Phyllostachys nigra or the Black Bamboo has to be the most popular and best known of all bamboos. The shiny jet black canes reach can reach to 4 or 5 metres in height and are covered in masses of lush green dainty leaves. The black bamboo is probably the first hardy bamboo to have been grown in Europe with it's introduction dating back to the late 1820's. The high quality of the beautiful black canes have made it popular with handicrafts throughout the world with products such as walking sticks, fencing, furniture and more being made from it's attractive high quality cane.
I have seen Phyllostachys nigra planted in many different gardens and to varying uses. It makes a wonderful specimen bamboo but equally I've seen it planted as a stunning hedge, clipped both at the top and sides into quiet a formal shape. It always looks at it's best however if the lower branches are stripped from the mature canes to show of the beauty and form of the bamboo. I remove all sideshoots off the main canes each year up to 1.20cm high to great effect.
The best situation for the black bamboo is in a good, rich soil that does not dry out too readily but also does not have a tendency to waterlog over the winter months. Idealy sheltered from strong winds as the delicate small leaves can be scorched in excessive exposure. It is also worth bearing in mind that although most books and garden centres will tell you the Black bamboo is clump forming this is not the case. They can and will start to wander once they are happy, I was once told by a bamboo expert that freshly planted Phyllostachys bamboo 'often sleep for a few years only to suddenly wake up running' so be warned consider this when planting and think about restricting it's ambitions
The Black Bamboo plant can grow well in a container but must be kept well watered at all times to ensure good, strong growth. Feed with a general purpose feed between the months of May and September to keep the plant looking lush and healthy. You should expect the black bamboo to add about a third to its height and spread each year and if it is really happy, maybe more! To achieve the blackest canes possible, plant in full sun and enjoy the wait as the canes turn from a lush green to an ebony black.
We recommend using: Bamboo Root Barrier for this bamboo.
- Eventual Size: Up to 5 metres, but can be pruned
- Position: Sun to part shade; out of cold, drying winds - especially coastal winds
- Foliage: Evergreen
- Habit: Arching/Upright/Spreading
- Soil: All soils, but avoid waterlogged areas; very dry soils will need extra watering
- Cane/Culm Colour: Green turning to jet black when mature
- Hardiness: H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10)
- Uses: Screening Bamboo, Container Bamboo
- Other common names: Black Bamboo, kuro-chiku, whangee cane
- RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Other Screening Bamboo:
- Common Names: 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
QUESTION & ANSWER
Is all Bamboo invasive?
Most definitely No! Many Bamboo are tightly clump forming, staying put and remaining perfectly 'clumped' throughout their life.
Bamboos have two distinct root (or Rhizome) habits, loosely classified as 'clump-forming' and 'running'. Running bamboo can be very invasive often spreading several feet per year whereas clump-forming bamboo spread slowly from the base.
R Allen on 11 Sep 2017
Pleased to advise that the plant arrived safely. I am delighted with the quality and health of the bamboo and that it was so well packaged. As a result it arrived safely and in excellent condition. Many thanks.
A.Young on 23 Aug 2017
All received and very happy! Thank you.
Big Plant Customer on 18 Aug 2017
Arrived earlier than expected and perfect condition. Fantastic service, will definitely be back!
Brian on 4 Aug 2017
I looked at the local gardencenters for Black bamboo and thought the quality was poor with high prices and no advice on how to grow them. Big Plant nursery gave me great advice over the phone and confidence to order online. As expected the plants arrived well packaged, on time. But best of all they were so much better quality than any Iamp39d seen before....and better priced. Will definately be ordering again!
Big Plant Customer on 4 Aug 2017
Very pleased with my bamboo, good quality better than other companies I have purchased from in the past, have ordered more since. Recommend
Big Plant Customer on 28 Jul 2017
Very pleased. Thanks
Big Plant Customer on 28 Jul 2017
Very pleased, larger plants than in the picture arrived. Fast delivery, easy to use website.
David Craig on 23 Nov 2016
Fast delivery and nice big healthy specimens Thanks
Daryl Rodgers on 6 Apr 2016
Excellent plants and service
Pauline Saunders on 5 Apr 2016
Lovely plants and extremely quick delivery, thank you.
Fiona Jackson on 16 Mar 2016
Lovely bamboo plant, was better than expected, arrived very quickly - will definitely be using you again for my bamboo purchases
Thank you for your understanding regarding this issue, I've sent sent you some care instructions for future planting. Kind regards.