Bamboo FAQ

Q. What are Bamboo?
A. Bamboo are woody evergreen perennials belonging to the grass family poaceaea. The family includes some of the fastest growing plants in the world and they have a multitude of uses from building materials, food crops and clothing. They can be found in a variety of regions from hot tropical climates to cool mountainous in Asia to South America.
There are over 1,000 species, so for this FAQ we'll just cover the bamboo available at Urban Jungle.

Q. Are Bamboo hardy?
A. All of the bamboo in stock at Urban Jungle is hardy, and this means they do not need any special winter protection.

Q. How fast will they grow?
A. This depends on a variety of factors, the species, the cultivar, the location, aspect, soil type and conditions. Bamboo can be a bit unpredictable - there are no hard and fast rules as to how it will behave, each plant seems to be quite individual. There are bamboos which can reach towering heights, for example Phyllostachys vivax f. 'Aureocaulis' can reach 8 m – but in a different location even within the same garden it may only reach 3m. Pleioblastus pygmyanus is a dwarf cultivar which may get to 50cm or 1m..

Q. Are Bamboo invasive?
A. Bamboo are only invasive on a small localised scale (spreading only occurs from the root system). Control the root system and you can control Bamboo. You don’t have to worry about the elements, animals or insects spreading Bamboo. Bamboo gets a bad name because of irresponsible planting on property lines - with simple management techniques or barriers, Bamboo can easily be tamed and grown only where required. We sell Bamboo which could be invasive if not controlled. Bamboo tends to spread by moderate to fast growing roots which push horizontally through the soil and have lateral buds which push upwards to form the canes. They are able to cover ground more rapidly than a clump forming Bamboo.
Phyllostachys bisettii can spread rapidly but for this reason it is one of the best screening plants.
Phyllostachys nigra and phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Aureocaulis' tend towards spreading slowly.

Q. How can I control bamboo?
A. Use a rhizome barrier. This is a 60cm deep thick flexible plastic liner which can be uses to line the sides of the planting area to prevent the rhizomes from spreading beyond the allotted space.
This is particularly useful when planting next to a neighbours boundary, or paths, ponds, patios and decking.
If you are planting in grass the action of mowing the lawn should keep the bamboo in check.
A damaged culm will not grow, all you need to do is keep checking during the growing season and remove the culms as you see them - a swift kick usually does the job.

Q. Can I grow Bamboo in pots?
A. Yes, they grow very well in pots. The key to success is to put them in a big pot with plenty of good quality compost. Water frequently as they are more susceptible to drying out in pots, and feed with a slow release fertilizer twice a year in spring and autumn.
Choose a pot that is going to remain stable when it has a tall plant in it.

Q. How should I use Bamboo?
A. Bamboo is evergreen, low maintenance, hardy and reliable. It makes an excellent screening plant, informal hedge, specimen plant and good container plant. It has good texture, movement and makes a rustling sound. Birds love it, especially small garden birds as it offers protection and structure.

Q. What soil type does bamboo prefer?
A. Bamboo is particularly unfussy, it will grow in any soil, however it's worth adding plenty of organic matter in sandy soils, as these tend to be fast draining and may not hold enough water to meet the needs of a fast growing thirsty plant.

Q. What position should I plant bamboo in?
A. There is no definitive answer, they will do well anywhere but if you have a particularly shady spot we recommend the Fargesia family.

Q. How often should I water?
A. We recommend watering frequently for the first 6 months after planting, to get the plants established. In pots you will need to water frequently, give them a really good soak. During the growing season – usually between April and August plenty of water will help new culms to be produced and grow fast.

Q. What some of the common problems to watch out for?
A. Scorch - during particularly windy periods the tips of the leaves may brown.
Frost damage - heavy frost and freezing may also cause leaves to brown.
Sun scorch – intense sun can scorch leaves.
These are nothing to be overly concerned about, make sure the plants have enough water, they will produce new leaves and recover.
Freezing – during particularly cold periods, the water in the ground around the bamboo may freeze, this inhibits water uptake and the plant may dry out, even in the middle of winter. Keep an eye out for dull and curling leaves and water if you need to.

Yellow Bamboo

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