Welcome to our Specials Page!
Our goal is to help you complete your project within your budget. Tell us your plans and we will do our best to help you find a beautiful as well as affordable solution to your landscaping needs. Call Jennifer, Donna, Ryan or Drew at 352-429-2425
Green Hedge Bamboo (S. fastuosa viridis)
Can grow to 25' to 35' with 1.5" diameter canes
Green-Gold Vivax Timber Bamboo (Phyllostachys vivax aureocaulis)
Can grow to 70' with 5" diameter canes
Tootsik (Sinobambusa Tootsik 'Albostriata')
Can grow to 30' with 1.5" diameter canes
Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea)
Can grow to 27' with 1.75" diameter canes
Vivax Timber Bamboo (Phyllostachys vivax)
Can grow to 70' with 5" diameter canes
Madake Japanese Timber Bamboo (Phyllostachys bambusoides Madake)
Can grow to 70' with 6" diameter canes
Red Bamboo (Semiarundinaria fastuosa)
Can grow to 30' with 1.5" diameter canes
If you're looking for a bamboo that combines function, beauty and hardiness, look no further than Golden Hedge Clumping Bamboo.
Like all multiplex bamboos, Golden Hedge has a very dense, broad growth pattern which makes it the perfect choice for an impenetrable living hedge while the yellow canes with vertical green stripes make it a good candidate for a centerpiece planting.
Since Golden Hedge is slightly shorter (maximum height of 30') than the 45'-tall Green Hedge Clumping Bamboo (Bambusa multiplex 'Silverstripe'), it may be preferable for a smaller yard or for planting under electric wires. If space is not a problem, however, Golden Hedge and Green Hedge look very attractive when mixed together to form a living fence.
Bold green stripes against a soft golden background adds to the allure of this practical and attractive Clumping Bamboo specimen
Another one of Golden Hedge Clumping Bamboo's assets is its hardiness. It can tolerate temperatures into the mid-teens. We have seen Golden Hedge Clumping Bamboo growing throughout the Southeast and in the temperate climate of Seattle, WA.
A mixed hedge of Golden and Green Hedge Clumping Bamboo provides a fast-growing and beautiful privacy screen in a residential yard
Even though the multiplex family of bamboo is one of the hardiest groups of clumping bamboos, it still will not survive any part of the country that regularly gets single-digit or subzero winter temperatures. If you live in one of those areas and wish to create a living hedge of bamboo, please consider one of our Running Bamboos. Running Bamboos love cold weather and actually grow taller with larger diameter canes in colder climates than they do in warmer, more tropical parts of the world.
Hardiness is one of Golden Hedge Clumping Bamboo's many assets
I hung one of my bird feeders from a Blue Timber Bamboo (Bambusa chungii) cane and numerous birds have flocked there to feed.
Below are a few of the many species I've photographed against a beautiful bamboo backdrop.
One of my favorite birds - a chickadee - came for the sunflower seeds
Two cardinals - the red-feathered male in the forefront with the less showy female in the rear
Two goldfinches on the sides with a chipping sparrow in front
Two goldfinches alone. They must have scared the chipping sparrow away
It's spring and that means the running bamboos are shooting! New bamboo culms are emerging at an astonishing rate.
Below are three pictures of one particularly beautiful specimen - Phyllostachys vivax huangwenzhu, which we call Green-Gold Vivax Timber Bamboo.
A broad yellow vertical stripe appears on alternating culm section of Green-Gold Vivax Timber Bamboo
This young shoot is reaching for the sky as it grows upward through a window of bamboo leaves
Looking down at a newly emerged shoot from above. In just a few days, this relatively small shoot will tower over my head and I'll have to look up to take a picture
A strong wind today filled the air with music as breezes blew through a mature stand of Giant Timber Clumping Bamboo (Bambusa oldhamii) at the original sight of Beautiful Bamboo nursery.
This short video provides a sound picture of the 'clinking' and 'clacking' sounds made when bamboo canes are rustled by gusts of air.
Yesterday our crew was busy culling canes from a stand of Bambusa chungii.
Objective: Remove enough leafy canes to fill a 12-foot long by 3-foot high trailer. The canes would then be transported to Tampa where they will be given to elephants in the Barnum and Bailey circus.
For the next several months, canes cut from the groves at Beautiful Bamboo will supplement the diet of Asian elephants in the circus.
In the wild, Asian Elephants like this one in Laos are accustomed to eating bamboo
Photo by Shannon O'Donnell, www.alittleadrift.com
Ryan transports a load of freshly cut Blue Timber Bamboo culms
Unloading leafy bamboo canes into the trailer
A full load of Beautiful Bamboo to help keep the circus elephants happy and healthy
Below are some of the many comments sent by Beautiful Bamboo customers:
April 23, 2017
I've bought bamboo from these folks at the Bok Tower annual plant festival, and have been very happy with what I have. This is the first time my husband and I have been to the bamboo farm, and it's OUTSTANDING!! We actually stumbled upon it while out exploring the area for nurseries. We found several species of bamboo that we don't yet have, but have been looking for. The plants are very well tended, healthy, and a good price. The staff is very friendly, and knowledgeable. We're going back next weekend with a trailer to bring some bamboo home!
