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How to grow black bamboo plants?

How to grow black bamboo in pots

Grow black bamboo plants: Do you know there are running and clumping black bamboos that thrive in the UK? These black bamboos, including the Black Bamboo Nigra, tend to exhibit dark ebony stem colouration.

The options for choosing running and clumping black bamboo plants are many. Here is a list of top picks.

Three Black bamboo plants to grow in pots and garden

The common black bamboo is the elegant Phyllostachys Nigra. It has distinction black ebony culms (canes/stems) that identify it as the common ‘Black Bamboo’. It has running rhizomes and slender green leaves.

This running bamboo is 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.’

Another black bamboo is the Black Pearl Fountain Bamboo. Black Pearl is a spectacular fountain bamboo of the Fargesia nitida group with purply black culms and overarching green foliage, non-invasive.

The third black bamboo is Fargesia nitida ‘Volcano’. It is a stunning, non-invasive bamboo, with a reddish-black cane (culm) and brown sheath that forms a beautiful contrast between the dense green leaves.

Are the black bamboo plants invasive?

The three bamboos are ideal pot and garden plants. These bamboo plants will thrive under the right conditions in the UK.

Black Bamboo Nigra: The Phyllostachys nigra is an invasive and tall running bamboo. The black bamboo can grow to 6m, is upright with arching evergreen foliage.

However, in the cooler temperate conditions (and in pots the Black Bamboo Nigra) may not behave like a running bamboo. It often exhibits the features of the clumping bamboo by forming tight clumps.

Black Bamboo Phyllostachys nigra

Black Bamboo Phyllostachys nigra

More information about here>> Black Bamboo Nigra. You can also check out the names-links for a detailed insight into each type of black bamboo.

Black Pearl: Fargasia nitida Murielae ‘Black Pearl’ is an outstanding black bamboo from the clumping variety with an arching cane that can grow to 4m in height. It is non-invasive, medium bamboo.

Black Pearl Bamboo UK

Black Pearl (Culms appear ebony black in sun)

Fargesia nitida ‘Volcano’: ‘Volcano’ is also a stunning clumping bamboo that has shades of black on its canes that can grow to 2m in height. It is a non-invasive, small bamboo.

Fargesia nitida volcanoe

Purply-reddish to dark black culm when matured

What are the features of black bamboo plants?

This table gives a summary of the features of the three black bamboo plants:

Phyllostachys nigra


Other name: Black Bamboo nigra


Culm colour: Ebony expresso black

Uses: Windbreak, pots and containers or individual plant.

Site: Grow in full sun to partial shade.
Soil: Prefers moist but well-draining loamy soil.
Hardiness: -15 to –20 degrees Celsius.
Height: Fast-growing plant, 4 – 6m.
Spread: Invasive running  bamboo

Care: add manure or good organic compost, mulch, avoid planting in windy sites.
Foliage colour: Evergreen dark foliage all year round.

Fargesia murielae nitida, Black Pearl


Other name: Fountain Bamboo


Culm colour: Coloured, green to purple and black.

Uses: Grows in pots and containers, ornamental plant
Site: Prefers sun, will do well in shade and part-shade.

Soil: Prefers moist but well-draining loamy soil.
Hardiness: –25 degrees Celsius.

Height: 3 – 4 metres.
Spread: clumping bamboo, 2 – 3 m, not invasive.
Care: add manure or good organic compost, avoid planting in windy sites.

Foliage: Evergreen, fountain foliage.

Fargesia nitida ‘Volcano’, 


Other names: Chinese Fountain Bamboo ‘Volcano’, Red Fountain Bamboo, or Spherical Garden bamboo


Culm colour: purply-reddish and black stems, brown sheath.

Use: Single plant, pots and containers, screen, roof terrace.

Site: Prefers sun, will do well in shade and part-shade.

Foliage: slender, evergreen dense foliage.
Height: 1.5 – 2 metres.
Spread: 1 metre, non-invasive.
Hardiness: –25 degrees Celsius.
Care: add manure or good organic compost, prunning & thinning may be required.

