Two bamboo stories

Two bamboo-related topics today, starting with the Pleioblastus shibuyanus 'Tsuboi' in the front garden. If you remember it looked like this last year, putting out tufts of foliage on top of taller-than-I-wanted culms:

Then at the end of March I decided what to do about this and did some radical pruning.


Here's what it looked like before pruning:

And after:

What made me nervous was there were many branchless culms left after this, and I wasn't sure if they would be able to create new foliage.

Well, I shouldn't have worried, as almost every one of those culms created multiple branches:

Each much longer than branches on any uncut culms.

The result is a really lush, full planting!

The new shoots will rise above this foliage again, but I'll prune them back probably before they leaf out (as opposed to waiting several months like I did last year). That might not be the right thing to do, but I need to experiment and learn.

Note that this planting will look much different after the leaves are fully grown -- reference the first photo. I'll update you on this later in the year.

The second bamboo is not a happy story I fear. It involves my Phyllostachys propinqua 'Beijing':

Does it look a little strange to you? It should, as it's going into full flowering:

The new culms are all weak and weird...

... most notably that bent one that curves through the grove. The new branches look wrong too, as if they're only there to support more flowers:

There are more shoots emerging...

...but I fear that this plant is doomed -- most bamboos put all of their energy into flowers and then die.

So even though this is my "newest" planting and has been here for only a few years (replacing the Phyllostachys glauca 'Yunzhu' that was too droopy and incidentally has flowered too for other growers) it looks like I'll be replacing it again later this year.

We'll see what happens -- at least I'll be able to collect a bunch of bamboo seeds...


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Peter/Outlaw  – (May 23, 2016 at 4:54 PM)  

Interesting to see your bamboo in flower. Can you imagine how cute bamboo seedlings will be? So much fun. I'm ready for my phyllostachys vivax to bloom and die so that I can start again and this time, install a barrier first!

Renee  – (May 23, 2016 at 5:09 PM)  

'Blooming bamboo' sounds like one of those great not-really-swearing swears... sorry about your bamboo, but the other one looks nice after its haircut!

Rock rose  – (May 23, 2016 at 5:46 PM)  

At least you had one success story. The garden is full of surprises but now you know how we feel when we see an agave start to send up a bloom.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (May 24, 2016 at 11:17 AM)  

It never occurred to me until now how similar the flowering of bamboo is to the flowering of agaves. Both are usually terminal events.

I assume Phyllostachys propinqua 'Beijing' is flowering all over the world?

Unknown  – (June 9, 2016 at 9:48 AM)  

Hi Alan, Mine flowered last year and put up new (flowering) culms again this year. Maybe yours has a little more time left in it?

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