Flowering Bamboo in the UK ?

Flowering Bamboo in the UK ?

am 20.04.2006 00:05:45 von Mr Whippy

Hi -

About 2 years ago I bought a black bamboo (I assume it is P. Nigra)
from a local nursery.

It had lost quite a few leaves this winter, and now it seems to be
opening up again but it looks to me like it may be flowering - and I'd
appreciate any experts opinion.

This is my first post and first attempt to insert a photo - so here
goes.


[image:
]


--
Mr Whippy

Re: Flowering Bamboo in the UK ?

am 20.04.2006 16:10:18 von HumanJHawkins

That does appear to be flowering... But the purple tint doesn't look
like either of my Ph. Nigra. Is the color off a little in the photo?
Also, all of the Phyllostachys genus have only two prominent branches
at each node. It is hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like I
see one with three or more. Phyllostachys sometimes develop branches
that appear to be a third branch coming from a node, but are actually
branches that are shooting off of one of the two main branches very
close to the main culm... Could this be what I am seeing?

Are any of the culms (even perhaps very thin or short original ones
from when you bought it) ebony black?

>From the photo, it actually looks more like a Fargesia nitida, which is
known to be flowering around the world now. But this is a clumper with
a purple / blue tint... Very different from a Ph. nigra all around.

Confirmation would be nice, as if your bamboo really is Ph. Nigra it's
going to be bad (but useful) information for a lot of people!

Re: Flowering Bamboo in the UK ?

am 21.04.2006 22:08:27 von Mr Whippy

HumanJHawkins Wrote:
> That does appear to be flowering... But the purple tint doesn't look
> like either of my Ph. Nigra. Is the color off a little in the photo?
> Also, all of the Phyllostachys genus have only two prominent branches
> at each node. It is hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like I
> see one with three or more. Phyllostachys sometimes develop branches
> that appear to be a third branch coming from a node, but are actually
> branches that are shooting off of one of the two main branches very
> close to the main culm... Could this be what I am seeing?
>
> Are any of the culms (even perhaps very thin or short original ones
> from when you bought it) ebony black?
>
> From the photo, it actually looks more like a Fargesia nitida, which
> is
> known to be flowering around the world now. But this is a clumper with
> a purple / blue tint... Very different from a Ph. nigra all around.
>
> Confirmation would be nice, as if your bamboo really is Ph. Nigra it's
> going to be bad (but useful) information for a lot of people!

Hi -

Thanks very much for the reply.

When I bought it, it was just labelled "Black Bamboo" - I just assumed
it was P. Nigra at the time but having never seen one in the flesh I
have nothing to compare it to. (I'm pretty new to Bamboo). Only now
that it is flowering have I started looking on the 'net in more
detail.

None of the culms are "ebony" black, I would describe them as very dark
brown with maybe a hint of purple (esp when viewed in direct sunlight.)
I have counted some nodes with 3 (and maybe more) branches, the ridges
at the nodes are much paler than the culms. (as you can see - almost
white)

When it put new culms up last year, they were almost imediatley black /
dark brown, I remember thinking at the time that they should be coming
up green for the first season, then turning black later and I thought
it was odd.

Culms are fairly thin and whip like, and bend over quite considerably
at the top. The wind blows it all over the place. When I bought it it
was in a 8 inch pot with about 3 canes 4 ft tall, and several smaler
ones. It now has about 10 canes at 5 - 6 ft tall and has hardly
expanded at all from it's base - where it's pot would have been.

The colour on the photo is pretty close - I took it in full sunlight
and there's definetly purple in there.

(some more photos - )
[image:
]

[image:
]

[image:
]

[image:
]

So I can safely assume it's not P. Nigra then........
That would explain a few things. Thanks again for the reply.

I'll have a read up on Fargesia nitida then and see if that looks like
the culprit.

Any more opinions welcome .....

Cheers - Dave.


--
Mr Whippy

Re: Flowering Bamboo in the UK ?

am 22.04.2006 18:42:45 von HumanJHawkins

Mr Whippy wrote:
> So I can safely assume it's not P. Nigra then........
> That would explain a few things. Thanks again for the reply.
>
> I'll have a read up on Fargesia nitida then and see if that looks like
> the culprit.

Hmmm... F. nitida doesn't get black like that. But Ph. nigra doesn't
either. It is clearly a bamboo that I have no experience with. There
are some tropical bamboos that get black. Perhaps it is one of them.

Do you have cold winters? If so, how does it handle them?

