dense growth.

Their leaf form is often wider than other bamboos with some leaves over 4” wide by 16” long. Usually the culms are hidden in the foliage. Plant them as groundcovers around large deciduous or coniferous trees. Like the dwarfs, they quickly eliminate the need to weed. They are excellent for hedging or pathway borders. 

 

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The Plant Farm - 177 Vesuvius Bay Road, Salt Spring Island, BC  V8K 1K3

 

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