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Incense Bamboo

Phyllostachys atrovaginata forms strong stalks that are almost black when they sprout

Incense Bamboo

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Article number: 2194000

 

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Product information "Incense Bamboo"

The black incense bamboo is a real giant; the thick canes grow up to 6 m high. When budding, the canes are very dark and later turn green; in old age they take on a greyish colour.
 
Thick stems and strong growth

The black incense bamboo forms extremely strong and thick canes that grow tightly upwards. In relation to the height of up to 6 m, the stalks with their diameter of 5 cm are quite strong and give a vital and vigorous impression. Although the name of this black incense bamboo indicates that the stalks are black or dark, only the new shoots are really dark in colour. The mature canes are green and only later after 2-3 years they turn slightly greyish. The leaves are light green and often have lighter colourations, so-called chlorotic discolouration. Compared to the thick canes, this bamboo has a relatively low leaf mass.
 
Be sure to use a rhizome barrier!

Unlike the Fargesias, the Phyllostachys grow rhizomes, which means that different lengths of underground shoots are formed, which then develop new canes. If one disregards this rhizome formation, it can happen that the bamboo will start to grow in the neighbour's garden. This may not be conducive to neighbourly coexistence.  Phyllostachys atrovaginata forms relatively few rhizomes, but for a particularly long time. This means that this bamboo – if you let it go wild – no longer grows very dense after a few years, but rather looks like a small grove or loose bamboo forest. When buying the black incense bamboo, one must be aware that this plant has a relatively large space requirement of 10 m². This area should then necessarily be provided with a professional bamboo barrier, a so-called rhizome barrier. This is ultimately a very stable plastic boundary, which extends about 1.5 m in depth in order to prevent the traversing and wandering of the rhizomes as much as possible.
 
Alternatively, the bamboo can also be planted in a container made of such a high-quality plastic, but this is not practical in a space of 2 m². Thin plastic or even the pot in which the plant was delivered are completely unusable as a rhizome barrier; the strength of the bamboo rhizomes is so strong that they will even grow through wide sidewalks.
In addition, the barrier should be installed a few centimetres higher than the ground level in order to prevent the bamboo from growing over it. This will save you from any quarrels with neighbours and a lot of effort when removing bamboo canes. Do you not believe me? I grew up next to a piece of land with bamboos and I know all about the bad things and every trouble that can be caused by bamboo plants.
 
If the bamboo has fully grown out of the rhizome barrier, one should check for safety's sake regularly, whether the canes are growing outside of it. Cut off these canes immediately and remove the subterranean rhizomes up to the barrier. Regular clearing inside the barrier makes room for new rhizomes and thus reduces the plant’s urge to spread. This also allows you to constantly have bamboo canes for crafting or for use in your garden. Here is another tip: the young and tender canes are also edible, so you can also take pleasure in removing the young shoots.
 
Heat-loving bamboo

Now back to the beautiful properties of Phyllostachys atrovaginata: it is one of the hardiest bamboos with thick canes and no winter damage has been observed at temperatures down to -24°C. It is not picky about the location; however, sunny or shady locations with permeable, nutrient-rich soil are the requirements for beautiful growth. Dryness and wetness are well tolerated and unlike many other bamboos, this incense bamboo tends to be heat- loving. In southern Germany and further south the plants grow much faster than in the north.

This bamboo is perfect for those who want to bring some southern flair to their large garden. A loose bamboo forest is excellent for this purpose. Phyllostachys atrovaginata can also be used as a tall, somewhat looser privacy screen.
 
Mysterious flowering

Bamboos are idiosyncratic creatures and they only bloom about every 100 years. During flowering, many bamboo species were so abundant that the plants die after flowering. But not the Phyllostachys species and varieties! Good rescue results are achieved by cutting the plants radically after flowering and fertilising them well. This allows the plants to regain their strength and recover. All bamboos of the same genus bloom within about 10-15 years. Since the 1990s, some varieties of Phyllostachys species have come to bloom; however, because no seeds were formed, it is not a true bloom, but only a pseudo-bloom. By 2016, no case was known in which a well-established plant died. Only individual potted plants have fallen victim to flowering, since the space from which the plants draw energy (i.e. the root area) is obviously too small and the plant does not find ideal growth conditions.
 
Short description of Phyllostachys atrovaginata

Growth: Very upright

Final size: 6 m high and at least 5 m wide

Flowers: Flowering rhythm of 80-130 years, through pruning and fertilisation, death can be prevented

Canes: At first almost black, then greenish coloured; older shoots have a grey shimmer

Leaves: Wintergreen

Use: As a solitary plant, in groups, for a bamboo forest
 
  • Final height 4m to 7.5m
  • Final width 3m to 5m
  • Available February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November
  • Fragrance slightly scented
  • Use as a structural plant, as a hedge, for group plantings, as a specimen plant
  • Hardiness hardy
  • Soil moist, dry, moderately heavy, light, slightly alkaline, neutral, slightly acidic
  • Location partial shade, full sun
  • Leaf Colour green

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