April 8, 2017
Very clean, organized and professional. Not at all like many Florida businesses that cater to lawn and garden. Very impressed with the knowledge and professional help.
March 4, 2017
The visit to Beautiful Bamboo was a very good experience. The staff answered all my questions and provided first-class service.
Feb. 14, 2017
Thanks again for everything!
Ryan and friends did a great job on our three clumps of bamboo; clean out and trim up, looks great!
You are definitely our bamboo caretakers.
Jan. 23, 2017
Very helpful. Took time to explain all varieties to us. Even though we only bought 2 plants treated us like we were buying much more. Will be back.
December 23, 2016
Very nice,down to earth people. They went out of their way to be helpful.. I expect to be back.
August 6, 2016
This place was amazing. We got some giant timber bamboo. Jennifer was outstanding and friendly and knew her bamboo. I will return.
June 1, 2016
I’d like to thank you and your crew again for a job well done! I love the way the bamboo looks now and I know it will look even better as time goes by. Everyone did an outstanding job and they did so with such a great attitude. It’s nice to see respect and kindness shown towards others!
Daytona Beach FL
May 12, 2016
Thanks so much for taking care of our bamboo for us! That was so nice of you to help us out. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have it as the same height as the others. You’ve given us such fantastic customer service and we’ve been so happy to do business with you from the first day forward. Thanks for everything you’ve done for us!
May 6, 2016
Many, many thanks … I tell others about your wonderful environment and your OUTSTANDING customer service. I wish I had more property to buy more bamboo. These are growing tall and they sway just as I had hoped. Delight each morning when I read the newspaper.
Have a good weekend and please send this email to the owners if you wish to tell them of my absolute joy!!!!
The Villages, FL
April 2, 2016
Beautiful Bamboo is great. It is the only place my parents and I will buy bamboo from. Quality operation with wonderful people. Jennifer is the best!
March 15, 2016
Loved your nursery and your bamboo! Donna was fabulous and very knowledgeable! And patient as I drug her all around multiple times. I think you could charge admission for the tour!
Jennifer!! The bamboo are absolutely wonderful. We are still working on the irrigation. I am wondering what you recommend for fertilizer to purchase and how often to give. Whatever instructions you would like to share with me, I will follow!! Thank you very much, your team did such a beautiful job installing, you were so well organized it was inspiring!!
Jennifer, We fell in love with your place and bought 2 – 3-gal bamboos. We’ll be back! Thank you and thank Drew for us. He was a pleasure.
They won't be back yet, but thank Donna and Ryan for a great job. They arrived on time (which cannot be taken for granted these days), listened patiently whilst I explained why I wanted the bamboo, and then carefully planted exactly as planned. Ryan (without openly cursing me) even dug up one bamboo and repositioned it after I changed my mind. Both took the trouble to angle each bamboo to get the best position, and answered my many beginner's questions.
And now a big rainstorm has just slipped by and missed us. Just when you wanted it.
Cedar Key FL
Hi Jennifer - 15 short months ago we had the pleasure of visiting Beautiful Bamboo. We were challenged with how we could hide a neighbor's recent addition of a 40 foot motor coach and shed. After a lot of research, we decided to go ahead and invest in bamboo.
We selected 15 Graceful Bamboo plants and upon delivery by Tim to our home, we dug in and planted them. Following your exacting directions, and just over a year later, we are more than thrilled with the results. I have attached a few before an after images to show you how they are progressing.
We continue to be amazed at the speed at which they grow and how hearty they are. We are now seeing a new phase of growth and the new growths are now reaching 20+ in height!
I urge anyone in need of a natural privacy fence to look into bamboo ay Beautiful Bamboo. You will not regret it!
Michael and Grace
Beautiful Bamboo - The bamboo looks great. Ryan said we got "upgraded" to 10 gallon plants. He did a good job and is a credit to your company. If you are interested I can send a picture. Hopefully we can still get some growth this year.
The spotted bamboo is as beautiful as the "chunky monkey" - love them both. And the reed fencing worked great. Love my Beautiful Bamboo. Thanks,
Hi Jennifer,I wanted to thank you for taking the time to show us around today and helping us pick out bamboo varieties for our upcoming project.
Since our portion of the Local food guide is about children's program we didn't include you in that article, however we had such a great time we included Beautiful Bamboo in our educational blog at spiceflorida.wordpress.com
- if you would prefer we not use your name in the article please let me know.
Thank you again and we look forward to coming out again soon.
Ann, Joe and Ky
Jennifer, Thanks for all your help and patience picking out our bamboo last weekend. It looks great and we are looking forward to coming back to get some more varieties soon.Thanks again
David and Michelle
Thank you very much for the beautiful angel mist bamboo! It arrived in excellent condition! Wonderfully packed! Thank you also Jennifer who called me back one day after my e-mail. Getting to speak with you was a truly lovely experience. Jennifer mentioned when i asked her to pick me out a nice bamboo that she had already done that and he was sitting next to her desk. Amazing as i had not even purchased the bamboo yet. That brought life to the bamboo and made me feel like a truly valued customer.
I love the west coast transplant you provided me and I will recommend as well as use you for any future bamboo plants and products that I may want.
