Everything You Need To Know About Bamboo Plants

Everything You Need To Know About Bamboo Plants

Trends, fashions, hype and “it” plants come and go, but there are some plants that’s style is so iconic, timeless and versatile that they will always play a part in landscape design.

Bamboo can be used in as many ways as there are varieties. From minimal Japanese inspired courtyards to lush, extravagant tropical pool areas. With different heights, colour, tolerances and texture, there is one that will suit any occasion.

In this blog post we are going to take you through the range of bamboos we have on offer, explain best planting practices and offer some tips for the ongoing care of your bamboo.

Bamboo Varieties:

  • Himalayan Weeping Bamboo (Drepanostachyum falcatum)

    drepanostachyum falcatumSoft, elegant and extremely handy to have around, this beautiful clumping bamboo is sure to lift your landscape design. Naturally growing to between 2m and 3m this densely growing bamboo has a graceful weeping habit which makes it a lovely pot specimen, but also a useful screening option. Grassy green foliage and culms mean that the Himalayan Weeping Bamboo works in beautifully to the broader landscape and the fine texture of the foliage contrasts with other plantings. This variety does best with regular moisture in part sun, perfect for a shady corner or down the side of a house. Himalayan Weeping Bamboo needs a bed depth of 50cm as a minimum.

  • Nepalese Blue Bamboo (Himalayacalamus porcatus)

    bambusa porcatus nepalese blue onlineA delightful small growing bamboo, the Nepalese Blue is a fine specimen top to toe. Growing to a height of 3m on culms with a powder blue finish, the foliage of this clumping bamboo is fine and grassy green. The elegant weeping habit of the Nepalese Blue bamboo is perfect for a pot specimen and makes for a lush screening option. The combination of texture and colour will make this bamboo and winning landscape addition when grown in part sun with regular moisture. 50cm is all the bed depth the Nepalese Blue Bamboo needs.

  • Gracilis Weaver’s Bamboo (Bambusa textilis ‘Gracilis)

    bambusa textilis gracilis plantingPerhaps the most well recognized and widely planted variety, Gracilis Weaver’s Bamboo is a favourite for a reason. Growing to a neat 7m this lush bamboo has a dense and upright habit, making it the perfect choice for screening. Thriving in full sun to part shade with regular moisture, the lush grassy green foliage is quick to fill out and the culms with a golden hue are strong and sculptural. Despite it’s taller habit this bamboo can still be planted in narrow beds, making it a real problem solvers for tight spaces. Gracilis Weaver’s Bamboo can be grown in beds as little as 40cm deep, making it a real space saver.

  • Oldhamii Bamboo (Bambusa oldhamii)

    bambusa oldhamii onlineIf your job requires something tall, fast and lush, look no further than Oldhamii Bamboo. Quickly growing to an impressive height of 16m, this densely growing clumping bamboo is a showstopper in any landscape. The neat upright habit of this bamboo makes it an ideal screening plant for large spaces, blocking out wind, noise and unsightly views. Growing best in full sun to part shade with regular moisture, the broad, grassy green foliage and strong sculptural culms make this a bold and lush landscape addition. The minimum bed width for Oldhamii Bamboo is 1.5m.

  • Tiger grass (Thysanolaena maxima)

    thysanolaena maxima MelbourneWhile not a true bamboo, Tiger Grass is up there with the best of them when it comes to style and function. Growing to a chunky 3m, this clumping grass has a lot to offer. The huge grassy green foliage has a wonderful texture and is a great option for screening. A striking container specimen, Tiger grass thrives in full sun to part shade with regular moisture. It is worth noting that unlike it’s bamboo cousins, Tiger grass will not tolerate being pruned to maintain height. Tiger Grass can be grown in a bed with a minimum width of 50cm.

Bamboo Planting Guide:

Spacing

All our bamboo varieties are clumping, meaning they grow out in circle around a central point. For a dense screen you would plant each bamboo the same distance apart as the width of the bed ie for a 90cm bed plant them 90cm apart. The minimum bed width and planting distance is dependent on each variety.

Soil

Bamboos are shallow rooted, with roots growing to a maximum depth of between 30cm and 50cm. They are adaptable to a wide range of soil types from clay to sand, but resent being waterlogged regularly. It is often ideal to introduce a good depth of quality topsoil for them to grow in and for them to be mulched and fertilized regularly, however this is not a necessity.

Planting

Planting can occur at any time of year, except in areas with heavy frosts where it is advisable to not plant in winter.

Standard planting practices apply: dig a hole twice as wide as the pot and about as deep with plant sitting at soil level. Turning organic matter in is desirable for quick and easy establishment. Particular emphasis should be placed on thoroughly watering in the plants.

Ongoing Care

Bamboos benefit from being well mulched. They require regular thorough watering until establishment, at which point watering needs will ease off. They benefit from the application of fertilizer high in nitrogen over the growing season. Over time when old culms begin to die off, they should be removed to maintain lush appearance.

Bamboo Pruning

There are 4 main ways to prune bamboo:

  1. Prune to height: Just like with trees and shrubs, bamboo (excluding Tiger Grass) can be pruned to maintain a desired height. This can also be used to keep bamboos narrow and not spilling over into pathways or over roofs. Pruned culms will not regrow however new shoots will need to be pruned once they reach the height.
  2. Thinning: Selectively removing culms from ground level will open up the canopy and decongest the “trunk” level.
  3. Removing side branches: To achieve a sleek display of the culms and to neaten the canopy, remove side branches to a chosen height.
  4. Knocking out new shoots: This will control the size of the bamboos footprint but also allow you to maintain a desired density. Simply kick or knock over new shoots at they emerge while they are still soft.

Bamboos are an excellent screening option for traditional and modern landscapes alike. Instead of just blending into the background they are a feature in themselves, bringing texture, colour and sculptural form to the garden. With such diversity in size and shape there are endless ways to uses them, with smaller varieties even making great pot specimens. So for your next job, why not talk to the team at Kilby Park Tree Farm about using some of our incredible stock for some real WOW factor?

Come in and see us during the week at Kilby Park Tree Farm to look over our extensive range of Bamboo Plants for any landscaping or design project. Call 03 9859 9190 for more information.