Black bamboo plants, the Phyllostachys nigra, are fast-growing running bamboo. The black bamboos have spectacular ebony black stems (culms) and are popular. However, do you know there are other cultivars of the Phyllostachys nigra?
There are over 10 Phyllostachys nigra bamboo plants with black stem colourations, spots and stripes. Let’s find out about these peculiar bamboo plants.
Common features of black bamboo plants
The black bamboo plants are resilient running bamboo varieties. They thrive in variable soil and weather conditions and is tolerant to pests and diseases.
There are, in fact, several variations of the Phyllostachys nigra bamboos.
These stunning bamboos have black culms, or black and brown spots and stripes along the sulcus. The culms are tall, slender and upright with gentle arching foliage.
They are fully hardy to – 20 degrees Celsius. The black bamboos are formidable landscaping plants, also ideal for garden hedging and privacy screening.
The various black bamboo cultivars have been known to also thrive in pots and containers, and other confined outdoor spaces.
What are the different black bamboo plants?
There are over 10 black bamboo plants (cultivars), however, you can find half of them in-store or online within the UK. They are obviously called black bamboos because of the predominantly black culms.
Some bamboo cousins of the black bamboo nigra have green culms. So why are they called black bamboo plants?
Let’s dive in and find out!
1. Phyllostachys nigra ‘Black Bamboo’
This black bamboo plant is awarded the RHS merit for its unique features, described as ‘one of the most elegant bamboos, with polished, damson-black mature canes and dark green leaves.’
The Black Bamboo is a standout due to its ebony black stems (culms). Read more about it here > Black Bamboo nigra
2. Phyllostachys nigra f. henonis
This is a tall running bamboo with bright green stems that turn olive green. The new plants are often muddled up with the Green Bamboo Phyllostachys bissettii because they both have glossy green leaves, bright green stems and evergreen arching foliage.
However, look closely at the matured stems, the Phyllostachys nigra f. henonis will show signs of olive-yellow canes whereas the Green Bamboo Phyllostachys bissettii canes are obviously dark green, with yellow indentations or stripes.
3. Phyllostachys nigra ‘Boryana’
This is a stunning Phyllostachys nigra bamboo, also called Tiger Bamboo or simply ‘Bory’.
It has upright tall stems with distinctive brown to brownish-black spots and stripes, hence the name Tiger Bamboo.
4. Phyllostachys nigra ‘Megurochiku‘
This bamboo has olive-green stems with a black stripe through the sulcus. The new stems appear green, however, the stripes are predominant in the sun as the stems get older.
Careful when looking at ‘Megurochiku’ and ‘Boryana’; ‘Megurochiku’ has brown stripes and ‘Boryana’ has black stripes and spots.
As mentioned earlier, there are over 10 cultivars or varieties of the black bamboo plants, Phyllostachys nigra. Many growers in the UK love the Phyllostachys nigra Black Bamboo and therefore is becoming very popular among the bamboo growers.
Other lesser-known black bamboo cultivars
Recently, the other lesser-known black bamboo cultivars (such as the Phyllostachys nigra henonis, ‘Boryana’ and ‘Megurochiku’) are growing in popularity among the curious and enthusiastic bamboo growers.
Here are some black bamboo cultivars that you may want to find out more about. These bamboos can be quite hard to find near you.
- 1. Phyllostachys nigra ‘Han-chiku’
- 2. Phyllostachys nigra ‘Hale’
- 3. Phyllostachys nigra ‘Othello’
- 4. Phyllostachys nigra ‘Fulva’
- 5. Phyllostachys nigra ‘Tosaensis’
Check out the black bamboos at Crocus.co.uk
How to identify Phyllostachys nigra bamboos?
We covered the qualities and features of Phyllostachys nigra in detail in this article (LINK). Generally, their stems are flattened on one side. The branches appear in pairs at the node with slim elongated shiny leaves.
Phyllostachys nigra black bamboo plants have distinctive black culms, but the other Nigra Bamboos have green culms with dark spots or stripes that run along the internodes and sulcus. In most cases, the stem colourations are often prominent in sun.
These running bamboos are invasive.
How to take care of Phyllostachys nigra?
The running black bamboo nigra are resilient plants. They tend to thrive in the UK and are commonly used as privacy screens and for garden hedging, or as pot and container plants.
These bamboos will require care and maintenance as they grow. Use the two tips below to help your plants grow unobstructed!
- Firstly, add Slug and Snail pellets to protect them when your bamboos put out new growths.
- Secondly, tall culms and new tender shoots will require staking.
We have seen slugs devouring the new plants in one visit. The different cultivars of Phyllostachys nigra bamboos are no different, they are prone to slug attacks. So, apply the Snail and Slug pellets to stop the slugs from damaging the new growths.
Staking these tall black bamboo plants is a must. The plant support you provide will encourage the tall plants to grow upright and protect the new tender culms from the wind.
Furthermore, if you grow the Phyllostachys nigra Black Bamboos in pots, they will require some support.
Staking them is one option. Another option is to use a rope to tie the culms into a tight grove, providing a neat and upright hedge or screen.
The ideal time to care for your bamboo is when the new growths are coming out early in Spring to Summer.
Here is how to grow black bamboo nigra.
Why use bamboo Root Barrier
Using a bamboo root barrier is essential for containing the rhizomes of invasive plants like the Phyllostachys nigra. These bamboos are running bamboos, top above the invasive varieties. In fact, they will require some sort of barrier, either as raised beds, pots and containers or trench.
Create a root barrier before planting running bamboo, unless you are growing them in a contained space.
If your bamboo does not have a root barrier, here are some places where you can get one. The plastic root barriers are formidable – strong enough to stop rhizomes from spreading.
What types of care to provide for black bamboo plants?
If you are planning to build a roots barrier or thin out your running bamboo rhizomes and culms, do it in early Spring.
Always add the access soil and mulch to the base of the bamboo plants and tidy up before Summer. This will stimulate the plants to grow within weeks. The best mulch for the bamboo is bamboo leaves. Rake the leaves and put them back near or around the bamboo.
All in all, the black bamboo plant is one of the Phyllostachys nigra bamboos, well-known for its spectacular black stems. The other Phyllostachys bamboo plants have green stems with peculiar spots and stripes colourations.
These running bamboos are hardy, tall and upright plants, and also invasive. They require care and attention to grow well.
I heard that there are different Black Bamboo Plants that do well in the UK, is that right?