It was especially wonderful that when ordering one bamboo online you guys at Beautiful Bamboo really took the time to do it right.
I will send pictures along after he (Casper) grows up a little. I figured anything alive taller than me deserves a name!
Sincerely Happy Customer,
Curtis Lee Shaw
San Francisco CA
Dear Tim and Sherry,
Just wanted to say thank you - the bamboo arrived yesterday in great condition, well-packed and it sprung back right after it got out of the box. It was well watered immediately after unpacking and will be transplanted into a large pot tomorrow per your instructions. Thanks again for the quick response to my questions via email as well.
Hi - Just wanted to express my pleasure with your delivery of the 50 7-gallon Green Hedge bamboo plants. Tim was exceptionally polite and helpful with my questions, just as he was when I ordered on Saturday. He offered several tips and showed me how to dig a proper hole for planting. I should have the remaining few in the ground today. The bamboo are all larger than I expected, and are as big or bigger than the 15-gallon plants I looked at locally. Most are 8-12 ft tall. If you would like I will send you pictures once and I am done planting, and will update you as they grow.
Just a quick thanks to you and especially Tim. He is finishing up the 6 new bamboo I purchased, and I must say, he is really doing a fantastic job. He is checking and treating and watering, very nice job, very happy. Thanks.
Tim.....I want to thank you and Sherry for all the courtesies you extended to me in our quest to find the Bamboo just right for us. My assistant Shawn is planting it now and we agree the Asian Lemon will look super between the Oldhamii we have. Thanks again for all the help!
I purchased some of your bamboo a while back to make calligraphy brushes. The bamboo is great and I made some wonderful brushes. Here are a few pictures when the bamboo was still green. I wish it would stay that way but it's changing into a beautiful golden color - which I like as well. Thank you for picking out some gnarly pieces for me. I'll be ready to order more soon.
Thanks again for providing an honest and helpful service. It is refreshing to deal with a business that delivers what they promise at a reasonable price.
Hi Sherry and Ralph
We just wanted to thank you for your assistance in this project. Jennifer, James, Jessie, and Daniel were a pleasure to work with and the end result looks great...we know it will take some time for the bamboo to grow/develop, but we are off to a GREAT start...Please thank all your people again for us, as we are very pleased with the work. I'm sure we will be back for more and probably will have some referrals for you as well. Thanks again.
Chili and Deb
I wanted to thank you again for the bamboo. Both Jennifer and James were very hardworking and conscientious in installing the bamboo. It looks really good and has already helped to relieve the depression from the big house behind us. I didn't realize how big and impressive the Seabreeze would look. We had some palm trees planted today and the yard has a nice tropical look now. Thank you again.
Hi Sherry, I just wanted to tell you how much we are enjoying our bamboo! My home office is off the kitchen and at the end of the kitchen is a sliding glass window that looks out onto the backyard. It is very peaceful to look out and see the bamboo swaying in the breeze! I am convinced it has already grown some ... and it likes the drip line hose that Brooks bought for it. Thanks again and I am so glad that Brooks found you!
Sherry and Ralph,
I want to thank you for the Bamboo poles that I purchased from you. They worked out perfect. I made a canopy with them for my sisters wedding and I just wanted to say thank you. Thanks again,
Hello all! I just got my order of 3"and 4" poles a couple of days ago and I am really pleased. So, thank you so much!!
Hi Sherry! Just had to let you know how wonderfully your, actually, now, my bamboo is doing! I'm blown away! Not only did they spring back unbelievably from their "trip", within a few weeks, they both put up new canes! I had previously bought a couple of specimens from another bamboo company. No comparison. Yours are so vastly superior! Don't want to give you the fat head, just wanted to let you know you're doing a really good job. Your planting instructions were spot-on! The people at the other nursery said, "Just dig a hole and plant 'em. They don't need anything special, not until they're established, and then you might add a little 10-10-10 fertilizer." Well, let me tell you, I believe the cow manure made a huge difference in their progress, along with the obvious superior care they received on your end! If you ever need any testimonial, I'm your guy! Couldn't be happier, can't say enough good things about you and your product.
Just thought you would like to see how well our bamboo is doing. Thank you for the beautiful bamboo. We love it!
Hello - We bought a 1gal. Dwarf Buddha’s Belly last year. It had one new shoot .25 inches in diameter, and 18in long that grew to six ft long. This year, so far, it has 4 new shoots averaging about .75 inches diameter. The new growth is at the rate of approximately one inch in 24 hours. It is amazing to watch, it almost explodes out of the pot! Thank you, we’ve enjoyed watching it.
Just wanted to say thank you for selling me the Bamboo. They all are doing great. Right now I am up to 15 shoots, some are over 6 foot tall already. And one runner, about 19 inches from the clump (Green Hedge).
Sherry: Thank You for assisting Connie and myself this weekend. Our new Oldhamii is in its place of honor. Also please thank your son for his assistance in placing and helping to plant our new addition. He was very helpful and a very good ambassador for your company. The entire experience has been a pleasure. We will be back once we establish our Pool area for more of Beautiful-Bamboo. Thanks again and Regards,
We love when customers send us "Before and After" pictures! The following letter and photos from a customer in Florida shows how quickly - in just one year - bamboo can screen off unsightly objects and provide a customer with privacy.
