Hardy Sugar Cane/Saccharum arundinaceum

maui4me(z6A TN)August 19, 2004

Has anyone had any experience with this plant?

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susgarden(z6ky)

hi maui, i have 2 plants i got this spring. they only got about 3 foot tall, and nothing that resembles a bloom yet. it is a pretty, blueish green grassy looking plant though, and i like it. hoping that next year, it looks more like what i was expecting! i'm in ky, z6 and also grow a lot of tropicals. how well do you mulch your basjoo ? a grove sounds like a lot of mulch. i only have 3 clumps. susgarden

    Bookmark   August 30, 2004 at 8:45PM
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maui4me(z6A TN)

Does Saccharum arundinaceum really look like sugarcane? I.e, does it make a stalk or is it mostly long leaves like pampas grass? I've not found any pictures that show close details of it.

I don't mulch my M. basjoo that much anymore. Only usually young plants. It ends up taking several bales of straw to do most of them and then it's a major pain to remove and dispose of come Spring.

What kinds of tropicals are you able to grow in KY? There's a fellow in Louisville named Brian Williams that has a huge collection of aroids and many other plants at his family's greenhouses and nursery.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2004 at 12:09PM
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susgarden(z6ky)

maui, it looks like grass to me, but its only the first year, maybe as it matures it will form the stalks. i grow several different colocasia, alocasia, and zanthosoma; musa basjoo, blood bananas, eucalyptus. i dig them every fall and start them in the greehouse in march, put them back in the ground in may.
i know brian, and been to his place. he does have a huge collection ~~ an 80 ft greenhouse of his own for aroids, then his dad has other tropicals ~~palms, yuccas, agaves, etc., in another greenhouse. then they have the regular nursery, with normal plants for the locals. its quite the place !! i'd love to have all that he has. he is even got some of his own hybrids selling this year at a couple of the national nurseries.
i'll take a couple of pictures tomorrow, i can never get them posted here, but i have an online album and you will get an email from shutterfly with the link. susgarden

    Bookmark   September 2, 2004 at 1:49AM
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Kris_Stone(z6a KY)

I'm growing it in Northern KY just south of downtown Cincinnati. From my experience they establish really quickly and can increase quickly in size thereafter. My plants look a lot like Ravenna Grass just a bit more blue-green and leaves that are slightly more rigid. Flowering is VERY late from what I can tell. Last year my plants sent up a few short pinkish flower spikes in October that barely had time to open before our first freeze stopped them from fully elongating.

This year so far no sign of blooms... but I am crossing my fingers.

I would reccomend mulching them well especially in their first season. I have always worried about their z6 rating lending them to be marginally hardy especially when they are first getting established.

Check out the link below from Plant Delights Nursery...nice picture and some info on the plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hardy Sugar Cane

    Bookmark   September 5, 2004 at 10:56AM
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chinacat_sunflower(7)

the guy I bought mine from is based out of michegan, and he leaves his out all year long...

mine was 6" tall, and a clump maybe 3" in diameter, and in its first season, is a 5'tall, 8" dia clump...

I think I'm going to move it out to the 'invasives' bed out front (bordered with concrete) so it will get the southern exposure:)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2004 at 1:58PM
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shari1332(z7NC)

I planted one purchased at Plant Delights this past fall. How soon should I expect to see growth this year? I'm seeing nothing from Pennisetum 'Hameln' either. This being the first spring for both I am concerned.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 4:49PM
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ShadyGrove5(z6b TN)

Some friends nearby own a specialty nursery called Gum Tree Farm and they have had this cane for 2-3 years. I am about 5'6" and one of their clumps dwarfed me! They aren't doing anything special here in zone 6 and they said it grows despite what they do. Huge, blooming and a beautiful eyecatching blue/green.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 1:27AM
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Vikk(8b sunset 10)

Can this be harvested? I am looking on comprehensive information on growing sugar cane.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 3:48AM
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youreit

The S. arundinaceum is sometimes used in paper manufacture in India and Southeast Asia. S. officinarum is the main source of sugar worldwide.

Brenda

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 10:34AM
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maui4me(z6A TN)

Vikk: From what I understand, the plant makes very little in the way of a cane from which to extract juice for sugar. S. officinarum is a much larger plant than S arundinaceum, with canes approx. 1"-1.5" diameter. This species can't take much cold weather; you usually only see it grown commercially in this country in south Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana and Texas. I did find that many years ago, it was grown commercially and refined as far north as Nashville, GA.

There's a rather rambling website below from a fellow in north Florida experimenting with it. It's interesting how you cuttings are buried in the fall to overwinter and then planted upright in Spring.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sugarcane

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 3:55PM
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