Growing Alphonse Karr Bamboo in Florida

kozmicJanuary 25, 2014

We live in central Florida, basically on the edge of a swamp.

We talked to a guy that is selling bamboo. We are going to have some delivered. They are Alphonse Karr about 6' tall and look healthy.
We want to plant them next to our fence to make a taller screen. He said to plant them 6' apart, and that they were ok with having wet feet. I need to know how far I should keep them from the wooden privacy fence, and are they going to tolerate the summer soggy ground here in the rainforest they call the sunshine state.
he is also bringing us one Oldhamii we are going to plant in a similar area.

Any words of wisdom from those that aren't trying to sell us bamboo?

I don't want to spend all the money to kill them.


Jeff K

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If the ground is too soggy, you can build up a mound of soil and plant them in the top of the mound. Mine don't mind wet feet, but only their toes. If all of the roots and rhizomes are in constant soggy ground, I don't think the plant will survive very long. At least if you can keep the upper 6 inches, or more, above the wet ground, you will be OK.

As far as distance from the fence, it depends on if you need to go between the bamboo and fence or not. I'd personally plant them about 6 feet from the fence.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 7:32PM
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    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 8:44PM
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I'm in central Fl also and purchased my Alphonse Karr from a guy in Orange City about 5 month ago ... I planted 6 ft apart in clay and amazing as it may seem its filling in nicely.. As for the Oldhami.. I picked up a good size clump also about 5 month ago.. It was doing fine until these few cold days.. Now it doesn't seem so green... So I'm starting to believe that oldhami may not have Been a good idea..... Considering we only had a few hard freezes here 28 being the lowest...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 11:04PM
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AK will make a nice screen. I probably planted mine (years ago) too close to the fence; but I didn't want to take up too much yard. I'm in the habit of making a Spring task (after our last freeze ~Mar1) to cut off the back with a sabre saw and repot/replant the cuttings to expand and share. I'd estimate that the circumference expands ~8 in./yr. in our "gumbo" (TX Gulf Coast clay soil). I WAS surprised, that some shoots of my AK were killed by this "icemagedon" (Low = 28oF); I thought it was more resistant than that...

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 7:55PM
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botanicalbill(9b SWFlorida)

In the rainy season at my house, I can hit water about 6"-1' down. I have planted about 100 bamboos around the two sides of my back yard and one row across the middle. I did not build any mounds for planting them. They are thriving as I have had them in the ground for about 4 years now.
I think wet feet in Florida's rainy season with 100% sand as soil is a bit different than most parts of the country. If your soil has more clay in it, I would build it up just slightly as clay holds water, sand does not. Also, I put about 1/4 bag of pine bark mulch into each hole/plant I am planting. I planted my plants 2' to 3' apart.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 11:15PM
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webgator(9 FL)

I've had several bamboos drown due to them being planted in areas that retain water after heavy rainfalls. I don't think it's so much the groundwater level but how long any standing water covers the plant that will kill it. My B. Textilis gracilis even "floated" up out of the ground (it was a relatively fresh transplant), but survived nicely after planted in a better location.

As for the will eventually become the fence, growing under and around it. That is unless you maintain it religiously, destroying all new growth that heads in that direction.

@ kevlar, old growth is resistant to freezing, new shoots and culms that have not hardened off are not.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bamboo Propagation

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:20AM
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