Blue Henon Bamboo

bobarian68January 6, 2014

i live in Long island, NY(zone 7).I have been researching various bamboos, and although i like the clumping bamboos because they tend to be less invasive, i prefer the look of the running bamboo.One of my favorites is the Blue Henon.My question,if i purchase plants that are 2 feet to 3 feet, how long would it take for them to attain 10 feet?I intend on putting them in planters to contain the runners, in full sun, plenty of water

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Bamboo will not reach full size in small containers. From my experience, clumpers will get larger than runners inside of planters, of course depending on the size of the planter.

Here, my Henon gets about 8 feet tall in a 25 gallon container. If you have a good sized root system with the plants, no matter how tall they are, the bamboo can reach 10 feet tall in one season, but the number of culms will not be there. It will take a few years to get the needed culms to fill in the spaces. In your zone it may take longer to reach 10 feet.

Just remember, the better established the root system, the quicker the bamboo will grow and flourish.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 4:53PM
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I would have to agree that running bamboo needs to go into the ground. It is possible to grow them in planters however even if you use 100 gallon plots, they will be limited in size and numbers. The freezing of the root balls can also be a problem so you may need to move them into the garage every winter if you intend to keep them in containers.

Here's a link where you can see 3 full seasons of a bamboo growing in the ground to get a good idea of how fast they can grow. Results may vary for each species and climate.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bicolor growth progress since spring of 2011

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 11:29PM
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Thanks for the replies!I went on the site, and it was very helpful.I have about 4 months before planting, so this my time to investigate the best choices.As much as i love the Black Bamboos, and some of the other colorful specimens, the cold hardiness is suspect.Now , i believe that once the plants are established, they would have an easier time of it, but today with wind chill was about -15 F.I just don't want to fight an uphill battle!.Ok, so what i am thinking about, is using phyllostachys Rubromargiata(commonly called "red margin") for the main barrier,and then experiment slowly here and there with some of the other varieties.The "red margin"seems to be very cold tolerant.

Also, todays temps are not typical.I am in zone 7,so we are usually above 0 F.Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 2:22PM
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I am in a colder pocket of zone 7 in the Sierre Nevada Mountains of CA at 3,300 ft. elevation. I have (in ground) black bamboo, madake, vivax (gold and yellow), rufa, golden goddess, and golden bamboo and they all do just fine. It also doesn't seem to spread like gangbusters here and it sounds like you are colder than me. Even established groves at a neighbors down the street are fairly tame and they're all runners that have been established for 10 years plus. I am also partial to letting runners enjoy the earth and not a container :)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 9:29PM
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thanks newbamboonut.I think what i am seeing is that with all of the bamboos, there are general requirements for temp and conditions.But, that doesn't mean that the plant can't climatize to an extent, and survive.Its all good info though.I believe i will stick with my idea of using a very cold hardy plant for the barrier, and experiment with others.If we get a particularly cold spell, i don't want to lose too much.

On another note, people in this area seem to be terrified about bamboo, because some runners left unchecked, can be invasive.I agree, I'm not ecstatic about containers, and i am leaning towards the plastic barriers.Lots of opinions on that too!thanks again

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 7:32AM
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A new thoughtâ¦.Fargesia Robusta "campbell.A clumping bamboo used to zone 7 down to 0 degrees F.It helps with the spreading problem of the runners.As usual , conflicting data on winter damage

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 7:11AM
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If you get any of the screening bamboos which tend to produce an abundance of rhizomes/ culms and spread very quickly, you can expect a running problem without annual rhizome pruning because those can stretch a long distance each year. The main screening types are the aureosulcatas, bissetiis, rubromarginata, and a few more. Their intent is to fill in an area so those species tend to go as far as you allow them to fairly quickly.

A one sided barrier should work well to ensure they don't jump over to the neighbors side, but I would still recommend keeping the rhizomes off the barrier so it doesn't eventually get worn down.

The bigger timber bamboos that produce less rhizomes/culms would be easier to control, but if your purpose is a screen, then I believe fargesia robusta, thamnocalamus tessalatus, or any of the big enough cold hardy clumping types would work fine. You may just need to get multiple plants.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 9:18PM
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Thanks Steve, very helpful.I saw your comments on the bamboo and blah blah.I went on vacation last mont to Turks and Caicos,and it sparked my lost desire to use Bamboo.I love color.At the resort, there was some bamboo there with yellow stalks and green stripes.I gotta get some of that i thought!Because of where i live, i am a bit limited it seems, but not totally.The Bissetiis you mentioned seems to be previlent on Long Island.Actually, its everywhere.The Rubromarginata is ok, but not very colorful.The Aureosulcata however, is much closer to what I'm looking for.I found Aureosulcata "harbin", and i like the yellow/green stalks.Anything with color will always be considered! thanks again, Bob