Re: Flowering Bamboo in the UK ?

am 23.04.2006 00:05:45 von Mr Whippy

HumanJHawkins Wrote:
>
> Hmmm... F. nitida doesn't get black like that. But Ph. nigra doesn't
> either. It is clearly a bamboo that I have no experience with. There
> are some tropical bamboos that get black. Perhaps it is one of them.
>
> Do you have cold winters? If so, how does it handle them?

Winter temps here in the UK may go as low as -10 celcius but rarely and
only for short spells. The temp in Jan is probably between - 3 and +4
deg C most of the time.

Because I assumed it was P. Nigra when I bought it I did a litle
reading up and it said - does best in full sun, so I planted it in one
of the sunniest parts of my garden. In the middle of summer it will
probably get 9 hours of direct sun per day.

It seems from what I have read that the nitidia normally prefers some
shade and I found this page -
that shows the nitida flower (very similar to mine, maybe more open but
very similar colouring) It also says "When grown where the sun can reach
the culms, they turn an attractive purplish color."

Some of the photos on that site show dark coloured culms - especially
the photos of the new seedlings.

Maybe that is it then ....... ? What do you think ?

Another question - It has just started to show it's flowers in the last
2 weeks, there are obviously more still to emerge, but roughly how long
will it be before I can start to consider collecting some seeds ? Weeks
? Months ?

Do you have any idea of the chances of survival of the parent (assuming
it is F. nitidia that is ?)

I appreciate the help & advice - I'm building my bamboo brain !
If you want some seeds leave me your address and I'll mail them to
you.

Cheers - Dave.
- loose the bamboo.


--
Mr Whippy

Re: Flowering Bamboo in the UK ?

am 24.04.2006 05:58:49 von HumanJHawkins

I think it is a variety of F. nitida after all... I spoke to an expert
today about it and he said that in fact some F. nitida can get quite
dark. Also, they are known to be flowering around the world now.

As far as seed, it will probably be August or September. Bamboos have
relatively low germanation rates, so it is important to let them get as
fertile as possible. The best way to do this is to wait until you can
shake them off the culms... Put a tarp below the plant in august or so
to catch the seeds. It may be late September or even a little later
before they shake easily off the culm. But if you wait, you will have
better luck when it comes time to plant them.

Once gathered, they should be kept dry and just above freezing until
ready to plant. If you have a really nice greenhouse (i.e. on the level
of a pro), you can plant them pretty early... January even. But if not,
you might have to wait until April or even May of the following year.
They are going to need warmth (which a seedling mat can help with if
you want to invest in one) and sunlight.

I have never grown F. nitida, but with other bamboos, I have had the
best success by following these steps:

1. Soak the seeds for 24 hours in warm water... About 32 degrees C.
(Put a large jar of water on a weak coffee warmer and check the temp...
For me it held it just right.)

2. Plant in peat pellets in a seedling tray with a clear dome lid.
Again, it will cost about 15-20 pounds for a seedling warming mat, but
this will really help. (and can be used again and again, or given to a
gardening friend when done)

FYI, I have tried germinating in sand, seedling mix soil, peat pellets,
and rock wool. Nothing came close to the peat pellets for success rate
both during germination and at transplant time.

3. Once they get a couple of good leaves, transplant to 1 liter or so
plastic containers. The ones I left in the pellets (or soil or rock
wool, etc,) really grew slowly right from the first few weeks. But
those that I transplanted early really took off.

Or, you can always sell your seeds on eBay. They go for quite a price
due to being very rare.

Cheers!


Mr Whippy wrote:
> HumanJHawkins Wrote:
> >
> > Hmmm... F. nitida doesn't get black like that. But Ph. nigra doesn't
> > either. It is clearly a bamboo that I have no experience with. There
> > are some tropical bamboos that get black. Perhaps it is one of them.
> >
> > Do you have cold winters? If so, how does it handle them?
>
> Winter temps here in the UK may go as low as -10 celcius but rarely and
> only for short spells. The temp in Jan is probably between - 3 and +4
> deg C most of the time.
>
> Because I assumed it was P. Nigra when I bought it I did a litle
> reading up and it said - does best in full sun, so I planted it in one
> of the sunniest parts of my garden. In the middle of summer it will
> probably get 9 hours of direct sun per day.
>
> It seems from what I have read that the nitidia normally prefers some
> shade and I found this page -
> that shows the nitida flower (very similar to mine, maybe more open but
> very similar colouring) It also says "When grown where the sun can reach
> the culms, they turn an attractive purplish color."
>
> Some of the photos on that site show dark coloured culms - especially
> the photos of the new seedlings.
>
> Maybe that is it then ....... ? What do you think ?
>
> Another question - It has just started to show it's flowers in the last
> 2 weeks, there are obviously more still to emerge, but roughly how long
> will it be before I can start to consider collecting some seeds ? Weeks
> ? Months ?
>
> Do you have any idea of the chances of survival of the parent (assuming
> it is F. nitidia that is ?)
>
> I appreciate the help & advice - I'm building my bamboo brain !
> If you want some seeds leave me your address and I'll mail them to
> you.
>
> Cheers - Dave.
> - loose the bamboo.
>
>
> --
> Mr Whippy