What are the common uses of Black Bamboo?

  • Outdoor privacy screen
  • Garden hedging screen
  • Pot and container plants

How to grow black bamboo in pots for outdoor screening?

The running bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) and clumping bamboos (Black Pearl & Volcano) are fast-growing plants. The new culms can grow up to 2cm per day or 60cm per month. The former is a tall arching plant, whereas the two clumping black bamboo plants will grow to 4m or less.

When growing the bamboos in pots, always choose a pot that is stable, and remember that size does matter! (Read about how to choose the best pot for planting bamboo)

Here are the steps for growing the black running and clumping bamboo in the pots and containers.

  • Select a good (open-top & stable) pot or container.
  • Lay stopper or placeholder underneath the pot to stop it from wobbling.
  • Put the pot planter into place.
  • Lay the base of the pot with porous sheets, pebbles or gravels for drainage.
  • Fill the pot with a 50/50 potting mixture or loam soil.
  • Soak the bamboo before planting it in the pot.
  • Add soil and compact it into the pot (leaving 10cm to 15cm space at the top)
  • Add mulch.
  • Water generously.

Check out this article for the guide to how to select the best pot and container plants. The article puts into perspective why it is important to use the right pot plants and why you should follow each step above.

How to repot black bamboo plants in grow pots?

The black bamboo plants will require to be moved into a bigger pot or into multiple pots. Either way, you will need additional help.

The plants that are grown in the pots with the small top and open bottom are going to be really hard to remove. Therefore, it is important to choose a pot that has an open-top, which is going to make your work easier when it comes to removing the plants from the pot for repotting.

To re-pot the black bamboo plants, firstly separate the plants into smaller segments (ideally 4 parts), then soak the segments in water and then plant them in pots or in the garden. Careful not to disturb any rooting and budding rhizomes.

This activity is best done in early Spring!

How to grow black bamboo in the garden?

When growing bamboo as a garden hedge or for screening an unsightly structure near the boundary, it is important to choose the site carefully. There are three things you can do to stop the running black bamboo from invading other spaces.

  1. Use root barriers
  2. Build a raised structure
  3. Plant the bamboo 1 to 2 metres away from the boundary, patio, pavement and building.

Steps for planting black bamboo in the garden

  • Choose the site carefully.
  • Dig a hole twice the size of the diameter and depth of the pot holding the plant.
  • Soak the black bamboo in water before planting it.
  • Add nutrient-rich soil and compost.
  • Compact the soil into the ground.
  • Add mulch.
  • Water generously.

How to care for black bamboo plants?

The old culms and rhizomes of the black running bamboo Phyllostachys nigra will need pruning to promote new growth. Also, the thick bamboo bush may require thinning. Cut the new shoots and remove any unhealthy culms close to the ground.

In addition, the new black bamboo shoots will have to be tied back to give a neat hedge. Plant in the pots will require repotting if they’ve outgrown the pots. Here is the Complete Guide to Bamboo Care and Maintenance.

How to protect black bamboo?

Bamboo plants are hardy and tolerant of pests and diseases. However, the Black Bamboo plants will require sunlight, water and fertiliser to thrive in pots and poor soil.

The best time to prune, add fertilisers and mulch and repot/replant bamboo is in early Spring when the new growths are prominent.

Pruning and thinning bamboo plants are vital for the plants. As mentioned above, pruning can be done to either remove the old culms and rhizomes with the aim to promote new growths.

Whereas thinning is normally carried out to reduce the bamboo’s density and stop the rhizomes from spreading, basically removing the unwanted growths.

The bamboo canes are great sticks for staking tomatoes, plants and flowers in the garden. So, keep the bamboo sticks when you are pruning or thinning the black bamboo. You can also use rhizome cuttings to grow new black bamboo plants.

All in all, we hope that this article helps you to identify the common black bamboo plants that thrive in the UK and learn how to grow them in pots and containers, or in the garden.

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