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 7:49AM
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pic post test
p.aureosulcata "Harbin"

and p.Vivax Aureocaulis"

Hey, i finally figured out how to post pics! just dragged them to "choose file"â¦okâ¦.i likeHarbin, but i prefer Aureocaulis.I did some searching, and there is conflicting info (not surprising) about temp zone restrictions.Vivax is rated for zone 6, down to -5 f.I would be willing to shield them for the winter, as it rarely gets past 10 f.On Bamboo and blah blah site, it is not recommended for these cold temps of zone 7.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 10:18AM
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ok , the 1st pic is vivax "aureocaulis,which i preferâ¦growth in optimum conditions is very big.The 2nd pic, P. aureosulcata "Harbin"
Also, with the running nature of these bamboos, i will have to put in a barrier.Initially, i was going to build 8x2x2 foot planters out of acq(treated lumber).The cost of this (i need 3 planters), and the question of the bamboo adapting to their "home" has me considering the thick plastic that is recommended.That is not cheap either, also, big time digging a trench 3 feet down around the perimeter.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 10:32AM
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Vivax aureocaulus is a pretty good bamboo if you don't get below 7F often, and if you don't get a lot of snowfall. I've kept a specimen of it since 2008, and been splitting it every time it got too crammed in its 15 gallon pot.

It did handle 12F inside my greenhouse a few days ago with a bit of leaf curl, but that's mainly from the pot getting frozen. It looks good now.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 6:53PM
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very niceâ¦i see the curlâ¦poor guy!!hopefully just a bad dayâ¦..ive been researching al dayâ¦It seems the bamboo community is extensive ..i had no idea.Reminds me of Japanese Maplesâ¦the varieties are endlessâ¦I came up with yet another ideaâ¦.I keep talking about color.

P. nigra 20 feet
P aureosulcata Spectabilis yellow/green to 26 feet

Space them out in the same area, let the black/yellow/green mingle.

The area is roughly 30 x10 feet with barrier plastic

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 7:45PM
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2 species together usually works only if they have about equal vigor. I have both those species and know that spectabilis is far more aggressive with fatter roots that establish easily in comparison to p nigra. I think a mixed grove would result in the spectabilis choking out the nigra. The reason behind this is because the spreading rhizomes put out enormous roots off the rhizomes that take in so much water and nutrients that it chokes everything else out from growing. This is one of the reasons why spectabilis can spread amazing distances in a single season.

P nigra's rhizome roots are relatively small in comparison to spectabilis. It would work to perhaps maintain very few spectabilis culms to nigra culms or just keep them separated, but if left to fight underground, nigra just doesn't stand a chance.

I linked the 2013 shooting season to one picture of my spectabilis which went from 4 culms to over 30 mostly upsized new shoots in 1 season, and this is after taking off multiple rhizome divisions before spring so it's proliferation potential is off the charts.

Here is a link that might be useful: shooting season thread 2013

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 9:12PM
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Holy cow you had your spectabilis go from 4 to 30? that is incredible considering your zone (which is 6 yes?). steve how cold do your winter lows get there? i am guessing pretty darn cold judging from the leaf burn on your spectabilis. also i am curious if you have a barrier for your planting there and if not how you kept it from invading your garlic bed and neighbors yard.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 9:43PM
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It got down to around 1F last winter, and this winter, the lowest temperature was more like -6F, but most of the bamboos are still looking alright because they keep on getting hardier each year as they establish.

That moso bicolor that got the enormous upsize had a 20X10 X8 greenhouse built over it which has a canopy that can be taken off easily, and it never got lower than 12F inside the greenhouse.

I don't use barriers at all because most of the bamboos I grow don't run any more than 1-3ft per year, and the timber bamboos that tend to produce huge shoots just don't produce that many rhizomes so it's easy to track them. It is a fairly open area. As far as the ones that do spread quickly, all I need to do is rhizome prune around the grove because I know the rhizomes won't grow any deeper than the height of the shovel head at least in my climate. It just hasn't happened yet after 6 seasons of growing bamboo.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 11:50PM
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thanks everyone.I really appreciate the info!Steve, that is dry helpful.Actually, in order to accomplish this, i could put some round barriers inside the big oval barrier, to separate the 2 varieties.I might just end up using the nigra elsewhere.
What i really need to do is find someone fairly local that has the Spectabilis , so i can get it in larger sizes.Otherwise, i have to order from nurseries far away, and the sizes are small

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 7:16PM
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In terms of driving distance, it would only be around 250-300 miles to the closest major collector down close to Baltimore at Dave Andrew's place. This is the actual collection, and this guy has at least 2X as many species as myself. Black, vivax, and spectabilis is included. He also gives away the dried bamboo canes for free. This is probably your best bet if you want to see mature bamboo groves. He sells higher quality divisions than regular nurseries for a very low price.

