Phyllostachys vivax f. aureocaulis 'Huangwenzhu' is one of the more spectacular giant bamboos you can grow in the U.K it produces thick sturdy canes or culms as they are correctly known which can reach at least 8 metres high and be 7cm in diameter. The colour of the culms is predominately green randomly streaked shiny golden yellow, just to keep you one your toes occasionally golden culms are produced with the reverse green streaking. The leaves on this phyllostachys are relatively long and narrow being a deep lush green.
Collectively known amongst bamboo collectors as one of the giant timber bamboos Phyllostachys vivax f. aureocaulis 'Huangwenzhu' is best planted in a position of full sun to dappled shade in fertile moisture retentive but not waterlogged soil most importantly allowing space for it to grow into a magnificent specimen. In time it should be expected to develop in a grove formation often large enough to walk through the plant amongst to giant culms. As with all giant timber bamboo like to thin my plants each year by completely removing old or thinner culms by sawing off at the base maintaining an open airy appearance. There is definitely something magical about walking through a mature bamboo plant, especially in a U.K garden resembling something you would find in the wilds of China or Japan.
As with all big bamboo consider wisely when planting as these bamboos can and will spread, they are not what I'd class as running just big spreading plants so ideally consider a root barrier or some means of controlling them from visiting parts of the garden, you'd really rather they didn't.
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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