In April of last year, I planted a Baby Blue bamboo (Bambusa chungii ‘Barbellata’) from a 3-gallon container that I had bought from a nursery in Florida. It had about a dozen wispy culms, the largest of which was the thickness of a pencil, maybe a quarter of an inch thick and less than 3 feet tall. At the end of September, it had 27 culms, the tallest being about 12 feet in height.
Last October I said that Baby Blue bamboo (Bambusa chungii ‘Barbellata’) was one of my favorite bamboos. That hasn’t changed. It produced new shoots until fall, made it through its first winter with flying colors (our winter low was 25°F), and is already shooting again!
I can’t wait to see how tall this season’s culms will be. Maybe 15 feet? Even taller? I love the fact that the base is still very tight, just a bit over a foot in diameter. This confirms what I read online, i.e. that the ‘Barbellata’ version of Bambusa chungii is a much tighter clumper than its big brother.
In light of the considerable ornamental merits of this bamboo, it’s a pity that there are no sources for it in Northern California. If you’re interested in buying one, I can recommend Tropical Bamboo or Beautiful Bamboo, both in Florida. Unfortunately, shipping charges to the West Coast are quite steep.
|Entire plant on 3/17/2011|
|New shoots are marked in blue (there’s one more new shoot that isn’t visible in this photo). Note that I’ve removed most of the thin original culms because they looked straggly and constantly got in my way.|
|One of the new shoots|
|New branches forming on one of the thickest culms that came up last summer|
|Same on a different culm. You can clearly see the powdery coating that gives this bamboo a bluish tint.|