overwintering Phyllostachys nigra in z6 HELP!!

jeaninpgh(z6 PA)November 24, 2006

I recieved a pot of small spindly balck bamboo from an ebay seller,it was spindly & only had shoots as thick as tiny twigs & the plant had fallen apart in ship...I was happy that it had green leaf growth tho & potted all of the broken pieces into 5 gal buckets to try & save them .so far they really havent grown much,even during summer ,one piece died but several still have green leafs & are living despite being outside unprotected in 23 deg nighttime temps!!I wanted to know the best way to overwinter as I think its much too late to try planting them out w heavy mulch tho I wamt to try this next spring when it has a full season to establish before winter.I have lots of warm fencing & get alot of z7 tropicals callas etc back ..I need advice from experienced growers in cold winter cliamtes as I have never had semi hardy bamboo before & want these babies to survive the winter..any info on care & feeding & tips on overwintering would be appreciated!!thanks!!

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Hi Jean,
Bring in your black bamboo and place it in a cool place over the winter, or in a room that will receive full sun.
I am keeping mine in a beautiful planter and I mist the leaves with a mister I bought at Walmart.
Can you believe that it just shooted again?
I am making a houseplant out of mine this winter.
It is doing great!
Just get it inside now. You have it potted in a 5 gallon plastic bucket? Did you put drain holes in the bottom of them?
Bring it inside.
You can turn it into a potted plant if you want and then you can just take it out in the spring and bring it in, in the late fall.
Black bamboo will not fair very well in zone 6 over the winter. You might like the "look" of it better inside over the winter if you keep it potted up.
And when it asks for water,(when the leaves curl), water it good with good drainage.(put a bucket under it so the water drains out of the holes in the bucket). Don't let it sit in water that isn't draining,it doesn't like that.
Good Luck with your Black Boo!
I bought my Black Boo off of Ebay also. It is doing fine.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2006 at 6:54PM
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jeaninpgh(z6 PA)

thanks carla I am hoping that once it all takes off that I will ahev beautiful clumps of bamboo & I have heard that longwood gardens here in pa grows this outdoors all winter w no special care so I will risk planting one pot out next spring when it has time to establish before winter ,I was happy w my buy as this bamboo is expensive in catalogs & its doing well as I admit I forgot to bring it in any earlier & most of it still is green & live looking!! I put several inches of gravel in bottom of pots(to lighten the pots & also add drainage) & drilled many many holes in 5 gallon buckets to store alot of plants this yr as Ive been selling lots of shrubs like rare lilacs etc that I didnt want to hold out in my yard for fear that bugs would eat them or something,so I had my neighbor who was doing a drywall job bring me about 12 big 5 gal buckets as those are great to store the lilacs in & I thought would hold the bamboo till I buy a prettier pot!!I have heard that once bamboo starts growing that it spreads rapidly so hoep to have lots lots more next year..thanks for advice I will bring it all in tommorrow or the next day as we are having a warm week(60s) & thanks for the watering tip BTW !! Id never noticed the leaves curling but as it was oyt by my back fence in buckets I may not have noticed,but indoors I bet it gets drier as we have heat on..Im misting my pink jasmines & bromlieads daily now & giving extra water to all my indoor plants as they seem to hate the dry heat too!! hope u had a happy thanksgiving & thanks again for info..if anyone in z6 does overwinter this bamboo please lmk....jean

    Bookmark   November 24, 2006 at 9:57PM
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jeffreydv(z7 NJ)

