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How to Grow Phyllostachys — Bamboo

Black bamboo, Phyllostachys nigra
Black bamboo, Phyllostachys nigra

Phyllostachys–commonly called bamboo–is an evergreen giant grass grown for its upright culms (hollow stems) and yellow-green or light to dark green, narrowly lance-shaped leaves. Phyllostachys are suitable for containers outdoors, as specimen plants, or in groups along with other shrubs in a border.

Phyllostachys are valued for their elegant form and foliage; some are colored yellow and others black. The culms (hollow stems) are often grooved and zig-zag from node to node. Phyllostachys can be grown in full sun or dappled shade and prefer humus-rich soil.

Phyllostachys is a genus of 80 species of medium-sized to large, evergreen bamboos. There are two types of bamboo, clump-forming and running. Running bamboos spread via underground rhizomes and can become very difficult to contain. Clump-forming bamboos spread–usually a few inches a year; they are the most suitable bamboos for gardens.

A related bamboo genus is Bambusa.

Get to Know Phyllostachys

  • Plant type: Evergreen bamboos; members of the grass family (Poaceae)
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 5-11 depending on the variety
  • Hardiness:
  • Height and width: 6 to 35 feet (2-11m) depending on the variety
  • Foliage: Narrowly lance-shaped yellow green or light to dark green leaves
  • Uses: Border, screen, container plant
  • Common name: Bamboo
  • Botanical name: Phyllostachys
  • Family name: Poaceae
  • Origin: Woodlands in East Asia and the Himalays
Leaves of golden bamboo, Phyllostachys aurea
Leaves of golden bamboo, Phyllostachys aurea

Where to Plant Phyllostachys

  • Light outdoors: Grow Phyllostachys in full sun or dappled shade.
  • Soil outdoors: Grow in fertile, humus-rich, but well-drained soil.

When to Plant Phyllostachys

  • Set Phyllostachys outdoors in spring.

Planting and Spacing Phyllostachys

  • Space Phyllostachys 6 to 20 feet (2-6m) apart.

How to Water and Feed Phyllostachys

  • Water Phyllostachys regularly and moderately.
  • Fertilize Phyllostachys with a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly.

Phyllostachys Care

  • Where not hardy, shelter Phyllostachys from cold, drying winds.

Phyllostachys Pests and Diseases

  • Slugs and snails attack emerging shoots.
  • Rust and stem smut can occur.

Phyllostachys Propagation

  • Divide Phyllostachys in spring.
Leaves and stems of moso bamboo plants, Phyllostachys edulis
Leaves and stems of moso bamboo plants, Phyllostachys edulis

Phyllostachys Varieties to Grow

  • Phyllostachys aurea, golden bamboo. Clump-forming, stiffly, upright bamboo grows 6 to 30 feet tall; grooved culms (hollow stems) are bright-mid-green early and become brown yellow with age; narrowly lance-shaped yellowis to golden green leaves.
  • P. aureosulcata, yellow-groove bamboo. Clump-forming bamboo grows 10 to 20 feet tall; brownish green culms with yellow grooves and striped sheaths; narrowly lance-shaped mid-green leaves.
  • P. bambusoides, giant timber bamboo. Clump-forming; grows 10 to 25 feet; thick shiny deep green culms and large thick sheaths; narrowly lance-shaped mid-green leaves.
  • P. fulcis, sweetshoot bamboo. Upright, mid-green culms grow to 40 feet; narrowly lance-shaped mid-green leaves.
  • P. flexuosa, zigzag bamboo. Arching culms, often zigziagged between nodes; grows to 30 feet ; bright geen at first, turning yellow-brown to almost black with age; narrowly lance-shaped fresh green leaves.
  • P. nidularia, swollen node bamboo. Clump formng bamboos grows to 35 feet, broadly lance-shaped, smooth green leaves.
  • P. nigra, black bamboo. Clump-forming to 10 feet tall; arching slender green culms turn lustrus black in second year; lance-shaped dark green leaves.
  • P. violascens. Clump-forming then spreading bamboo wiht swollen green clums, grow to 16 feet; finely striped purple become violet; narrow, lances-shaped dark green leaves.
  • P. viridi-glaucescens. arching, smooth green clums grow to 40 feet; broadly, lance=-shaped, mid-green leaves.
  • P. vivax. Upright culms to 70 feet tall; smooth mid-green culms with a white powdery band beneath each nodes.

Also of interest:

How to Grow Bambusa — Bamboo

Common bamboo

How to Grow Bambusa –Bamboo

Kochia scoparia, summer cypress

How to Grow Kochia