We bought 5-3.5gal buckets of "Graceful" from you a little over a year ago and planted them for a privacy fence. They have grown beautifully as you can see in the attached "before and after" pictures.
I use my A/C condensation to take care of their water needs. I get almost 5 gallons a day so they each clump gets about a gallon of water a day and they have good drainage. They seem to love it. I tested the PH of the water and its right about 7.
Before and after, notice the orange door and chain link fence are almost concealed. I have lots of new growth as I type this so by the end of year they should form a total privacy fence.
Jim and Sonia
The customers wanted to hide a neighbor's unattractive chain link fence and orange door so they planted 5 three-gallon containers of Graceful Clumping Bamboo along the fence line
After only one year's growth, the plantings of Graceful Bamboo are already concealing the fence and orange door while creating a beautiful and graceful living wall of green.
A customer in Kissimmee wanted to create a tropical look for his outside poolside area so he came to Beautiful Bamboo. We helped him select various sized bamboo poles, reed fencing and bamboo fencing.
With the assistance of a talented local craftsman, our customer's outside sitting area was transformed from an ordinary patio to an extraordinarily beautiful tropical retreat.
Walls, ceiling and trim - all covered with bamboo products
Even the light fixtures are made with bamboo
Rolls of reed fencing and bamboo fencing made easy-to-install wall and ceiling coverings
Next project: a bamboo floor!
Creativity comes alive when expert craftsmanship is paired with Beautiful Bamboo.
A customer who bought bamboo poles from us several months ago recently emailed us photos of his finished product:
It has been a While. I bought a piece of Bamboo around 6 Mouths ago. I have been working on this pair of bamboo phone, I had mention. During to the summer close down, I am not able to working on it for a few months. BUT here we got, I FINISH IT~
so I would love to share this with you.
Thanks all your help on the way, it wouldn't be possible without your help your beautiful bamboo.
Our own Ryan Stauffer will be hosting his second flute-making workshop at Beautiful Bamboo Nursery on Saturday, June 14th. The full-day class will cover how to make a side-blown bamboo flute, similar to the one pictured above. The $40 fee includes instructions and all materials. Participants of all ages and skill levels are welcome. For more information and to make a reservation, visit Flutes by Ryan
or call tel:719-252-4485
I love the way the nodes on some Golden Bamboo canes (Phyllostachys aurea) grow close together forming a natural "handle" that not only looks attractive but also feels like it's meant to wrap your hand around.
Not all the canes, but some, will have a natural handle
This emerging cane will only have a couple of swollen nodes
Although Al Jolson introduced the song, Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye back in 1927 in the movie The Jazz Singer, I find myself singing "Toot, Toot, Tootsik, Hello!" whenever I pass Sinobambusa Tootsik 'Albostriata' in the nursery.
Tootsik is a slow-spreading running bamboo with beautiful variegated leaves. It has an upright stature and is relatively short, topping out at less that 20-feet tall.
The beautiful variegated leaves of Tootsik Bamboo are the first thing most people notice about this slow-spreading running bamboo
Its small size, attractive leaves and upright growth pattern make Tootsik is an excellent choice for a container plant. It also does well when planted outside in a partially shady location where this ornamental makes an eye-catching addition to the landscape.
Tootsik is a slow spreader that is easy to control by mowing. It tends to form 'clumps' as it slowly grows in its preferred location - a semi-shady area.
Tootsik is cold-hardy to 10-degrees with canes that grow to be about 1.5" diameter.
Few things are as peacefully inviting as a gentle breeze blowing through a bamboo forest. While mountainsides covered in giant bamboo are not part of the American landscape, by installing a few Madake Japanese Timber Bamboo
plants, you can create a miniature version of a bamboo forest in your own backyard.
A four-year-old grove of Madake - Japanese Timber Bamboo
Not only does Madake (Phyllostachys bambusoides Madake) Japanese Timber Bamboo make a serene and lovely grove, the thick, straight canes - 2 to 6-inch diameter and up to 60-feet tall - are one of the best bamboos to use for building projects.
The thick white line that encircles each culm section on Madake's dark green canes adds to the attractiveness of this beautiful and highly functional running bamboo
Instrument-makers also favor Madake for flutes and didgeridoos because of its exceptionally strong, thick-walled canes.
A Shakuhachi flute made from Madake bamboo by flute-maker RyuzanTakahashi (photo by Brucehuebner.com)
At Beautiful Bamboo, our popular Designer Quality, Polished Bamboo Poles
come from domestically-grown Madake Bamboo.
Beautiful Madake bamboo canes are available in a variety of sizes on our website
Madake Japanese Timber Bamboo is a running bamboo
, which means it is not an appropriate choice for all landscapes. We control spread of the underground rhizomes by mowing a swath of about 20' around the grove but running bamboos can also be controlled by installing a rhizome barrier
Vivax is our favorite running bamboo! A grove of beautiful VIVAX TIMBER BAMBOO (Phyllostachys vivax) looks like the type of place where you'd find a panda nibbling away on leaves and shoots.