I have P. nigra Henon and P. nigra punctata outside here in Northern New Jersey. I have had it for a couple of years now with no problems. According to the USDA hardiness zone chart, I am in zone 6 but according to the updated Arbor Day Foundation chart, I am in zone 7.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2006 at 10:54PM
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jeaninpgh(z6 PA)

hi jeffery thanks Im definately in z6 but I do get back z7 & 8 callas so I think my yard is a microclimate due to its concrete patio & fencing...
Im pretty sure I can get it to come back here too as Ive read of other PA gardens having it return also w no special care but I was wondering if its appearance or growth would suffer ....
or if I would have to cut it back & cover it ,as my neighbor grows african fig trees all yr outdoors !!
He cuts them back & covers w a wire cage & roll roofing & stuffs that w hay then covers that whole cage w garbage bags!! Gets fresh figs from all his trees & he has 4 or 5 now..
its a big pain but beats trying to dig & bury the trees(which is what he did for yrs till he just simply got to old to bury the trees he told me!) so one yr he constructed these cages & the idea worked & i wondered if id have to go thru something like that w this bamboo as i didnt want the canes to freeze & die off or anything..

Ive heard that bamboo is invasive & hard to kill once it gets going & I hope that its as tough as Ive heard as I really want this to take here for me even if I have to keep a pot indoors as a backup!!

im checking the new arbor day chart myself now as Im curious but I bet it still says z6 for me in pgh pa!!weather here has been unseasonably warm past several winters too so global warming may one day provide me w the oppertunity to leave all my plants outdoors one day!!
weve had 70 deg weeks in jan even!! unheard of up here...thx again for info gtg going for late night pizza run w baby...its midnight & no one can eat another bite of turkey here!!...jean
Im copying the names of your varities too as Im interested in getting a few more bamboos....

    Bookmark   November 24, 2006 at 11:43PM
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this site has growing info on bamboo in zone 6


this link talks a little about nigra outdoors


    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 8:30AM
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jeaninpgh(z6 PA)

thanks will be sure to look it all up ..jean

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 2:43PM
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Hi! I am originally from Bethel Park, Pa. :) Now I'm in the very corner of the state (SW). I thought I got p nigra (henon) a gray bamboo from bamboogarden.com but I think they messed up and gave me some sort of yellow bamboo. It's not too hardy (zone 7), and I overwinter it with plastic on the culms to keep the present culms from dying. When you plant it out next year, make sure to give it a good location in a sunny and warm spot if possible. From what I've read, the real black bamboo you have is hardy in zone 7 too. If you mulch it really good you should have it shoot up well after you plant it next year. Just make sure to water it well the first year you plant it. Here's a good link to new bamboo care. I killed at least 2 plants by not watering enough.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 3:01PM
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jeaninpgh(z6 PA)

thanks mersiepoo for the info & link Id like to try different types of bamboo but must choose carefully as my city yard is tiny...maybe I can make a potted garden..
heres what I decided to do w my 3 pots of bamboo..
i planted 2 out along my warmest fence & as temps are still 50 ish I ve left it not covered so far..in the event that a sudden severe freeze does kilit Ive kept a potted back up indoors where it is thrivibng & getting new shoots !!! so if disaster strikes & kills what I left out I wil salvage one big pot at least...lmk by the way if u really do want the real black as I can trade u for a piece & u wont have to buy it...happy holidays & thanks again for the help...jean

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 6:50PM
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Hope the suggestions have helped! :) If you can overwinter it, you definitely have a chance of seeing the black canes in a few years. :) Someone sent me a link to www.bambooweb.info
where you can see pictures of different bamboos. Haven't checked it out yet. If you want to contain the bamboo, the best way to do this is using some sort of fiberglass barrier or something you can dig down pretty far. Of course mowing with a lawn mower or just kicking over the new shoots in the spring will help too. Just don't wait until they harden. The problem with this is, they can pop up anywhere! The barrier is the best way to do it.

Here is a link to installing a control barrier, if you are interested. Happy New Year, and good luck!

PS. I had posted about p nigra (henon) too, as my culms are not really getting gray at all, and I found a species that (yes, zone 7) gets black mottled spots in a few months on new culms, so you don't have to wait years to see results, and if they get winterkilled, they still look pretty. It's called "bory".


    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 4:03PM
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