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Quick Picks - Best Bamboo for Southern California

*** Readily Available
** Frequently Available
* Rare. Frequently Unavailable
( ) Maximum Height Under "Best" Conditions

Bambusa oldhamii 'Giant Timber Bamboo' Clumping

***Bambusa oldhamii 'Giant Timber Bamboo' Clumping, 15-25' (20-55'). This fast growing giant tropical bamboo is perfect for beautiful, big dense screens or hedges. Culms are straight and erect with relatively short branches. Leaves are rather wide.

Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonse Karr' Clumping

***Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonse Karr' Clumping, 8-10' (15-35'). An excellent choice for smaller gardens. This Beautiful smaller bamboo thrives in a variety of conditions but reaches its full height only when grown in the shade. The culms of this bamboo are striped with green while new shoots and culms take on a pinkish cast. The lower part of this plant remains fairly leafless resulting in a tight erect clump that bursts into a cap of fine, distinctly arranged leaves.

Bambusa multiplex 'Golden Goddess' Clumping

***Bambusa multiplex 'Golden Goddess' Clumping, 6-8' (6-10'). A dwarf form almost identical to B. m. 'Fernleaf' but with larger leaves. The culms tend to be yellowish. Starburst clusters of ten or more small leaves on each twig distinguishes this cultivar. Its willowy outward reaching form is delicately beautiful.

Bambusa tuldoides (B. ventricosa)  'Buddha's Belly Bamboo' Clumping

***Bambusa tuldoides (B. ventricosa) 'Buddha's Belly Bamboo' Clumping, 3-6' (15-30'). When stressed the lower internodes become short and swollen "like a Buddha's belly". Dark green culms turn gold when mature. Excellent for containers or bonsai. Grows well in poor soil, dry areas or for use as a wind break. Makes an impenetrable hedge.

Phyllostachys aurea  'Golden Bamboo' Running

***Phyllostachys aurea 'Golden Bamboo' Running, 6-10' (10-20'). One of the most common bamboos in the United States. Although not very large, it is also one of the strongest and most useful. Growing rigidly upright, this bamboo is one of the best for planting next to driveways or walkways and makes an excellent hedge. Like other Phyllostachys, the culms turn golden yellow when exposed to strong sunlight.

Phyllostachys nigra  'Black Bamboo' Running

**Phyllostachys nigra 'Black Bamboo' Running, 4-8' (10-15'). One of the most sought after bamboos due to its striking, jet black culms and graceful habit. Shoots emerge green and then gradually turn black over a period of 6-12 months.

Otatea acuminata aztecorum  'Mexican Weeping Bamboo' Clumping

**Otatea acuminata aztecorum 'Mexican Weeping Bamboo' Clumping, 8-10' (to 20'). This elegant ornamental bamboo has a fountain like form and slender red/black culms. Produces a cloud of lacy feathery leaves on graceful arching culms.

Chusquea coronalis  'Mexican Climbing Bamboo' Clumping

*Chusquea coronalis 'Mexican Climbing Bamboo' Clumping, 8-12' (12-15'). An exotic plant from Mexico and Costa Rica with 3/4" culms that arch to the ground. Pom-pom like bunches of tiny light green leaves circle the culm in umbrella like whorls at the nodes. Very rare and hard to find but many consider this to be the most beautiful bamboo in the world.

You may be surprised to learn that what we commonly call bamboo is actually a giant grass belonging to the same family (Poaceae) as Bermuda, Blue Grass or wheat. All bamboos grow from branching rhizomes, but how fast and how far they spread from the parent plant before sending up new shoots (culms) determines whether it's classified as a clumper or a runner.

Most clumping bamboos (Bambusa, Chusquea, Otatea, Fargesia, Drepanostachyum) are tropical or subtropical. Polite and non-invasive, clumpers send their rhizomes out only a very short distance from the mother plant and therefore do not require a root barrier. Few exceed 15' and most require afternoon shade to flourish. Runners (Chiminobambusa, Phyllostachys, Pleioblastus, Pseudosasa, Sasa, Semiarundinaria, Shibataea) are far more intrepid, rapidly sending rhizomes out varying distances before sending up new vertical growth.

Although runners require barriers to focus and restrain their vigorous growth, with containment they make superb specimens, hedges, screens and windbreaks; quickly producing a dense mass of culms and foliage. Dwarf types such as P. viridistriatus, with its beautiful golden green-striped leaves or the lower growing Pleioblastus pygmaea make striking easy-care groundcovers for sun/part shade.

Some mature bamboos are drought tolerant but most require good soil and plenty of water to look their best. Feed bamboos like the grasses they are with 10-5-5 lawn fertilizer during their growing season (the warm months of the year).

Bamboo's renewed popularity has significantly increased demand. Outside of the more commonly cultivated varieties, many bamboos are difficult to mass produce and sometimes can be very difficult to locate, especially in larger quantities. Bamboo Pipeline has helped many of our customers locate unusual and rare types of bamboo. Remember- If they grow it, we will supply it.


We Are Bamboo Pipeline

I’m Christine. I am an Account Specialist with Bamboo Pipeline.

I work to supply the highest quality plant material in California and Nevada for your landscape projects. We offer the broadest and best selection of landscape materials delivered direct to your jobsite.


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