Sun shining through a mature grove of vivax timber bamboo
For the past four years we have been propagating two new varieties of this most special bamboo - GREEN-GOLD VIVAX TIMBER BAMBOO (P.vivax huangwenzhu) and GOLD-GREEN VIVAX TIMBER BAMBOO (P.vivax aureocaulis)
Like Phyllostachys vivax, the two new cultivars also produce tall (30' to 70'), large-diameter (3 to 6 inch) canes with black rings around each culm section node. The difference is that while Phyllostachys vivax has beautiful solid green canes that fade as they age to a paler whitish green, Green-gold vivax produces green canes with vertical gold stripes while Gold-green vivax has golden canes with vertical green stipes.
Gold-green vivax has golden canes with vertical green stripes of irregular widths
All three varieties of Vivax spread slowly until well established, then shoot more vigorously after several years to become wonderful open groves of huge canes.
Green-gold vivax has bright green canes with vertical golden stripes of irregular widths
Our original Phyllostachys vivax grove, planted in 2000, has been easy to control with regular mowing and trimming around the area where we want it to stay. Young shoots of all vivax varieties are particularly good to eat when cooked.
Our grandchildren enjoy playing in our mature groves of vivax timber bamboo
New shoots of P.vivax are tasty as well as beautiful
We have found that inter-planting two or more varieties of vivax in one location results in a most attractive and interesting grove.
A close-up of the pretty colors of an emerging P.vivax culm
If you are looking to create a peaceful, serene setting in your landscape, consider installing an assortment of vivax timber bamboos. One day soon you too can sit back and enjoy the beauty!
A four-year-old grove of green-gold and gold-green vivax
Vivax can create an inviting place to rest
Beautiful Bamboo employee, Ryan Stauffer, loves bamboo almost as he loves making music.
Music and bamboo affectionado, Ryan Stauffer
Ryan combines his two interests by creating a variety of musical instruments out of bamboo including didgeridoos and several sizes of flutes.
Ryan playing one of his long flutes
Ryan recently shared his skills with a group of homeschooling students who attended a bamboo flute-making class at Beautiful Bamboo
What better place to learn bamboo flute-making skills than in the middle of a grove of bamboo!
It was a busy afternoon but much was accomplished. By the time the workshop ended, each attendee had made his or her own bamboo flute and was ready to take their beautiful new flutes home to practice.
Ryan will be conducting another bamboo flute-making workshop at Beautiful Bamboo nursery this spring. Dates and time to be announced shortly. The fee for the workshop, which includes all materials and is open to all ages, is $40 per person.
To reserve a spot in the next workshop please call 352-429-2425.
One of the first things to decide when you are thinking about planting bamboo is whether to get Clumping Bamboo or Running Bamboo.
Clumping Bamboos are similar in growth habit to any shrub. They grow gradually outward from the center with new canes growing taller and getting larger in diameter every year. The most important characteristic of clump bamboos is that, unlike Running Bamboos, they do not spread by sending underground shoots far away from the main plant. They are NOT invasive.
For a privacy hedge, plant clumping bamboos anywhere from 4- to 10-feet apart. When planted 4- to 6-feet apart in enriched, irrigated soil, clumping varieties will form a solid hedge in just one growing season. If planted further apart, it will take a couple years longer. Either way, in a short time clumping bamboos form a tall, thick green border with towering canes that bend in the breeze.
Clumping Bamboos are well-behaved, attractive and non-invasive
A 3-year-old hedge of Bambusa multiplex alphonse karr clumping bamboo
Unlike Clumping Bamboos, Running Bamboos
do send shoots away from the mother plant and have the potential to be invasive. In some varieties the new shoots will travel only a few inches but in other runners the shoots might travel 10-feet or more away from the mother plant.
Running Bamboos spread by underground rhizomes
While this may present a problem in certain landscapes, in other situations it is a positive characteristic. When planted 3- to 10-feet apart, the growth pattern of running bamboos enables them to quickly turn into dense and beautiful hedges.
This hedge of Arrow Running Bamboo (Pseudosasa japonica) forms a dense green barrier
Running Bamboos can be controlled by mowing a wide (10' to 25') area around the planting bed, with a bamboo barrier
, or by a natural barrier such as a body of water, a road, or a pasture which is grazed or mowed regularly.
Running Bamboos grow taller and thicker in cooler climates than they do in more tropical settings. While we can grow many varieties of running bamboo in Florida, the plants don't develop as impressively in our climate as they do in more temperate parts of the country.
Green Hedge Running Bamboo (S. fastuosa viridis) is kept under control by mowing a wide swath
On the other hand, Clumping Bamboos prefer a tropical climate where temperatures rarely go below 15 to 28 degrees. Both Clumping and Running Bamboos will provide a quick impenetrable hedges, graceful groves, or attractive spot plantings.
This large-diameter canes come from Running Bamboos grown in cold-climate parts of the world
A serene sitting area nestled within a grove of Vivax Running Bamboo
Scroll down to learn about the following:
- How do I plant my bamboo?
- When is the best time to plant bamboo?
- Will bamboo grow better in sun or shade?
- What is the fastest growing bamboo?
- How far apart should I plant my bamboos?
- What type of maintenance does bamboo need?
