Anyone growing bamboo in the SW?

jay2(Zone 6/7)July 6, 2003

I have been growing bamboo in the middle Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico for several years. Anyone else out there in the south west trying to do the same? There are lots of challenges with the alkaline soil, little rainfall and dry air. However, I have about 100 plants of about 6 species of Phyllostachys, namely aureus (golden), aureosulcata (yellow goove), nigra (black), henon (gray), megurochiku (yellow with black stripes) and rubromarginata (red margin). The golden and yellow groove are the oldest (9 years) and are about 12 feet tall and 1 inch in diameter. All the other species were just planted this year. I dig pits about a foot or so down and then plant the bamboo in the pit and then fill in the pit with peat moss and compost. I then put leaf litter on the top. I water the pits once a week with a few inches of water per pit. Bamboo will not grow into dry ground, so the usual problems of "running" bamboo (all the Phyllotachys species) being hard to contain is not a problem in desert enviroments. For other bamboo (around 60 Ph. aureus plants) that are along a fence line, I have a soaker hose and let it run overnight once a week. I also add ironite to the soil to decrease the pH. I fertalize with lawn, slow acting fertalizer in the spring and early summer. This year I am going to try putting high phosphorus fertalizer on in the fall to stimulate root growth. The bamboo is very beautiful and gives our acre a tropical look. Of course, the bamboo stays green all year round. I buy the bamboo from the various on-line bamboo vendors. There is a bamboo forum on Gardenweb, where one can learn a lot about bamboo. I am particularly interested in people's experience with various species in the southwest and various ways of caring for bamboo in the southwest.

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Tucson Botanical Gardens has bamboo. It is on the approved list for my home association and I'm interested in trying to grow some. How does it do as a container plant? Wouldn't it be easier to control the soil conditions?


Here is a link that might be useful: Tucson Botanical Gardens

    Bookmark   July 7, 2003 at 10:24PM
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jay2(Zone 6/7)

There are many species of bamboo that do fine in containers. I have one bamboo plant (golden) in an old whiskey barrel that does fine and golden has always been a good container bamboo. However, the container bamboos will never get as tall or full as bamboo planted in the soil. Part of the beauty of bamboo is having a grove of it. The soil around my house is very easy to dig, so it's easy for me to dig down about a foot to create a pit into which I can put the bamboo plants and then fill in the pit with peat moss, compost and leaf litter. Every plant of every species I've planted has survived, it is just that the southwest desert is a sub-optimal environment for bamboo, so it won't grow as well as in Alabama or Oregon. Nevertheless, I like to keep trying. Each plant is my "pet" so I like pampering them. Thanks for the link to the Tucson Botanical Gardens. However, I did't see anything about bamboo on it.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2003 at 10:41PM
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Hi Jay - You might come over to the Arizona Gardening forum. I know two people over there who have it growing their back yards. I know they'd be very happy to share their experiences. Come on over!

I added the link for ya!


Here is a link that might be useful: Arizona Gardening Forum

    Bookmark   July 10, 2003 at 4:03PM
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~Buddha's belly~ is the only bamboo I have in my collection, it's leaves don't appear to appreciate the hottest summer but thank goodness it's growing quite nicely.

Ankrara's Hobby Corner

    Bookmark   July 11, 2003 at 2:12PM
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geoffrey363(z 7 NM)

love some running bamboo. though obviously planted, it seems uncared for in various rampant lots in Albuquerque. Mine, though healthy enough looking, has never taken over the area I should have wished and I know the bit about it's not expanding into dry soil. I'll try the ironite but if anyone wishes to share an especially excessive running bamboo, I would accept it greedily

    Bookmark   March 25, 2004 at 9:15AM
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cochiseaz8(az 8)

I have a variety of cane grass that is normaly called bamboo in this area and it is the most evasive, nasty , god rotting thing that I've put in the garden!! So far, it's respondsible for puttin out 2 walls, (1500.00 $) totally wreaking 2 vegie beds, and up-ending the hot tub (which now needs to be replaced) Bamboo is a grusome reality check, love darlene

    Bookmark   April 3, 2004 at 12:54AM
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Does bamboo root in water? Damp soil?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2004 at 9:28AM
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I bought some bamboo that was rooted in water and grown inside. Can I plant it outside? Also can it be planted in my pond? I know nothing about bamboo so any info is helpful

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 6:09PM
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avondalemom9 ;- The Bamboo you have bought may just be "Lucky Bamboo". If you wish, you can search for an image using
a search engine to possibly match that is the plant you have.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 12:51AM
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DrynDusty(z8 AZ)

Several homes in Gisela, Arizona have substantial clumps of bamboo, about 15 feet tall. It all looks pretty ratty, but then, it's all exposed to full sun, full wind and zone 9 heat. When I work myself up to it, I'll ask for a start.

