Black Bamboo is truly a beautiful bamboo. The most common variety is Phylosyachys nigra 'Black Bamboo' which grows up to 30 feet tall with 2 inch diameter culms. The culms shoot a rich green and over a year and a half turn a jet black. From green to a splotchy green/black mix, finally to a jet black color on the culms (see the contrast between a new culm in the foreground and an older culms in the background).
There are many other varieties that are genetic variations of Black Bamboo, including:
Phylostachys nigra 'Punctata' or 'Daikokuchiku/Folsom Black' - these are giant varieties of Black Bamboo that get about 55 - 60 feet tall, 'Punctata' is slightly bigger with 4 inch diameter culms and 'Daikokuchiku' has 3.3 inch diameter culms. This bamboo is pictured above.
Phylostachys nigra 'Hale' - this is smaller than standard Black Bamboo at 20 feet and 1.5 inch diameter culms. Its supposed to turn blacker quicker.
Phylostachys nigra 'Bory/Leopard Skin Bamboo' - This bamboo gets rich black spots on the culms. This bamboo is larger at 50 feet tall and 3 inch diameter culms. Pictured above.
This is what I love about bamboo in general, the sheer diversity is amazing. Black Bamboo is a very popular variety and I am one among the crowd of fans. Although I don't recommend planting Black Bamboo in the ground without containment with bamboo rhizome barrier (since it is a running bamboo), a more practical approach is to grow Black Bamboo in a container. I have had a great experience growing Black Bamboo in a container, it lends very well to this type of growing.
A common question I get is whether there are clumping varieties of Black Bamboo. There are, but they are too cold to grow here in the Sacramento area. But Phylostachys nigra 'Black Bamboo' doesn't fail to give the 'wow factor' in a garden landscape, even if it has to be containerized.
What else can I say? Black Bamboo is truly a beautiful, unique bamboo.
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