Culms come out and look nothing like their eventual final form. Bright colors, spots, interesting forms all make 'shoot watching' an interesting obsession. If there were a 'plant watching' hobby (like bird watching) staring at fresh bamboo as it emerges from the ground would be top on the list, at least for someone like me (yes, I know - very strange).
So... with great anticipation, I present my predictions for when the new shoots will emerge from the ground here in the Sacramento area. This assumes moderate temperatures like we have had recently prevail; and some moderate precipitation continues as well. Other conditions that can influence shooting are - fertilization and sun exposure, so expectations should be somewhat tempered based on the conditions of your garden. This is a list of some of the more popular running bamboo varieties that I expect to shoot soon:
Early shooters - right now:
Pleiobalstus viridistriatus 'Dwarf Greenstripe'
Pleioblastus fortunei 'Dwarf Whitestripe'
Pleioblastus pygmaeus 'Pygmy Bamboo'
Phylostachys edulis 'Moso' (Giant Timber Bamboo) - March 7 - 14 (pictured above)
Phylostachys aurea 'Spectabilis' (there is alot of "Golden Bamboo', a close cousin of 'Spectabilis', growing in the Sacramento area, especially up in Placer County) - April 1 - 8 (pictured above).
Phylostachys nigra 'Black Bamboo' (Sacramentan's love Black Bamboo) - April 15 - 30
Phylostachys nigra 'Leopard-Skin Bamboo' - April 15 - 30 (pictured above).
Hibanobambusa tranquillans 'Shiroshima' - May 15 - 22
If you are a Bamboo Geek, you will enjoy this time of year, Sacramento is a great place to grow bamboo - decent rainfall, lots of sun and plenty of opportunities to use running bamboo (contained is suggested). Be it in a container or planted with a rhizome barrier, keep your eyes open the next few weeks, something may be emerging from the garden floor from a long winter's sleep. Enjoy it, it is quite a sight.
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