Can I grow Bamboo in Wisconsin outdoors?

mr.maderApril 15, 2008

Anyone know if there is a type of bamboo that can grow in Wisconsin outdoors?

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The most cold hard that I know of is p. bisetti, it's hardy down to - 20 though.

Here is a link that might be useful: cold hardy - bamboo plantation

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 6:10PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Even the hardiest bamboo will get top-killed each year in that climate...and it may well die-off completely. You should consider a bamboo that you can grow in a large pot that you can bring indoors in the winter and place in a location where it will get light.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 6:15PM
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I was thinking about (Umbrella Bamboo), hardy to -20.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 6:51PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

I'm not trying to discourage you, but this is definitely pushing the limits. You show your Zone as 4/3, so what is the coldest it gets in your area? Fargesia murieliae (Umbrella bamboo) is indeed supposed to be hardy to -20F, but that means that's the approximate temperature at which the whole plant dies if it's subjected to this temp for more than 1-2 days. If you succeed, that's great, but you will still have the visible growth aboveground die each year. If that's not a problem for you and you want to try this as an interesting experiment, go for it. If it were me, I would plant it in a sheltered location (like near the house), mulch it heavily in fall, and consider a protective wrap if it's possible to do so without it becoming an icy shroud that collapses on the plant. And please report back next spring on whether it survived the winter. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 9:03PM
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rokwiz1(seWI z5)

Zone 4/3! You must almost be a youper.

Anyway, take a look at my member page to see what I have
growing way down south here, around Waukesha.

And if you're ever in the area, stop by and take a look,
maybe even take a field division back up nort with you.

Keep in mind, all my outdoor stuff takes a beating over winter, but still sizes up a little every year.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 12:02AM
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Rokwiz1, that's quite a list of bamboos that you have growing way up there. It's interesting and good to hear that they can survive those cold Winters.

Do you have any photos to share?


    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 10:49PM
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rokwiz1(seWI z5)

Well survive is a key term. I've lost two to the cold, Shibataea kumasaca, and P. pygmaeus, even with heavy mulch.

My P. nigra is potted and stays inside for the winter, I fact, it just went out yesterday, for the first time since
November, same thing for the Arrow. I did try to put some arrow outside when I had to divide it cuz it outgrew the pot, and that got whacked as well.

All the rest pretty much get hammered above the mulch line
every winter.

No pics at the moment, they all look crappy right now anyway, but I'll try to take some after the first round of shooting, after they leaf out.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 7:51AM
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I'm in central Iowa, nearly the same zone as you, and came across a bamboo-looking plant called horsetail (Equisetum). I found it shown in a Midwestern entry way makeover in current issue of Garden Ideas magazine (spring 08). Grows to 3 to 4 ft tall in our zone 4. It's an alternative to bamboo in our climate.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 2:10PM
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I have a large Chinese Willow tree in my back yard. It was here when we moved in. Now I see what I think, is bamboo.
So, I guess bamboo does grow in Milwaukee. Odd thing is
I can't get a single flower to grow, lol.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:41AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Got a picture? I'd be interested to see if it is really bamboo or one of the plants that sometimes look a bit like bamboo.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 3:17PM
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There is bamboo growing in the lower Milwaukee area, so it will exist there.

Fargesia 'Rufa' seems to be cold hardy enough and will survive if planted in the right area such as next to a building.

There are other growers in the area also, but I don't recall what varieties they grow.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:21PM
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tucker_sp(Z4 MN)

Mr. Mader - please have a look at my new posting at the top of the forum, and check the pictures. BTW - related to the restaurant people?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 1:36PM
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My Fargesia Rufa has survived two winters here in Minnesota. I covered it with a rose cone for its' first winter only. Last winter no cover but, lots of snow flattened it to the ground, as soon as snow melted, it sprang upright and greened up within several weeks. Have another bamboo but, it's a runner, lost the name tag. Planted at same time as the Fargesia, figured it would not run rampant in zone 4, so I did not install a barrier; that was a big mistake, this past spring I had culms sprouting six feet away from where I planted it, even couple of culms sprouted in the neighbor's yard.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 12:31PM
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I grow 3-4 kinds in my backyard here in SE Michigan. However, we are a solid Zone 6B near Lake St. Clair (most years a Zone 7).

I've never had any kill back, even after the last 2 severe winters. There are many locations here in SE MI where the bamboo will grow well over 30 feet high. So be careful, you may get more than you'd want.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 3:39PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Do you mean you get no leaf loss, or just no dead culms? And what species are you growing?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 3:47AM
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The small 3 foot hybrid bamboo actually loose their leaves annually, but the stalks actually releaf (I think). However, all of the larger one bisetti and yellow grove (can't remember the 3rd type) staff very green. Sometimes in Spring the lower leaves might yellow and fall, but not the whole stalk.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 12:12PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Thanks for the info. It sounds like you have a very fortunate micro-climate for where you live.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 1:49PM
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