Re: Flowering Bamboo in the UK ?

am 24.04.2006 22:52:47 von Mr Whippy

HumanJHawkins Wrote:
> I think it is a variety of F. nitida after all... I spoke to an expert
> today about it and he said that in fact some F. nitida can get quite
> dark. Also, they are known to be flowering around the world now.
>
> As far as seed, it will probably be August or September. Bamboos have
> relatively low germanation rates, so it is important to let them get
> as
> fertile as possible. The best way to do this is to wait until you can
> shake them off the culms... Put a tarp below the plant in august or so
> to catch the seeds. It may be late September or even a little later
> before they shake easily off the culm. But if you wait, you will have
> better luck when it comes time to plant them.
>
> Once gathered, they should be kept dry and just above freezing until
> ready to plant. If you have a really nice greenhouse (i.e. on the
> level
> of a pro), you can plant them pretty early... January even. But if
> not,
> you might have to wait until April or even May of the following year.
> They are going to need warmth (which a seedling mat can help with if
> you want to invest in one) and sunlight.
>
> I have never grown F. nitida, but with other bamboos, I have had the
> best success by following these steps:
>
> 1. Soak the seeds for 24 hours in warm water... About 32 degrees C.
> (Put a large jar of water on a weak coffee warmer and check the
> temp...
> For me it held it just right.)
>
> 2. Plant in peat pellets in a seedling tray with a clear dome lid.
> Again, it will cost about 15-20 pounds for a seedling warming mat,
> but
> this will really help. (and can be used again and again, or given to a
> gardening friend when done)
>
> FYI, I have tried germinating in sand, seedling mix soil, peat
> pellets,
> and rock wool. Nothing came close to the peat pellets for success rate
> both during germination and at transplant time.
>
> 3. Once they get a couple of good leaves, transplant to 1 liter or so
> plastic containers. The ones I left in the pellets (or soil or rock
> wool, etc,) really grew slowly right from the first few weeks. But
> those that I transplanted early really took off.
>
> Or, you can always sell your seeds on eBay. They go for quite a price
> due to being very rare.
>
> Cheers!
>

Thanks again for the tips & information !

The only thing that suprises me is that I'll have to wait till 2007 to
plant them !

Some of the web pages I have come accross say that germination rates
drop sharply if the seed is stored for any length of time, and recomend
to plant when the seed is as fresh as possible. I can see why you say to
wait, though - it's imitating nature I suppose.
I'll have to find somewhere that sells peat pellets now !

I should have plenty of seeds to play with, so I'll try germinating a
few as soon as I collect them, as an experiment, and pop the rest in
the fridge till early spring. If I can get any to germinate straight
after collection, I'll put them under artificial light indoors over
winter until I can get them in the greenhouse.
I did this as an experiment this year to try and get some early
tomatoes. I planted some gardeners delight just before Christmas, grew
them under artificial light till early Feb, (20W energy saver bulb)
then grew them on the windowsill and I've just released them into
growbags in the greenhouse this weekend. They already have their first
flowers and some very small fruit. It will be intresting to see how
they go on.

If I can raise 10 - 12 bamboo plants I'll be happy, I'll keep 3 or 4
myself and give the rest to friends. I'll try selling the remainder of
the seeds on ebay, but only once I've had germination sucess. I'll only
sell them if I'm happy they are viable. I've got my feedback to think
about !

I have a warming mat - but it's intended for homebrew wine! . It's
about the same size as a small seed tray, and I expect the temprature
will be pretty close.

As for the parent, I'm dosing it with 2 litres of lawn fertiliser every
2 weeks. If it dies - it dies. It's only a small plant but it would be
nice if I could save it.


--
Mr Whippy