Black Bamboo Propagation

bambookid524March 27, 2008

i have some black bamboo in my lawn and it is about 10-15 ft. I was wondering how i could propagate it to a size where i could ship some to a friend without shipping him a whole culm.

Any answers will be much appreciated.

Thank You!

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Last month I got a bunch of black bamboo from a friend. I got it in
two forms: two-foot lengths of 3/4 inch thick rhizome, and large clumps
of earth containing culms, rhizomes, and roots. To harvest the
large clumps, the culms were sawed down to about eight inches. Then,
the clumps were dug up by tractor.

The rhizomes were laid in a trough of loose soil in the garden, and
a month later they are exhibiting good growth. So, I'd suggest that
you harvest lengths of healthy rhizome, and ship the rhizome in
soil that will keep the roots moist. I'm no expert, but it seems to
me that the sooner your friend gets the rhizomes in the ground, the
better his/her chance of success.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 4:08PM
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Thank you. another question, does black bamboo have more than 1 rhizome or do all of the shoots come off of the same one because if they do in fact have only one and you clip it, wouldn't it stop the growth of the one you clipped from?


    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 8:49AM
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Don't worry about stopping the growth by cutting a rhizome...if this stopped the growth of bamboo, then bamboo would never have gotten such a bad reputation as a rampaging plant.

It may slow the reproduction of new culms on that particular rhizome for a while, but there are many rhizomes that branch endlessly underground.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 10:23AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Black bamboo, like other runners, has a network of's not like you'd be cutting the taproot of a tree. However, the downside of propagating from a rhizome is: 1) you may not have a very good success rate using just the rhizome, and 2) if you do succeed, it will be years before the plant gets to a decent size. Best to take a division consisting of a rootball and at least one culm. If you take a division, do it from growth that is at least a year old. A division consisting of a new culm and rootball is often not established enough to survive a transplant.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 1:13PM
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Ok. So i wait until i have a big rootball then i dig that up w/ the attached culms. Then just pot it.

My bamboo right now is only 10 in. and once it gets bigger will there be a way to get a part that is the same size as when it was started or will i have to dig up the root ball and a full size culm?

All answers are much appreciated:)


    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 4:14PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Steve, once the bamboo gets going, I think you'll have a range of
culm sizes sprouting up. So, you could simply "harvest" from the
edge of the plant, or wherever it is that the smaller culms appear.
I took a couple pictures of my bamboo in progress. Two of the potted
bamboo - one for scale, and one up close. The latter two images are
of the bamboo clumps that I planted in the ground - again, one for scale,
and one up close. Standard size tomato-cages. The sawed culms are
about an inch and an inch and three quarters respectively.
I hope they all survive.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 6:25PM
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I see from your picture above that you have cut portions of the bamboo stalk. Is this what you are propagating from? I ask because I had cut some large stalks off my clumping black bamboo and placed it in the side yard. Time got away from me and when I went back there I noticed there were roots growing from one end. Now understand this was not watered, or planted but merely lying on its side atop a brick walkway. Therefore I am assuming that a cut stalk that was cut into pieces just above each 'knee' and either left, placed into water with hormones or directly into the soil it would propagate? Does anyone have any insight into this summation?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 12:05PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

The culms were chopped down to that height in order to be dug up and transported.
The culms that you see above are still connected to all of the rhizomes beneath the soil.
The chunks of rhizome and old culm that I planted were three cubic feet in some cases.
Black Bamboo, as far as I know, is not propagated by cuttings of the stalk itself.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 2:28AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Most bamboo species grown in the U.S. are running bamboo and you can only propagate them from the rhizomes (roots), not the culms (stalks). However, clumping bamboo, which tends to be tropical bamboo, can be propagated from culm sections. Given that you are in Zone 10, I am assuming that you have a black clumper. Usually it takes a little more effort than you put into it to succeed in propagating these, but you got lucky with that one!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 1:41PM
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