Fargesia 'Black Dragon' is an exciting newly introduced clumping black bamboo sure to become a massive hit with bamboo fans. We have been patiently waiting for stock of Fargesia 'Black Dragon' to mature enough ready for us to offer this marvellous black bamboo for sale. With it's deep glossy black to purple black canes, deep green leaves and upright clump forming habit Fargesia 'Black Dragon' has a lot to offer. At the moment it is simply known as 'Black Dragon' but we have our suspicions as to it's parentage and as such expect it to be very hardy. Currently we have a specimen growing in our West Sussex, hot in summer and frosty in winter garden where it seems perfectly happy in a sheltered sunny position growing amongst other Fargesia, Trachycarpus palms and Japanese maples. We also expect 'Black Dragon' to loose around 30% of it's lush foliage during late autumn, this is perfectly normal, and doesn't in any way detract from its beauty. In fact it exposes the canes a little more showing off the deep glossy black colour. This then brings me on to another point. With most of my larger bamboo I like to remove the side shoots from each mature cane or culm as we call them to expose and show off the colour and character of the bamboo better. This is a great way to create a perfect manicured oriental look and indeed this practise is considered by many bamboo enthusiasts to encorage the bamboo to mature faster thereby encouraging the production the thicker more showy canes. You can decide how high to remove the side shoots but I usually settle between 60cm to 1.50cm depending on the size of the bamboo.
Fargesia 'Black Dragon' is tolerant of both sun and shade but should be planted away from exposed windy positions particularly if is be in full sun. It will also like most Fargesia grow well in a container.
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.
Fargesia 'Black Dragon' in summary
- Position: Shade to full in a sheltered site preferred out of strong winds
- Soil: most soils
- Eventual Size: 3-4 metres
- Habit: Upright tightly clump forming
- Foliage: Evergreen (will lose some leaf in winter)
- Cane colour: At first green turning purple then black
- Common Names: Black bamboo, clumping black bamboo
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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Kim on 5 Jan 2019
Ordered online the evening of 1st Jan and the morning of 3rd Jan received a lovely, healthy good sized plant with plenty of beautiful coloured canes. Will be transferring it into a large pot and look forward to seeing this one grow and mature.