Black Bamboo nigra is running bamboo, awarded the RHS Merit for its unique features. The RHS described it as ‘one of the most elegant bamboos, with polished, damson-black mature canes and dark green leaves.’
Black Bamboo is a standout due to its ebony black stems (culms). It behaves like clump-forming bamboo in parts of the UK where it’s cooler.
Features of Black Bamboo Phyllostachys nigra
- Identification: Phyllostachys nigra, Black Bamboo nigra, running bamboo (behaves like clumping bamboo in cooler climate)
- Site: Grow in full sun to partial shade.
- Soil: Prefers moist but well-draining loamy soil.
- Uses: Windbreak, pots and containers or individual plant.
- Winter hardiness: -15 to – 20 degrees Celsius.
- Height: Fast-growing plant, 4 – 6m.
- Spread: Invasive bamboo
- Foliage colour: Evergreen dark foliage all year round.
- Culm colour: Ebony expresso black
Black Bamboo Nigra Ebony Stems
Black Bamboo nigra is a fast-growing bamboo, known to be an invasive variety of running bamboos. It is a spectacular bamboo with ebony dark black to matured expresso black stems.
At an average height of 4 – 5m at maturity, the black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) is a tall and slender arching bamboo variety, fully hardy to -20 degrees Celsius.
Bamboo Nigra is known as one of the most distinctive bamboos of the Phyllostachys group.
How to Propagate Black Bamboo Nigra
The three ways to propagate Black Bamboo are
- seed propagation,
- separation of the clump-base and
- culm (stem) or rhizome (root) cuttings.
Bamboo seeds are often hard to buy near you because they do not flower regularly. The best way to propagate the black bamboo is by base separation or roots and culms cuttings.
Experiences of Propagating Bamboos
We tried the different ways of propagating bamboos and know that it requires a lot of prep and effort to get the bamboos growing. Yet, watching the germinating bamboo is often rewarding.
Protecting the new growth can be challenging.
Slugs were a menace. On the GBP YouTube channel, we showed how the slugs wiped off the new growths from the bamboo cuttings in one visit.
Check out the video – Amazing Bamboo Plants.
Black Bamboo Care
Although is low maintenance plant, the new growth of the Black Bamboo will require care and attention, whether grown from cuttings or by separation.
Beware that the slugs adore the tender new growths, they can widen them if left unprotected.
Here is my YouTube video showing a 4-week-old bamboo attacked by slugs. If you are propagating bamboo plants from rhizomes or culms cuttings or planting a recent purchase, protect the new growths by adding the slug killers.
Slugs and Snails Killer
Feeds and Fertilisers
Heavy Duty Pots and Planters
Grow Black Bamboo Phyllostachys nigra
When growing the Black Bamboo Nigra, perhaps an important factor to consider is the invasiveness despite showing some common features of the clump-forming bamboo.
If you are growing bamboo in the garden, put it in an area where there is room to spread.
The old black bamboos will thrive in well-drained soil with high moisture and nutrients, but like most bamboos, they do not like compacted dry soils.
It will require re-potting when it outgrows the pot so if you want to keep it longer, use a large pot or container. As a rule of thumb, the size of the pot should be twice the size of the base clump.
If you see browning in the culms or the bamboo leaves turning yellow, check the soil. Here is an article on how to revive your bamboo plants in a case where there is a sign of distress.
Black Bamboo preferred sites
Although the Black Bamboo Nigra is an elegant variety, it is an invasive bamboo. As mentioned earlier, it requires a lot of space to grow.
The arching culms and evergreen dark leaves can spread 4 – 6m on average. It is important to take this into consideration when choosing a site to plant to grow the black bamboo nigra.
As a pointer, this peculiar bamboo is ideal as an individual plant in the garden or contained in large pots and containers for balconies and terraces.