Propagating Phyllostachys nigra

madrone(VancIsl BC)October 29, 2009

What is the easiest way to propagate P.nigra? I have heard that it is very difficult. Has anyone any tips?

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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

It's no harder than any other running bamboo. You either need a division from an existing plant that includes a good sized root ball, or you need to start it from a piece of rhizome with viable buds. A division is the most reliable way; you may have anywhere from 0-100% success trying to start from rhizome pieces. You cannot propagate any running bamboo, including Ph. nigra, from branch or culm cuttings.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 6:30PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I've heard a good technique for propagating bamboo from escaped rhizomes that shoot out of the soil. Instead of re-burying the rhizome or cutting it, you direct it into a container - via a small hole cut in the bottom. A two or three gallon container should be perfect. Anyhow, you let the rhizome fill the container and produce a culm or two the following season - then you can sever the rhizome and either re-pot or else transplant the new division.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 11:55PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

That method does work sometimes, though not always. One of the problems with that approach is that you cannot control the length of the rhizome. Sometimes a rhizome will extend, say, 10' before it decides to put up a culm, and that makes it difficult to contain in one pot!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 2:29AM
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madrone(VancIsl BC)

Thank-you Kudzu9 and Greenman28 for the input. A friend told me that you could propagate it just as you would a grape cutting. I thought that was to good to be true, since the stuff is so darn expensive to buy!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2009 at 3:18PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

the rhizomes that have poked out of the ground have all become culms...unless I bury them...and even then they tend to put up a wimpy culm from the area of the rhizome that is still above ground. Here's a pic of a rhizome that emerged horizontally. I trained this one upward with rocks and cordage, but it is very weak. If I were to do it again, I would send it straight through a hole in a bucket of potting mix, then I would let the rhizome shoot up out of the bucket to form its wimpy culm. Essentially, this would be like ground-layering a rhizome...but easier to control, and less shock when cutting it free.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 1:29PM
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Nature's devining rod...they always point toward water.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 2:12PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Ha! You're right!
It's funny, but I thought the rhizomes would drown in that "ditch," which stays wet for two months or so during the winter. However, as I was clearing the ditch the other day, I found a lacework of big rhizomes passing these guys might tolerate more water than I'd thought. Of course, a really wet season might do them in...but there's plenty more above the water-line.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 2:41PM
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I think they can easily survive constant water, as long as some/most of the rhizomes are in normal dryer soil.

Putting the running shoot into and through a pot of soil is a great way to propagate new plants. No digging which saves time and your back.

I do that often with potted bamboos. I recently set a small pot beside a larger pot with S. tootsik 'Albostriata' growing in it. It put out a whipshoot through the bottom hole in the larger pot. I simple ran it through the smaller pot and filled it with soil. Now I have two S. tootsiks.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 4:51PM
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