This is his contact info

I know I'm more like 350-400 miles away from LI.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dave Andrew's bamboo collection

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 7:51PM
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great find Steve! I got his contact info off the link you listed , but i think the email address is no good.Did you correspond by email with him?If so, can you give me his email?
Thanks for the great info, I'm pretty sure i will go with "spectabilis" Im really liking the colorâ¦yellow/green

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 7:12AM
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His email is

As shown in the set of pictures, he definitely has a lot of spectabilis so it may make sense to get down there closer to the spring when the threat of freeze is over.

If you do gardening too, you may as well get as many culms as possible.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 3:42PM
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Thanks Steve, i agreeâ¦ill see if i can work something out with himâ¦otherwise, its mail-order paying top price for small plants that take forever to mature.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 4:20PM
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Hey Steve , did you happen to get a pic of the "Robert Young " culms?Ive been going back and forth with Dave,trying to narrow down my search.Your pics of your visit are very helpful.

First, the "spectabilis"takes on too much damage from the heavy snow , bending too much.I don't want the aggravation of constantly worrying about that.

second, Dave told me his "Robert Young" didn't have the green stripes that he wanted, but, if the bending is minimal, i would be interested, as the yellow culms are very nice.

third, after viewing your pics, the "Dulcis " caught my eye big time.It looks to be a fast spreader, with beautiful dark culms that can get upwards of 3".And non bending.

If the Robert Young is in good shape(no bending), i would consider that and Dulcis.Im not sure if i could mingle them though, Dulcis looks strong

Really what i need to do is take a trip up there to check it out, but if i can make 1 trip, and pick up that day, that would be better.
Thanks, Bob

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 7:05AM
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My camera actually ran out of battery while I was taking photos so I didn't have every species, but his Robert Young did look straight when I saw it, similar to his castillon. I know some of his plants appeared to be new acquisitions so I would suggest making sure that he's willing to dig from it first, but the Robert Young had a decent # of culms.

I've seen Dave measure the largest of his Dulcis culms which was in the ball part of 3.6 inches, and you are correct in that most of them are around 3 inches. He does have smaller culms if not rhizome divisions that can be taken, and if not, then it's possible to top a giant culm, and take the entire root ball for a division.

If you do make a trip down there, might as well wait until after the weather stabilizes a bit because we could see more record lows coming in the next few weeks. It wouldn't be good to bring back a bunch of boos just to face a 0F low and get them all fried.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 10:57AM
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Steve, I was curious what the soonest spring shooting you guys have had in terms of months. We are having an unusually warm winter here. It's January and we are sunny in the high 60's and have only had one or two days of snow (was heavy) but then resumed to spring type weather. Of course I am avidly looking for new shoots in my greenhouse and my outdoor in-ground plantings although I realize I am 2-3 months early, but it's hard for me not to dream considering shooting time is my favorite time of year HA.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 11:49AM
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Depending on the species, most bamboos will start shooting when the soil temperature is between 50F-60F.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 4:44PM
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I've been going back and forth with Dave Andrews.He Gave me a few choices that were temp hardy and non bendingâ¦"Atrovaginata ia the most hardy, and then the "Dulcis"..Both down to temps that should be ok for Long Island.Although this year has been very cold, wind chill below zero F.In that case, i believe a wind barrier would be necessary.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 7:46AM
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I planted full sun running bamboo that were 2'-3' tall in June 2010. Last summer it reached 8' in height. I am zone 7 and they get plenty of water, I suspect this year they will reach 10' - 15' in height. Max height for the species I planted is about 20' - 30'. Maybe another 1 - 3 years to reach that. So I guess I am saying 5-7 years from 2' to 3' to max height.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 2:45PM
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While driving around town, i found 2 houses with what looks like P.Dulcis.It looked like 1inch up to about 1.5 inchâ¦green.Close enough to dulcis for me,One stand is massive, about 20 feet x 60 feet, solid.The heavy snows took its toll, and there are lots of benders.
When the snow goes away, I'm actually going to knock on their door, and enquire about purchasing.I will have to dig myself, so i will be researching the best way to do this.

Also, i spotted some black bamboo.I think , like anything else, varieties can survive and climatize , it just takes a while â¦crossing my fingers about the dulcis!!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 12:46PM
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i might be able to dig some bamboo, i live in Long island ,ny,zone 7.When is the best time to do this?Also, is there a thread here describing the best way to dig it?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 7:21PM
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