- Do I need a barrier to control my bamboo?
How do I plant my bamboo?
Water, good soil and regular fertilizing are the key ingredients to achieving fast-growing, healthy plants.
There's an old Chinese saying: "First bamboo sleeps, then it creeps, then it leaps." All bamboos are fast-growing plants. In fact, they are among the fastest growing plants in the world. In the period of just a few months - always during the warm days of late spring and summer - all bamboos send up new shoots that will grow from inch-high spears into canes that tower (depending on the variety and maturity of the bamboo) up to 70' above the ground. Most of the year, bamboo grows silently underground. The root system - an essential element for fast growth - is developing during the cool weather months. The larger and more developed the root ball when bamboo is purchased - for instance, buying 7- or 15-gallon pots instead of 1- or 3-gallon containers - the quicker you will see more tall canes with bigger diameter. When the weather warms, new shoots emerge. Depending on the variety, the shoots can be as thin as a pencil or as thick as your arm. Whatever diameter the cane is when it comes through the ground, that's the diameter it will be its entire life. Unlike tree trunks, bamboo canes never increase girth as they age. Each year's new shoots are usually larger than those of previous years but old canes don't grow wider as time goes by.
Dig a hole about twice as big around and twice as deep as the container your plant came in. Partially fill the hole in with compost, cow manure or peat. You can add a time-release fertilizer to the soil mixture at this time also. Bamboos like lots of nitrogen, so if you are adding a commercial fertilizer, look for one with a high first number. The first number indicates the amount of nitrogen in the mixture. Make sure you get a fertilizer that does not contain herbicides. Do not use any fertilizer labeled "Weed 'N Feed." You can fertilize bamboos once a month for the fastest growth or use a time-release fertilizer several times a year. If the leaves start to look yellowish apply some Ironite brand fertilizer and the extra iron should help green them up quickly.
Once the hole is dug and the soil augmented, take the bamboo out of the pot and put it in the hole adding dirt until the plant is sitting at the same level it was in the container. You don't need to break up the bamboo, the roots are very difficult to separate and doing so could hurt rather than help the plant. Sometimes the bamboo roots fill up the pot so completely you may need to cut the container off in order to get the plant out.
Once you place the bamboo in the hole, stamp down the dirt around the plant until the ground is nice and solid. At this point, if you choose, you can mulch your new plant with a light covering of grass clipping, leaves or commercial bags of mulch. Mulches help the bamboo retain moisture. Try not to place the mulch too thickly right next to the existing bamboo canes and be careful if your new plant has any young shoots. Young canes are very delicate and can break easily.
It is important to give the new plants plenty of water for at least a month after planting. Bamboo, especially newly planted bamboo, does best if it is kept moist. It doesn't want to sit in standing water, but does like a frequent drenching. A continually flowing drip hose works very well but you can use any type of irrigation. You can tell if your bamboos are not getting enough moisture if their leaves start to curl up. If that happens turn on the tap, give the plants a good long soak and, in the future, increase the amount of time you irrigate your plants. In the summer rains you will not need to water as much, but be sure to keep them well irrigated in the dry winter season as this is when the root system is developing that will send up the new shoots in the spring and summer.
If you are not going to plant your new plants right away, make sure you keep them in a shady place where they will get plenty of water until you are ready to put them in the ground.
If a hard freeze below 30 degrees is predicted in the winter it is good to add a thick layer of mulch around the plants or to wrap small plants of the more cold sensitive types with a frost blanket especially the first winter.
When is the best time to plant bamboo?
Bamboo can be planted at any time of the year. Since new shoots begin to appear during the hot summer months, planting in the springtime can be a particularly gratifying time to plant. Mid-summer is also good because there is usually plenty of rain then and newly planted bamboo likes frequent watering. Those people who purchase bamboo in the cooler months have an advantage because their plants will have a longer time to develop strong roots. A good solid root system is what enables bamboo to send out bigger, taller canes the following summer.
Will bamboo grow better in sun or shade?
Most bamboos can handle either sun or shade equally well. Sunlight is not nearly as important a factor as water and soil quality in determining bamboo placement. In shady areas, bamboos have a tendency to grow taller because they have to stretch upward for light. The canes also stay greener, on green-caned varieties. In sunny locations, the canes on young green-caned bamboos are often bleached out by sunlight and look less green than they will in mature specimens. As bamboos age they self-shade, providing their own protection from the sun's harsh light. There are only a few varieties, including all the black bamboos, that really prefer a shady location but even they will continue to grow if planted in direct light, just not as quickly.
What is the fastest growing bamboo?
The most prolific clumping bamboo we have is Seabreeze. It shoots early in the season and each year sends up more new canes than any other clumping variety. The fastest growing running bamboo is Green Hedge (fastuosa). Plant one cane of this prolific runner and in about three years, you will have a dense grove of upright, leafy canes. If you are planning to hide an unattractive chain link or wire fence with a living hedge using one of the running or clumping hedge bamboos, by the time the fence is ready to be replaced it will be unnecessary to do so. The impenetrable bamboo will have completely concealed the fence. The bamboo that produces the largest (3" to 4" diameter) canes the fastest is Giant Timber (oldhamii) clumping bamboo.
