Late-shooting bamboos

We’re in the midst of a late Indian summer with daytime temperatures in the 80s—last night at 10pm it was still 69°F!—and it’s hard to imagine that this beautiful weather will end. But it will end, and winter will roll around with gray skies, fog, and most importantly, much lower temperatures.

The perennials have started to get ready for winter, but quite a few of our clumping bamboos are still in active growth mode. These clumpers, especially the ones from the subtropical and tropical genus Bambusa, produce new culms in the summer—in their native habitat that coincides with the onset of the monsoon season. In our climate, many of these new culms don’t even leaf out until the following spring because the cold weather interrupts their growth cycle. If they’re not hardened off by the time winter temperatures come around, their tips may freeze and fall off. That happened to a few culms last year but it didn’t seem to faze the plants at all.

Here are some photos of the clumping bamboos that are still producing above-ground growth.

111014_bambusa_oldhamii chungii
Right: Bambusa oldhamii
Middle: Bambusa chungii ‘Barbellata’
Left: Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’
111014_bambusa_chungii2 111014_bambusa_chungii
Bambusa chungii ‘Barbellata’…
…my favorite bamboo because of the stunning blue color of its new culms. These two photos were taken from upstairs looking straight at the culms.
Bambusa textilis ‘Mutabilis,’ beginning to arch over the sidewalk
Bambusa dolichomerithalla ‘Silverstripe’
This is in a pot and much to my surprise has produced two very tall culms (no silver stripes though). I’ll need to move it to a bigger pot next year.

In addition to the Bambusa above, I also have two Borinda, mountain bamboos from the Himalayas, shooting late.

111014_borinda_fungosa angustissima
Left: Borinda fungosa, or chocolate bamboo
Right: Borinda angustissima with its much smaller leaves
New Borinda fungosa culms
Borinda angustissima on the right. Its leaves are among the smallest of any bamboo I’ve seen. They form a beautiful contrast to the leaves from Borinda fungosa.


  1. Please stop posting photos of your clumping bamboos. Some readers are getting jealous.

    I also like how "much colder" temperatures mean different things to different people. ;-)

  2. Alan, it's all relative. I think where we live is too cold in the winter, LOL. The coast would be much better but so pricey.

    I lived a climate with cold winters until I was 22 and it's not to my liking. I guess you could say that I'm more of a bambusa than a fargesia.

    I do envy the phyllostachys groves that grow so easily in cooler climes.

  3. Great to see so much activity with some of your bamboos at this time of the year. It's a bit haywire and only a few of our bamboos have sent up autumn shoots, I won't be surprised if they even bypass this year altogether and wait till next spring! :)


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