Fargesia nitida Gansu 'Shadow Light' is yet another beautiful clumping bamboo selected from seedlings produced by the last flowering of Fargesia nitida. Like Fargesia nitida Gansu has delicate narrow deep green leaves but differs from the species by being bushier and having canes that consistently mature to a deep puple grey colour. We have not been growing this bamboo long enough to be authoritative about Gansu's ultimate height but estimate from experience that it will reach between 3 and 4 metres high, less if you grow it in a container. What we do like is this Fargesia's tightly clump forming nature, it's high quality lush foliage and of course the beautiful canes supported the said leaves.
All Fargesia nitida varieties are happy in shade to sunny positions as long as they are not exposed to windy locations and have adequate moisture to the roots particularly in the heat of summer.
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.
A recent introduction and worthy addition to your collection
- Position: shade to sun out of cold, drying winds - especially coastal winds
- Soil: all soils, but avoid waterlogged areas very dry soils will need extra watering
- Eventual Size: up to 2m - 4m, but can be pruned
- Habit: upright growth
- Foliage: Evergreen
Fargesia nitida 'Shadow Light' Bamboo Care
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. Back fill 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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Wendy on 14 Feb 2018
Plants arrived safely at 1.30 pm today - looking very healthy, Many thanks for all your help.