We offer the larger hardy bamboos of the genus Phyllostachys (which for obvious reasons we abbreviate with the letter P); the clumpers in the genus Fargesia; and the Sasa genus (which are small bamboos).
We offer UPS-able plants with good roots and viable tops that are guaranteed to grow. The USDA prohibits shipment to Hawaii. We also have beautiful large unshippable clumps of some varieties for sale at the nursery. Bring a covered pickup or van to take these home.
It is very manageable if you follow a few suggestions in our "How to Grow" section below. Bamboos are evergreen woody stemmed perennial grasses. Of great economic value, they serve more uses for more people than any other group of plants in the world. All vegetative propagations from any single bamboo seedling, wherever grown in the world, will flower at the same time. Some flower only once every 100 years.
Origin: Most species listed originated in China.
Pollination: None required.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-10. See varietal descriptions.
Sun or shade: Most Phyllostachys prefer full sun except P. nigra which likes partial shade. In dry sunny climates all bamboo can usually benefit from partial shade. Varieties we offer that prefer shade include Fargesia nitida and muriale. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have not had any trouble growing any of the varieties in full sun. What they all seem to benefit from is protection from drying winter winds.
Plant spacing: A single culm will eventually become a grove, though it may take ten years. A more immediate effect can be created by planting
Phyllostachys clumps at 6 to 8 foot intervals and the smaller bamboos as close as three feet apart.
Harvest time: Young shoots for eating are harvested in spring before they exceed 12 inches tall, ideally just as they are about to pop above the ground. Canes take several years to achieve maximum hardness and durability of the wood, so no canes should be harvested before the third year where strength is desired.
Life expectancy: Individual clumps may live over a hundred years. In the unusual event that a clump flowers, the clump will be set back in growth. Occasionally the clump will die and grow back from the seeds.
How to Grow
Soil requirements: Bamboos are tolerant of a wide variety of soil types, preferring slightly moist, well drained sites. Bamboos are intolerant of swampy sites.
How to plant: Make a trench between 1-1/2 and two feet deep for the Phyllostachys varieties; slightly shallower for shorter varieties. Tamp down the dirt at the bottom of the trench. Bamboo will always grow better in loose rather than compacted soil when given the choice. Fill in the trench with loose, rich soil, high in organic matter. The more nitrogen the better. Compost, leaves, sand, sawdust or even pure manure are all fine. Don’t tamp it down after planting as you would with a tree. Make the trench as wide as you would like the bamboo to spread. Three to six feet is a nice width for a backyard screen. While the plants can be planted right next to each other to shorten the time it takes your hedge to fill in; planting 6-8' apart will still allow the grove to fill in within three to four years. You don’t need to make the trench straight. The bamboo will fill in whatever shape you make the trench. Be creative. Bamboo loves to be watered regularly and deeply. Eventually the falling leaves are self-mulching.
How to control: Many people don’t want to grow bamboo because they know that unchecked it can grow out of control. However, with good initial planning, it is easy to control. In a field or lawn, the sod or a roadway, will help control the bamboo. Mowing or digging up the new shoots each spring will also provide control. However, if the bamboo is planted in an area where mowing or digging is not practical; use an underground barrier. Make the barrier in whatever shape you wish the bamboo to grow.
Pests and diseases: Mites might be a problem. Panda bears are rarely a problem for backyard growers.
How to Use
In the landscape: Bamboos are among the most graceful and beautiful of all plants. A bamboo grove is an excellent year round screen because of its profuse evergreen foliage and dense cane growth. The Phyllostachys make a great tall screen or windbreak but they should be allowed to grow at least several feet thick since the outer leaves can become discolored by the wind in the winter. The ground covers add spectacular color and texture.
In the kitchen: All the Phyllostachys varieties we offer produce edible shoots Dulcis and, Nuda are among the best tasting.