How far apart should I plant my bamboos?
Although it depends somewhat on the variety, as a general rule, plant bamboos about 10' apart. For faster blockage or to create a quicker hedge, a spacing of 4' to 6' is most effective. Consider the bamboo's shape when planting. Most runners can be planted closer together than clumping varieties because they tend to have a more upright growth pattern. Among the clumping varieties, the hedge types have canes that lean out at an angle forming a "bowl" shape and therefore will touch and create a screen quickly even planted 10' or more apart. Other clumpers, especially the larger-caned timber bamboos, grow more erect and may need to be planted closer together if the purpose is to create a screening effect. Also, some bamboos have leaves and branches clear to the ground and the canes grow close together. Others have less lower branching and more widely spaced canes to give the appearance of a more open grove.
What type of maintenance does bamboo need?
In addition to regular watering, it will help your bamboo grow faster if you fertilize it regularly and apply a light mulch around the plant base. Bamboo is just a giant grass and it likes any fertilizer with a high nitrogen number. If you are going organic, periodically apply compost or aged manure around the canes. Bamboos will respond well to a mulch of grass clippings or leaves so, if you rake your lawn, save the clippings and leaves you gather and place them around the bamboo. If you choose to apply a chemical fertilizer, find one with a higher first number (indicating the nitrogen level) and use as directed. Bamboos can be fertilized monthly. If you notice a yellowing of the leaves or canes (an indication of low iron levels), sprinkle some Ironite around the base of the plant. Other maintenance includes trimming out older canes to provide more room for new shoots. This is not necessary but, if done, provides a more open look to your grove and allows more space for larger canes to grow. Normally bamboos are not prone to insect or disease problems. If your bamboo gets as big as you want it to be you can stop fertilizing and watering it as much to slow down future growth.
Do I need a barrier to control my bamboo?
Clumping bamboos never need to be controlled by barriers but, sometimes, running bamboos do. If you are planting a running bamboo in an area where you will be unable to mow a 20' to 30' swath around the bamboo then it might be important to have a barrier in place. Our experience over the past 15 years growing many different kinds of running bamboos is that mowing alone successfully contains most of the running varieties we sell. If you cannot keep a wide area around the bamboo mowed or if you have gardens nearby, runners will spread into those spaces. Remember that you only have to control their spread during the late spring and hot summer months when new shoots emerge. Also, young shoots are very delicate. If you do not want to keep a shoot that has popped out of the ground you can simply kick it over or cut it with clippers. Even larger, more mature shoots are easy to weedwack or cut off with snippers. Regular mowing will keep most running bamboos in place but a barrier made out of high-density plastic doesn't hurt. Bamboo roots are fairly shallow, growing only about 2' into the ground, so any barrier only needs to be 2' to 3' deep.
Bamboo grows quickly especially when weather is hot and wet.
Bamboo in the background...wind chimes in the foreground...rain all around
We've recently had both at our Central Florida homestead and our many clumping bamboo plants have responded to the rain and high temperatures by sending out an explosion of new shoots.
The prolific Seabreeze Bamboo (Bambusa malingensis) sends out more new shoots than any other clumping variety
The colorful green and yellow striped shoot of Asian Lemon Timber Bamboo are so pretty when they emerge
Blue Timber Bamboo is another prolific shooter with shades of pink, light blue and purple in the baby canes
It's always exciting to see new shoots emerge. Even after 21 years of growing bamboo, I'm never tired of watching bamboo grow!
Malory and Tim had a wonderful day May 22nd when Beautiful Bamboo attended the Manatee Rare Fruit Council's 25th Annual Rare Fruit Tree Sale. We were invited by MRFC to enhance the variety of edible plants available with the addition of bamboo. It was a day of tree-talk and kindred spirits - such a fun time investigating all of the tropical fruit trees for sale and talking with folks about the edibility of bamboo plants. We brought specimens of Giant Timber (Bambusa oldhamii), Seabreeze (Bambusa Malingensis), Dwarf Buddha Belly (Bambusa vulgaris Wamin), Graceful (Bambusa textilis gracilis) and a few others.
Tim stands with beautiful, young Giant Timber bamboos.
Edible Bamboo Varieties
In the spring and summer, as the new shoots are emerging from the ground, they can be cut, processed and eaten. Traditional in many Asian cuisines like Chinese and Thai, young bamboo shoots are crunchy, fibrous, and starchy-tasting, similar to water chestnuts or potatoes.
While many bamboo species are edible, some varieties of bamboo are tastier than others. We have harvested and enjoyed eating the shoots of Vivax Timber
), Green Hedge
(Bambusa multiplex Silverstripe
), Giant Timber
) and Seabreeze
Emerging Vivax shoots (Phyllostachys vivax). The small ones on left are ready to harvest.
We have also heard Dendrocalamus asper
is a delicious bamboo variety commonly harvested for food in Asia. For a list of choice edible bamboo species, check out Guadua Bamboo's complete list
Nutritional Value of Bamboo Shoots
As you might expect of a plant food, bamboo is very health-promoting and nutritious
. It is low in saturated fat and sodium, and very low in cholesterol. Bamboo is also a good source of dietary fiber, protein, riboflavin and zinc, and a very good source of vitamin B6, potassium, copper and manganese. Despite the good nutrition found in bamboo shoots, one must be cautious of which varieties to eat. Some bamboo varieties contain cyanogenic glycosides, a toxic cyanide. See Preparing below to learn how to safely eat bamboo.
