Our bamboos after the rain

It’s been a while since I blogged about our bamboos. Now is a good time for an update: Yesterday’s rain washed off six months of accumulated dust and the ‘boos look more vibrant than they have in a long while.

Let’s start in front of the house:


Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’


Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’

This is the view from the large window in the upstairs loft:


LEFT, FOREGROUND: Bambusa chungii ‘Barbellata’
LEFT, BACKGROUND: Bambusa oldhamii
RIGHT: Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’


FOREGROUND: Bambusa chungii ‘Barbellata’
BACKGROUND: Bambusa oldhamii

This is the view from the window at the top of the staircase:


LEFT: Bambusa eutuldoides ‘Viridividatta’
RIGHT (AND BACK): Bambusa textilis ‘Mutabilis’

Up close, the Asian lemon bamboo (Bambusa eutuldoides ‘Viridividatta’) is a bit bashful. I’d prefer to have a more unobstructed view of its startlingly yellow culms. To achieve that, I will remove the lower branches.


Bambusa eutuldoides ‘Viridividatta’

This emerald bamboo (Bambusa textilis ‘Mutabilis’) is planted along the sidewalk, next to a streetlight. Yesterday, some of the culms were so heavy from the rain that they arched out over the sidewalk. I may have to intervene here, otherwise we may get complaints from passers-by.


Bambusa textilis ‘Mutabilis’


Bambusa textilis ‘Mutabilis’

Bambusa textilis ‘Mutabilis’ is supposed to have very straight culms but ours is a bit wonky in that department. Check out the crazy culm in the next photo. I have no clue what prompted it to grow horizontally around the lamp post and then resume a vertical trajectory.


Bambusa textilis ‘Mutabilis’

The next photo shows the Alphonse Karr bamboo I see from one of the windows in my home office upstairs. It’s the one that is consistently getting entangled in our clothesline (which you can see on the lower right). I recently took a generous division for a friend of a friend but more judicious culm removal is in order to restore peace in that part of the backyard.


Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’

Looking out the other window in my office, I can see a whole bunch of bamboos. All of these are containerized since they’re running species. (Sorry the photo is a bit blurry; it was taken through the window.)


Backyard bamboos seen from my upstairs home office window

The chocolate bamboo (Borinda fungosa) in the next two photos is outside the dining room. It’s still one of my favorite bamboos for its supremely elegant leaves.


Borinda fungosa


Borinda fungosa

More potted running bamboos in the backyard:


IN POT: Phyllostachys bambusoides ‘Castillon Inversa’
IN STOCK TANK: Phyllostachys aurea ‘Koi’


Phyllostachys aurea ‘Koi’


Hibanobambusa tranquillans ‘Shiroshima’ (next to the tree fern)

Fargesia robusta is a clumping mountain bamboo. I planted it in the ground going on four years ago and it’s been surprisingly slow to upsize. Maybe next spring we’ll see some thicker culms.


Fargesia robusta

121023_Pseudosasa-japonica- -Fargesia-robusta

Pseudosasa japonica (in the pot on the left), Fargesia robusta (in the ground on the right)

Borinda papyrifera is another mountain bamboo. I chose it because it’s supposed to have startlingly blue culms (like in this photo). However, ours doesn’t look like that at all. The new culms are green and the culm sheaths are persistent (i.e. they don’t fall off for a long time). I’m thinking what I have is a different species.


Borinda papyrifera (center), Phyllostachys nigra (right)

And finally the three potted bamboos on the edge of the backyard patio. I like them here because they separate the patio from the lawn and create an intimate atmosphere.


Potted bamboos on backyard patio

This year I didn’t fertilize and water the bamboos as much as I had in previous year. My goal was to slow down their growth a little, and I think I have succeeded.

One mistake I made more than once throughout the summer: I underestimated how much watering potted bamboos require. In the next to last photo you see our long-suffering black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra); over half of its leaves dried up because I relied too much on the two drip emitters that supply its container. Luckily, bamboo are tough and bounce right back from neglect—at least most of the time.

Overall, I continue to be delighted with the exotic touches our bamboos provide. With their elegant, ethereal foliage, they are a great foil to the spiky succulents that are my other botanical passion.


  1. You've got a fine collection of bamboos Gerhard, love 'em all especially the Bambusas which we can't grow here. All of them must have relished the rain you guys had the other day!

    1. Everything and everybody relished the rain. The air feels so much fresher...

  2. That fungosa sure is pretty! I think I'd remove the wonky horizontal culm near the lamp post, as it will never be as upright as you want it to be. I was wondering about the brown leaves on the nigra... that's why I hate relying on irrigation systems. I suppose they do save lots of work though...

    Can't wait to see these in a couple more years!

    1. As it is, I handwater 100+ potted plants. I'd go nuts without automatic irrigation. But it is so easy to get complacent and completely trust the system. The GFI connected to the irrigation controller tripped earlier in the year and I didn't notice it for a few weeks; I almost lost my 'Rufa' because of that.

  3. Rain, I'm jealous. We got a bit of a sprinkle down south, just enough to spot up the dust on the autos. Your garden looks great, and is a good reminder of how big Bamboo can become.

  4. It strikes me as strange how, given the extraordinary lengths gardeners go to to grow exotics here (in Britain), i've never read of anyone trying to grow tender bamboo varieties. Borinda fungosa in particular looks beautiful and is one I haven't previously heard of. Such an elegant plant, the likes of it must be worth a go here.


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