Phyllostachys atrovaginata Incense Bamboo is a tall garden bamboo but short compared to other timber bamboos. This evergreen running bamboo has tall upright green culms and dark new shoots.
It is also known as the Dark Incense Bamboo because of its scented leaves and dark edible shoots.
Unlike other Phyllostachys bamboos, the Phyllostachys atrovaginata has special straw-like roots that are adapted to growing in soggy waterlogged areas.
- Name: Phyllostachys atrovaginata, Incense Bamboo, Timber Bamboo, Black Incense Bamboo.
- Foliage: Evergreen
- Culm: Upright, green canes, dark new shoots.
- Height: 6 – 9m, tall timber bamboo
- Spread: Running bamboo, invasive.
- Site: Part shade to full sun.
- Soil: Can grow in soggy soil.
- Hardiness: – 20 to –15 degrees Celsius.
- Use: Bamboo forest, woodland, botanical garden, tall privacy screen, edible bamboo.
Grow bamboo Phyllostachys atrovaginata Incense Bamboo
Cultivate bamboo in contained spaces
Phyllostachys atrovaginata is a massive plant to grow in pots and containers, but its edible shoots and scented leaves are adorable features many bamboo enthusiasts cannot ignore. Use large heavy-duty container pots to grow this timber bamboo.
Note that the new shoots in the second, third and successive years will be reasonably taller than the first shoots. So, do not be surprised if your Phyllostachys atrovaginata is taller than an average Phyllostachys bamboo in the container pots.
This running bamboo will definitely require repotting within 3 – 5 years.
Cultivate bamboo in the garden
Phyllostachys atrovaginata’s tall dark shoots, thick upright stems and distinct incense are excellent for creating a calm and serene atmosphere outdoors or in the garden. Also a preferable bamboo for large botanical gardens, woodland forests, walkways and tall privacy screens.
Perhaps it’s important to note that the Phyllostachys atrovaginata Incense Bamboo is an invasive Timber Bamboo, therefore building a bamboo barrier prior to planting it in the garden is the best thing to do.
Here are tips for building a Formidable Bamboo Barrier in the Garden.
Unlike the other running and clumping bamboos, the Incense Bamboo can grow in soggy soil. This bamboo has long hollow (straw-like) roots that can penetrate deep into the soggy soil; and enable it to absorb vital nutrients it requires to survive.
So, if you want to grow bamboo near a soggy site, the Phyllostachys atrovaginata is the ideal bamboo.
Propagate Phyllostachys atrovaginata Incense Bamboo
In the UK, many growers use Rhizome Cuttings to propagate the running bamboo successfully. You can also use Culm Cuttings or Bamboo Seeds to propagate Phyllostachys atrovaginata.
Seeds are often hard to find because bamboos rarely flower. If you are lucky to have a rare bamboo seed, take extra care to grow them. Here is a step-by-step guide on How to Propagate Bamboos from Seeds.
Air layering is another technique used successfully to propagate temperate and subtropical Timber Bamboos. This is like budding, instead, put some garden compost under the bamboo branch and cover it to promote root growth before transplanting.
Though we have not tried it yet, we have seen people doing it successfully in the US and Australia.
Slugs and Snails Killer
Feeds and Fertilisers
Heavy Duty Pots and Planters
Bamboo care: thin, prune, mulch, fertiliser and slugs
Bamboos, like other plants, will require attention to grow well. The 5 bamboo care and maintenance tips are best practices for healthy bamboo growth. These tips are important when growing large running bamboos like the Phyllostachys atrovaginata Incense bamboo, especially in the garden.
Thin the bamboo once or twice a year to promote new growth and keep the plant under control. Selectively trim the old culms that you do not want within the bamboo grove.
In fact, the new shoots are edible, delicious. It is a common bamboo used in many Chinese cuisines.
Pruning bamboo is intensive work compared to thinning bamboo. Dig and remove the parts of the bamboo that have outgrown the allocated space. Pruning is also ideal for taking the bamboo divisions for replanting and getting the bamboo sticks for use in the garden.
Mulching is a highly recommended care and maintenance job. It keeps the soil moist and protects the bamboo from frost and frozen soils. The bamboo leaves are fantastic mulch since they contain silicon which is naturally high in nitrogen.
In addition, tree barks or other organic mulch rich in moisture are good for bamboo plants.
The best time for mulching is early in Spring before the new bamboo shoots come out; or late in Autumn when you expect cold Winter.
Bamboos do not need fertilisers regularly, but the old plants will benefit from the added nutrients. Add fertiliser to plants that are older than 5 years at least once a year.
The NPK fertilisers or any that is high in nitrogen are ideal options.
The large bamboos are pretty tolerant to pests, however, slugs will eat the tender shoots and leaves.
If you are planting a new Phyllostachys atrovaginata or expecting fresh growth in Spring, add Slug and Snail Pellets to protect them.
Buy Timber Bamboos
Phyllostachys atrovaginata bamboo is ideal for a mini bamboo forest, woodland, botanical garden or tall privacy screen. It is also edible bamboo, you can grow in the large heavy-duty container pots and enjoy the shoots.
Here are some great places where you can buy the Timber Bamboos. If bamboo is not available, please contact the Garden Shops directly or message us. Alternatively, check the 5 other tall bamboos just below this table.
Bamboo Plants and Supplies
Fargesia Bamboo Plants
Black, Green & Yellow Bamboo Plants
Bamboo-based Eco Products
Best Hand Tools for Digging Bamboo
Phyllostachys Bamboo Plants
(Note that we do not sell or receive any payment at Garden Bamboo Plants, G.B.P. We’re a bamboo website focusing on providing the right information. we only connect our UK visitors to well-known and reputable online shops. See our disclaimer)
Timber bamboos similar to Phyllostachys atrovaginata
Finding Timber Bamboo at the local nursery or garden centre can be hard. Therefore, we list 5 other bamboos that are similar to the Phyllostachys atrovaginata.
The similarities are based on 5 important factors: type, height, foliage, hardiness and use. Details for each bamboo can be found through the links provided, click for more information.
- Phyllostachys Parvifolia Running Bamboo
- Golden Chinese Bamboo Vivax Aureocaulis
- Edulis Moso Bamboo Phyllostachys Pubescens
- Giant Timber Bamboo Phyllostachys Bambusoides
- Slender Weaver’s Bamboo Bambusa Gracilis (Clump-forming)
Note that the Slender Weaver’s Bamboo Bambusa Gracilis is a tall clumping bamboo in this list.
Phyllostachys atrovaginata Incense Bamboo
All in all, Phyllostachys atrovaginata is a fantastic bamboo renowned for its scented leaves and edible shoots.
This tall running bamboo is perfect for large gardens, woodland forests, walkways and tall privacy screens. Root barriers are necessary for growing this bamboo.
At G.B.P, our goal is to provide the right information for selecting the right bamboo to grow in the garden and in pots and containers. Based on our experience, we also offer bamboo growers tips and guides. You can get all the info you need to provide the right care for bamboo plants. You can see most of our work on YouTube.