Harvesting Bamboo Shoots
Harvest new bamboo shoots when they are about four to six inches tall. As they grow taller they become more fibrous, so shoots greater than six or so inches tall might be too tough. At six-inches or less, they are still tender to eat. Try to find larger emerging shoots, about 2-3" in diameter, which will have more of the edible flesh inside. You can cut them with a saw or sawzall at or below the ground level.
Because some bamboo varieties contain toxic cyanogenic glycosides, it is best to know the species you are preparing. We recommend boiling the shoots for about an hour to 90 minutes, which will render most varieties safe to eat. However, the safest method is to figure out what variety of bamboo you are harvesting, and look it up
After boiling, allow shoots to cool to the touch, remove the hard outer skin and cut the pointy top off. Cut shoots lengthwise to expose the soft inner flesh. Chop shoots into desired size and shape, and your bamboo shoots are ready to cook!
Many Thai recipes call for bamboo shoots in curry dishes; they are delicious stir fried with other vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms and carrots. For the Japanese method of preparing bamboo shoots, takenoko akunuki, check out this article from KyotoFoodie.com
It's true. I do love bamboo! I also love all the wildlife I see in and around our many bamboo-covered acres. Below are a few of my favorite photos of animals - large and small - taking advantage of Beautiful Bamboo.
Blue dragonfly on emerging Vivax aureocaulis
A customer who planted a hedge of Graceful Clumping Bamboo along his property line several years ago recently wrote with the following question:
Our clumping bamboo is growing really well, but starting to hang into our neighbors yard, should I cut the offending canes in the middle or at the ground level to prevent this in the future?
You can cut the overhanging canes anywhere but I usually like to cut them off at the base for aesthetic reasons. However, trimming existing canes won't stop new shoots which come up around the base to grow tall and eventually do the same thing - overhanging the neighbor's yard. The only way to prevent that is to knock over the new shoots coming up on your neighbor's side so they won't grow tall. When bamboo gets to the stage your has, it needs maintenance once a year. Remember that the growing season continues through November so new canes will keep coming up. We suggest doing a pruning once in the late winter before the growing season begins and then knocking over unwanted new shoots as they appear during the spring-summer-fall.
Two lovely hedges of clumping bamboos
Some of the best bamboos for creating dense living walls of green are in the Bambusa multiplex family of clumping bamboos. Bambusa multiplex alphonse karr (Golden Hedge), Bambusa multiplex golden goddess (Golden Goddess) and Bambusa multiplex silverstripe (Green Hedge) are all very hardy, broad growing bamboos that make wonderful hedges. If you wish to create a privacy barrier, buffer sound or block the view to something objectionable, these three bamboos will quickly accomplish your goals.
Of the three, Green Hedge will get the tallest (35'), Golden Hedge (25') and Golden Goddess tops out between 12' and 15'. Golden Hedge has golden-yellow canes with green stripes while both Green Hedge and Golden Goddess have green canes.
Attractive new shoots of Golden Hedge Clumping Bamboo
For variety and attractiveness, we like to mix up the different Multiplex bamboos when creating hedges. For instance, Golden and Green Hedge look lovely together since both grow to similar heights and have identical shapes.
Green Hedge and Golden Hedge bamboos blend together nicely
The end three bamboos are Golden Goddess next to a line of Golden Hedge bamboo to add variety and interest to the hedge.
Similarly, Golden Goddess, which is shorter than Green or Golden Hedge, works well when placed at the ends of a hedge of either or both of the larger bamboos. Doing so creates an interesting visual arc when mature without sacrificing privacy.
No matter what types of bamboo you purchase, it is important to include soil amendments and irrigation in your plans. Bamboo grows best in a rich but light soil (we suggest our custom mix called Bamboo Booster) and likes a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Water daily after planting and as often as possible during the first growing season.
What can you do with bamboo? How about making teacups? Here's a photo sent by one of our customer who not only made a set of teacups out of bamboo poles but used a wood burning tool to etch a design into the wood.
Gerry, a customer from Islamorada, FL wrote to say:
The hedge bamboo we bought from you is doing great. There are lots of new shoots coming out of the ground and it's getting tall with a lot of full growth on the upper third of the stem. Is it OK to "top off" the tallest ones in order to encourage new leaves near the bottom, or should we wait for it to fill in on its own?
I would suggest waiting a little while longer, Gerry. New bamboo shoot grow tall quickly then take their time leafing out beginning at the top and working their way down to the bottom. Keep in mind that the above-ground growing season continues until November so you can expect many, many more new shoots to emerge before then. Your clumps will be full and leafy by the end of the year. At that point, if there are any canes that are bare at the bottom but leafy at the top, you can top them to encourage new lower leaf growth. Keep in mind though that once a bamboo cane is topped, that cane will never grow any taller.
New shoots begin to leaf out from the top and work their way down toward the bottom, a process that takes several months to complete.