Fargesia nitida 'Black Pearl' is another really good selection from seedlings produced by the flowering of Fargesia nitida, the Fountain bamboo a few years ago. 'Black Pearl' has been selected not only for its vigour and robust upright growth but also for the deep purply black canes it produces. In addition the lush fresh green foliage is produced in profusion and cascades amongst the canes.
Fargesia nitida 'Black Pearl' is rightly known as a fountain bamboo by it's graceful habit of upright canes that are held vertically only to arch over at the tips. The effect is further enhanced by the delicacy of the leaves which are produced in profusion. The canes themselves vary in colour from a fresh green to a deep purple black, in fact the stems can be so black that it is sometimes mistaken for the black bamboo. Fargesia nitida 'Black Pearl' usually grow around 3 to 4 metres high and is a very tightly clump forming bamboo.
As with all bamboo once you have chosen a suitable location I recommend good soil preparation, bamboo are shallow rooted and will really enjoy the addition of well rotted farmyard manure mixed with your soil when planting. Water the bamboo thoroughly before and after planting and make sure it doesn't dry out until established. By that I mean keep it moist but not flooded, bamboo don't like to be drowned either. Once established it shouldn't need additional watering but will benefit from an annual mulch with a good organic compost (I use composted horse manure) and the occasional feed (I use pelleted poultry manure, a generous handful) in spring and summer.
Like it's parent Fargesia nitida I've seen this bamboo growning in a container on a shady patio or courtyard to great effect. Grown this way it seems to be happy reaching 2-3 metres high and is very graceful and oriental looking. Grown in the ground in a sheltered from strong winds and dappled shade Fargesia nitida 'Black Pearl' makes a beautiful specimen bamboo between 3-4 metres high.
Eventual Size: Up to 3-4 metres, but can be pruned
- Position: Shade to part shade out of cold, drying winds - especially coastal winds
- Foliage: Evergreen
- Habit: Dense/Arching/Clump forming/Non-invasive
- Soil: All soils, but avoid waterlogged areas very dry soils will need extra watering
Other: Fargesia nitida bamboo
- Hybrid: Fargesia nitida 'Gansu' x Fargesia nitida
Before planting it is a good idea to soak the bamboo thoroughly to ensure the rots are well and truly saturated then dig a hole at least twice the size of the root ball add compost then place the bamboo so that the finished soil height will be slightly lower than the top of the root ball. Backfill using your soil mixed 50:50 with good compost. Once planted gently firm down the soil around the base add a top dressing of a good fertilizer, we prefer poultry manure, then mulch with a good 8-10 deep layer of compost. Finally water again to help settle the bamboo. In dry periods it may be necessary to repeat watering regularly, if the bamboo looks dry and the leaves are curling this is a sure sign. After the first season we repeat the mulching and feeding each spring.
Now stand back and enjoy. Don’t expect your bamboo to grow away like a rocket, yes bamboo can grow incredibly fast but most of this happens over a 3 month period which is very generally late May through to early August so if you’ve planted either side of this period I’m afraid you’ll have to wait.
Pruning and Grooming
Bamboo can be very accommodating here. I’ve seen pristine clipped hedges and topiary shaped plantings of both Phllostachys aurea and bissetti showing easy how easy it can be managed. What I like to do though on any large bamboo is to remove all old, thin and spindly canes (or culms as us horticulturists call them) then prune away all the side branches off the remaining culms to a height of between 60cm to 150cm depending on your choice. This in my opinion show bamboos off to there best making them stately specimens.
For more information see our Bamboo Care Guide for these types of Bamboo:
Also see our Bamboo FAQ
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John Barnard on 11 Apr 2018
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Sue Bancroft on 1 Jun 2017
Received the 3 bamboos ordered last week. Safely packed and very healthy when removed. These are destined for 3 containers against a fence, should look lovely. Recommended.
Mary on 18 Apr 2017
Lovely healthy plants with big clumps look fabulous in the garden
Jamie on 18 Apr 2017
Really good healthy plant upon delivery is now flourishing in my garden.
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