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Chusquea culeou and C. gigantea keep on growing in the winter

Posted by mike_marietta_sc_z8a z8a upstate SC (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 8, 07 at 18:57

Unlike most of my other bamboos, my chusqueas keep on slowly producing new leaves. I have to keep clearing the aphids off the youngest leaves from time to time.

Leaf growth from a C. gigantea node on a shoot that popped up in Sept.
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RE: Chusquea culeou and C. gigantea keep on growing in the winte

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 8, 07 at 19:51

How long have you had these there? Is your summer climate comparatively cool?


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RE: Chusquea culeou and C. gigantea keep on growing in the winte

They have been here for 6 years. My summer temps very rarely exceed 90F (typical highs in the low 80's F with nightly lows in the mid 60's).


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RE: Chusquea culeou and C. gigantea keep on growing in the winte

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 10, 07 at 0:31

Thought not to "do" in the East, due to the summer conditions, as you are probably aware.


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RE: Chusquea culeou and C. gigantea keep on growing in the winte

I'm also growing Gunnera chilensis here, another not to "do" in the East. I have a unique climate here, and is probably the only place in the US where you can find mature-size moso growing right next to Fargesia nitida, Borinda boliana, and Bambusa multiplex (and others).


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RE: Chusquea culeou and C. gigantea keep on growing in the winte

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 10, 07 at 20:50

Except the Bambusa are getting frosted.


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RE: Chusquea culeou and C. gigantea keep on growing in the winte

Great photo. I am developing a severe case of Chusquea envy! Is the site shady? Relatively how large is it in number of culms, diameter, height?


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RE: Chusquea culeou and C. gigantea keep on growing in the winte

The site is high light shade. The gigantea is 8 feet high, 7 culms, max dia 1/2", the culeou is 6',8, and 1/3". Overall they have been slow but steady growers.


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RE: Chusquea culeou and C. gigantea keep on growing in the winte

On this side of the country C. gigantea seems to be about our fastest grower. Mine planted a year ago are about 7 feet, and those planted about 3 years hitting about 20. It is possible their biochemical reactions are optimized for a bit cooler conditions. Bamboo Sourcery Nursery claims it has about the widest temperature range for a Chusquea, from about 10F to 100F.

They seem to have remarkable tolerances for sun and shade. I have them in both. Much more shade tolerant than Phyllostachys and is capable of starting under trees and bursting through the canopy, but they seem to stand full sun at 47.5 degrees N latitude. Of course I also live in a cloudy climate, and near the Puget Sound so breezes keep it cooler than other parts of the city.

Also resistant to spider mites, which devastate Sasas and Phyllostachys.

I don't know what their maximum height here will be. It seems my older clump should hit it soon. Some of mine are hitting cane diameters of about 2 inches wide, which is probably their max. At this point, their cane width to height seems "stocky" for a bamboo. Perhaps that is partially due to the need to support the cane from a base that is often curved.

As many others have pointed out, although it is a pachymorph (a "clumper"), its new canes are capable of spreading relatively far from the last one. It spreads agressively.


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RE: Chusquea culeou and C. gigantea keep on growing in the winte

So is the problem in the East high temperatures or lack of a temperature drop at night? I would really like to try a Chusquea here but I don't want to give it a death sentence.


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RE: Chusquea culeou and C. gigantea keep on growing in the winte

jeffreydv, I don't know, but I can tell you what I do know (not much!!)

There are South American bamboos that grow in hot climates, and bamboos that grow in cool climates, but southern Argentina is one of the few parts of the continent that get both hot and cold! Temperature ranges aren't as wide in South America as in North America.

Chusqueas are the cool-growers. They only occur either in tropical highlands where the weather is "eternally springlike", and often cloudy (cloudforest), or at high latitudes such as southern Chile. This suggests that their metabolism is probably optimized for cool temperatures. It sounds as tho Mike's specimen is growing slowly, probably for that reason.

It is possible to grow them in California, which suggests that cool nights are probably sufficient to keep them from suffocating. California is dryish (except for the northern coast, which is cool anyway), so it cools off fast at night.

One more warning: mine seems to be very disease resistent, BUT Chile does not have so many fungal diseases as we do. It is actually fungal disease such as Phytophthora that kills so many Gondwanic plants on the East Coast. A lot of Gondwanics have no resistence to it at all. My yard is loaded with it, and the Chusquea does not seem to mind. So there is hope!


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RE: Chusquea culeou and C. gigantea keep on growing in the winte

I planted a gallon size Chusquea culeou last summer and it has done fairly well since then.


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RE: Chusquea culeou and C. gigantea keep on growing in the winte

Atash 8b, you mentioned the Gigantea is "capable of spreading relatively far from the last one. It spreads aggressively." I have been warned away from using the Gigantea in an urban environment for that reason. Also, apparently, the rhizomes are very strong and can break through pavers. Do you have any experience with the Chusquea culeou? Does it have any of the same aggressiveness issues? Does get nice and high? I'm looking for a really erect clumper that will cover as much of the 3-story apartment building on our western property line as possible.

Thanks in advance for any advise!


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