new to bamboo

refinMarch 6, 2008

I am new to bamboo and would like to plant some this year. We have a roof terrace and everything has to be in planters. I am starting to research which bamboo to plant but I want to know if anyone could tell me when the best time to plant would be? Also, I can plant them in smaller containers (about 1 1/2 ft x 1 1/2 x 1 1/2) which would allow me to take the bamboo out and divide it if needed. Would this be a better idea than (larger) planters? It is an older roof garden so there is a watering system and some shade.

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What size bamboo are you looking for? Height?

Any particular coloured culms that you are looking for? Yellow, green, gray, blue, or maybe striped?


    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 7:27PM
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my primary concern is that they have some chance at surviving in planters or containers. While the watering system is great and I can insulate the containers, frost is an issue (I am in 6B). I would prefer smaller plants (less than 6 foot) and evergreen. Any color would be fine as well. I had looked into bamboo a few times but really fell in love during a zoo visit near me. The zoo's grounds were covered with snow and very green bamboo. It looked wonderful. However, all the bamboo was huge (30 feet or so).

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 8:28PM
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Bamboo gets a bit hardier with size and age, and it is less hardy when grown in a pot.

A tall bamboo could simply be topped to any size you want, but don't cut it until it leaves-out.

6b? What are the lowest temps that the bamboo would have to endure?


    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 8:45PM
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I am in manhattan, in NYC. It freezes but rarely for long periods. Heat is more of an issue in the summer but I could put them in shade. When would be the best time to plant them and are there any types or sellers you recommend?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 7:08AM
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Welcome to the world of bamboo! I have purchased nearly all my plants from mail-order sources (either ebay or bamboo specialty nurseries). I have purchased repeatedly from the following sources: Tradewinds Bamboo (based in Oregon, Lewis Bamboo (based in Alabama), and Burt Associates (based in Masachusettes). By the way, NYC and local environs are considered zone 7a. This winter, I have overwintered the following species in containers: Phyllostachys aureus (golden), P. nigra (black), P. vivax, P. viridis, and Pseudosasa japonica. The plants were about 8 to 12 feet tall and I had them against the house for extra protection. I moved them from my previous home and didn't get a chance to plant before the winter. All overwintered well, and were planted out back a few days ago(well away from the house this time!). Of course this has been a mild winter, don't know how they would have been in containers in a cold winter. Now that mine are in the ground, they certainly have gotten watered in well what with all the RAIN. But getting back to your desire to grow in containers. There are certainly some challenges associated with this project. As you have been advised, containers are a lot colder (and HOTTER) than growing in a mulched location in the ground. If you grow in a container, I suggest the following: 1.) get the largest container you can (better insulation), 2.) use a good soil that drains well (I like to add extra sphagnum moss and coarse sand), 3.) provide some protection from both hot and cold winds (if locale is windy), 4.) position in semi-shaded position (they like full sun but there could be a problem with burning in a container in both summer and winter. 5.) Position near house/building (to take advantage of heat radiated from inside). Of course, you can also decide to get a tropical or subtropical species and overwinter it inside and get it outside the rest of the year. I have the subtropical Bambusa multiplex that is outside for most of the year but gets protected inside from Dec to March then goes out. It does fine in the house and outside is hardy to about 15 F. anyway. As to planting, I usually do most of my planting in April, but you could plant throughout the spring, summer and fall. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 7:09PM
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thanks njoasis! Where are you in Brooklyn? UWS here. I usually give a colder zone due to the roof issue. We actually just rebuilt our deck and the fences break most of the wind but it is still an issue at times (very cold). I am leaning towards Fargesia murielae. I am determined to stick to an actual plan for my garden this time (we had to throw out a lot of plants to redo the deck) and want to fill several containers with one type of bamboo. (My previous plan was whatever-was-on-sale-or-looked-great-at-the-gardening-center)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 5:45PM
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