I visited the Black Mountain Lodge in Kingston, New Mexico, a few years back, and they have a healthy grove developing.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 1:46AM
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It is not doing very well. I had hoped it could compete with salt cedar but will have to move it where there is no competition and higher quality soil. One or the other nearly died when I transplanted it to several locations. Only the greenhouse transplant survived. This is semi-desert and it is not "trickled" so I'll try that as well.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 1:22PM
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HI - We are new to the Albuquerque area and would love to have a HUGE bamboo screen. We saw some Buddha Belly at Lowes - any ideas as to how they will do here?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 9:35PM
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I have adopted a bamboo plant from a co-worker. He left this little six inch stock with a couple of leaves,in a jar with rocks int it. I don't know the first thing about growing one, and I don't want to see it die. Any suggestion, would greatly be appriciated.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 5:45PM
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Hi everyone,

I also love bamboo, but had sort of given up hope of ever growing it outside when I moved here to the SW. However, I may be able to provide it with a great location, cottonwood bosque along a perennial stream. What is the likelihood of being able to grow something big, say over 1 inch diameter? Any possibility of growing Japanese Timber Bamboo successfully?

I would love anybody's input,


    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 10:11AM
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Been growing various types of bamboo with no problem in the Phoenix area. I just give it a little water and fertilize once in a while. My Old Hammi(?) timber bamboo has 4" shoots.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 12:14AM
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I was disappointed to hear jay2's Phyllostachys aureosulcata (yellow goove)were only 12' in 9 years. I live in las cruces and was going to try that species but I thought they were to grow into a 35' screen in a few years.. thats what im looking for. any suggestions?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 12:47PM
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chagrin(z6/7 NM)

I grabbed a couple of bamboo culms from my sister's backyard in San Diego three years ago--my brother-in-law said it was named "Celestial something or other" (that's all he could remember). He said it would never be hardy where I live in New Mexico (Los Lunas, 20 miles south of ABQ). So I put the culms in a 12-inch plastic pot in regular potting mix and set it outside next to the house. Three years later it's still in the same pot and has stalks up to 10 ft high. And we've had down to zero fahrenheit several times. It's never been fed, but in summer I water it every other day as I do the entire garden. Last week I showed it to a visitor who lives a few miles down the highway, and she wasn't surprised at all, said a lot of people around here have true hardy bamboo--not cane grasses--and there is escaped bamboo near some of the irrigation ditches.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 4:02AM
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Hallo All

I reclaimed some bamboo ripped out from a park near the Fair Grounds - had to hack some clums with the axe to free them - the bunchs being thrown out were huge - like 200 year old oak stumps huge - - Happy to say the one clum in a 10 gal pot in the back is throwing up some chutes - very happy to say - I plan to keep this in pot till next spring - hope to cage its roots and put it where the cane grass is now
Dunno what phyllostachys - but it was growing at least 20 years in this local park in Central Phoenix - so I am pretty sure it will do fine fine here

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 3:05PM
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Is that the bamboo that they pulled out of encanto park? If it is there is some good news for you: that is a clumping bamboo and there is no need to try to contain it. It is just going to make a giant mass like the ones that they pulled out at the park. How is it doing now?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 5:29PM
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I bought (9) Heavenly Bamboo plants from Lowes. Planted them in some VERY rocky-sandy soil in my yard. A month ago. I have a drip system for each plant. They are bushy, but only 3 feet tall. The directions say they grow to about 7 feet, so allow 7 feet around them. Has anyone planted this species yet in this type of soil? I read that bamboo roots grow out of control. But I don't know if that's possible in the desert.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 1:09PM
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Casa Grande AZ - I have these growing and all are doing well

Bambusa chungii Barbellata
Bambusa malingensis
Bambusa pervariabilis
Bambusa textilis gracilis page
Bambusa textilis Kanapaha
Bambusa textilis Mutabilis Emerald
Dendrocalamus minor amoenus 'angel mist'

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 5:00PM
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I want to plant some golden bamboo in stock tanks for screening. (El Paso, Zone 8a). Think they'll do well?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 8:30PM
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Aureus one year old still alive 4 feet tall, 8 -10 culms, tips brown, alive but doesn't show new growth in spring. Bought from Maya Gardens. Safford AZ has brutal hot and dry climate with alkaline clay soil and winters to 25 degrees 6-8 days. Nigra 3 feet tall bushy 1 year also sitting there. I guess this is possible but for a screen, it is 15 years?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:58AM
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Check out the all the bamboo at the Albuquerque Botanic Gardens. No idea which species, but running and clumping well represented in multiple large stands there. The largest is back by the Heritage Farm area, covering many thousands of square feet in area. This stand at least appears to be on it's own, having a naturalized look and being well outside the groomed area of the Gardens. None of these bamboos are like the monsters you see in their native habitat, (Even in more favorable East Coast climates I've never seen anything over 2 inches diameter) but definitely proof that very nice bamboo stands are possible in NM at least.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:00PM
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I have it here in Las Vegas

Here is a link that might be useful: Desert Landscaping tips and idea

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 11:37PM
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update, p.aureas doubled in size at year two, as did P.nigra, and, p rumbo here in zone 8b Safford, Az. Do not look at whats happening up top. It doesn't matter much.Check only that your stalks are green. The action is all underground and they take care of business when they want to in year two and beyond.And, then, You have the most beautiful plants ever.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:13AM
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