Clumping Timor Black Bamboo

Shirley_T(Nelson NZ)August 2, 2005

I'd like to grow some Bambusa lako - Clumping Timor Black Bamboo. Could anyone growing it tell me about it - for instance will it grow in a place with cold winters ? How big does it grow ? Is it black with green markings ? Is it truly clumping ?

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unautre(8B San Antonio TX)

"like to grow some Bambusa lako"

wouldn't be we all? :)

25F minimum.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 1:45PM
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webgator(9 FL)

Info on Bambusa Lako as taken from

Bambusa lako - Timor Black Bamboo

A beautiful collector's bamboo. Culms emerge green and mature to a shiny black (almost purplish tint). Grows erect and arches at the top. Versatile in the landscape. Can be planted either as a specimen/focal point, in a row along a path/road/stream, or among other tropical foliage. From the Indonesian island of Timor. Slightly open clumper. 45' tall with 3" dia. culms. Min. temp 27°F.

Other sites that may help you...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 3:54PM
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coolshare(z9 CA,San Jose)

I have been trying, lako, hitam, Gigantochloa robusta, vittata for 3 - 5 years. The result is most of them are "hibernating".
That is, they stay at the same size - may shoot tiny
ones. I don't know how long this will last or that is.

If you love the appearance of tropicals in photos,
keep enjoying them on paper: you won't see them in the real
cold world.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 4:18PM
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maybe USDA zone 9b or above, which has avg min temp of 25-30 F. In USDA zone 10a/b, it should get up to 40-50 feet or so. It has a tendency to be an open clumper.

You might try G. Atrovialacea, which has similar appearance to Lako, and might be a little cold-hardier, albeit not by much.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 8:02PM
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fredgpops(z9 N/ CA)

The G.a. is a nicer plant in my opinion but I don't think it is more cold hardy. The issue, I think, is when the real tropical bamboo species shoot. My experience is that they shoot late in the year and then get stunted as young culms try to develop in our coldest weather (by Ca standards). It may be quite a different situation in the southern hemi when it is summer there vs winter here. It's apples and oranges so our knowledge is not applicable to NZ. By the way, I like those NZ wines so keep them coming. Always, repeat always, get local knowledge growing plants.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 8:16PM
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I've been growing it in Central Florida for a few years now. Here's a pic from the first week of June when it just starts to shoot...

...I usually get a few culms starting the beginning of summer and then come Fall, this clump should put out at least five more two plus inchers. The second pic is a closer shot of a new culm...also from June.

...they start out green with a reddish tint to the culm sheaths and turn black once the sun does it's thing. The coldest temps they've seen have been in the upper twenties deg F...with only a little tip burn of the most tender parts.

I'm not sure how cold you get in the part of NZ you live in. I used to fly in to Christchurch a few times a year back in the 80's and always enjoyed it. Beautiful country. If it's too cold for Lako, Chungi can go down to 21 deg. It has a nice blue tinge that lasts for months, then goes full green...

Good luck with the boo, whichever you choose...Z

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 10:58PM
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...forgot to add that it is indeed a true clumper...Z

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 11:00PM
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I see that this variety grows to 45'. Can you control the height to say 10-15' and still have new shoot growth on the stalks full range, or just at the top? I'm looking at Timor for a privacy type hedge along a wall, and hope to keep it no more than 15' and wondering if it's feasible to do so?
I really would like a clumping variety and love the look of timor. I'm in Nor.Cal where summers are in the 100's and winters are in the low 30's.
Any help is appreciated,

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 2:59PM
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I bought my Lako more than 2 years ago in 5 gal, with 1 half inch culm. Eventhough I'm in Nor Cal, it only put up 1 culm each year at the same size. I have not put it in the ground yet, but in a 15 gal bucket. I have winter it in my shed with the 400W HPS light. Like Coolshare mentioned above, I don't know when my will get big.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 9:29PM
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anyone has a spare timor rhizome or two. I will compensate with cash and pay shipping. email me directly

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 5:33PM
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shinola01(z9 Melbourne FL)


I'm in Central FL also, I have a B. Lako planted 4 years ago. Last year I got around 12-14 new culms up to 1.25 inches and maybe 15-18 feet tall. Already gotten 2 this year, the first was tiny, about 1/2" diameter, the newest is just starting but probably no more than 1". This is slower than I expected, at 4 years, how does this compare to yours. I'm in Brevard county, Beachside.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 4:41PM
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I want a black bamboo for a spot next to a freshwater lake, full sun. Would the clumping timor blk. bamboo be appropriate? What is the best time of year for planting? How often does it need to be watered until it becomes established?
How is the soil prepared for the new plant? Who is a dependable grower in the W. Palm/Boca area?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 7:12PM
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Gigantochloa atroviolacea - Tropical Black Bamboo, in my opinion, is a prettier bamboo than Bambusa lako - Timor Black Bamboo.

If you want some color, try something like Bambusa eutuldoides 'Viridivittata' - Asian Lemon Bamboo or Bambusa pervariabilis 'Viridistriata'- Sunburst Bamboo.

Tropical Bamboo Nursery is probably not to far from you. Click Here

Since you will be purchasing the plant in a pot, any time is OK for planting, but here I would normally plant after the last frost or in the Spring in your area, around April.

Keep watered well it's first year, then only water during really dry spells. Depending on the soil, I normally do nothing to the area before or during planting other than dig a hole. Soil here is mostly sandy so the bamboo does very well.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 9:03PM
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When buying bamboo in a pot, look for thick shoots. If there are thick shoots or full grown culms coming out, the plant is probably a root cutting or a very mature cane cutting. Too many people propagate bamboo from the cane which does not have a rhizome ball. Just branches growing from a node while the cane is under the dirt developing roots, but no rhizome, at least not for a while anyways, so you won't get a true rhizome shoot for a long while. I recommend, if you plan on putting the bamboo in the ground, to stay away from bamboos that cant handle temps below 20 degrees. Try bamboos like Golden Goddess, Chinese Goddess, Malingensis or maybe Clone X. If you plan on leaving it in a pot that can be moved in from the cold, try B.V. Wamin, or b. Lako. When tropical bamboos are subjected to temperature threshold, the bamboo begins dying from the top, one section at a time. This hinders it's longterm growth and can make ugly tops on your bamboo. If you plan on leaving it in a pot, then look at the runners. They can handle the cold and down here they're pretty cheap to buy.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 1:40AM
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