Black Bamboo | Phyllostachys nigra

Black bamboo is native to China and a member of the Poaceae family. When grown in a container, it can reach a height of 3 m (10 ft). It is particularly popular for the striking colours of the jointed stems, which are green when they first develop, gradually turning brown, then finally shiny black. The pale green leaves contrast beautifully with the shiny black stems.

These undemanding shrubs prefer a sunny, warm position where they are sheltered from the wind. In summer they need a lot of water. The soil must remain moist at all times but must never be waterlogged. A layer of mulch will prevent the soil from drying out too much. In addition, bamboos should be given weekly applications of a compound fertilizer until late summer. The young, decorative stems are more effective if the older stems are removed.

The plants can be divided as soon the new shoots begin to develop. They can over-winter outdoors if protected against the cold or be moved to a light room with a temperature of 5-10° C (41-50° F).

04. October 2014 by Dave Pinkney
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