cold hardy runner or clumper that loves shade and is SMALL

bobcat(z5 OH)July 13, 2006

Hi all,

I'm still new to bamboo-ing and have just fallen for them! I have searched for this but cannot find anything with all the specifics of my search. So I come to you, oh boo Gods..... :)

Is there a small bamboo (around or under 12 inches- small as possible) that either clumps or runs, doesn't mind acid, basic or neutral soil, and can handle some full sun, but mostly part/full shade?

Basically looking for a ground cover for under large trees, many of which are pines. Really just want something purdy. Really really want to stop mulching. Really really REALLY want to never use round up again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hate that stuff.

I realize I am asking for a lot here, but boo seems so special that I thought maybe....

If no 'boo fits this description.... any other suggestions?

Thanks everyone!

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Pleioblastus distichus is one of the smallest and one of the hardiest of the small, but it may not be perfectly hardy in zone 5. I've seen it rated for zone 6 and most bamboos are rhizome hardy beyond their normal given (leaf) hardiness. So, you might give it try. I wouldn't invest in a whole lot until you've tested it out and decided how well you like its performance in your garden. 2ft is more realistic, though. I imagine you could trim it down, though it may be hard to do without getting a ragged look.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 2:19PM
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Most of the groundcover bamboos are listed down to 5F - a zone 5 may be a bit severe for most of them. And I'm not sure of the likelihood they will fare well under the canopy of large trees, specially conifers. This tends to be a very dry as well as shady situation, not to the liking of most 'boos. Dryness encourages mite problems, a big issue with many bamboos. Also, the GC's often look best if given a haircut with a mower each early spring - hard to do under trees:-) And of course there is the issue of spreading......many groundcover 'boos are rampant runners, so consider if containment is advised.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 9:43AM
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greenguy(Zone 5 OH)

I you haven't found anything yet I have something here that stays low but no name.
I'll try and get a picture to post I am sure someone here will know.

where do you live in ohio?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 6:17PM
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hollenback(z6 WA)

Here is a photo of Pleioblastus pygmaeus growing under my pine tree. In the winter it will die-back but it comes back each spring. (This plant has survived -24*F in my garden so it is hardy.)

If you would like a variegated bamboo my Pleioblastus fortunei only gets 10 inches tall after dieing back each winter.

If the top growth is unsightly in late winter just run a weed-eater over the plants or use hedge trimmers.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 9:34PM
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