black bamboo

Almost everyone around the world loves black bamboo, but the people who bought some wrong kind of species of black bamboo over their yards and die during the first frost. The actual truth is that black bamboo is spectacular when its in the right setting with right timing. That’s why its good to know the differences between the types of species of black bamboo before you buy, and definitely before you plant within your yard.

black bamboo

Phyllostachys nigra is one of the earliest kind of bamboo species that was introduced to the UK and US in the first half of the nineteenth century. An appreciation of bamboo with black culms grew with their popularly known as a woody plant.


Black is a color  not a type of bamboo. There are several varieties of black bamboo and yes there are both clumping and running varieties also included with them. They each have their own unique and growing conditions which can not be interchange.

The 2 major differences in black bamboo are one is clumping and another one is running. Clumping bamboo are just like by its name, it forms tight clumps and don’t extend more than a few feet away from the place they were planted. We all can call this a type of bamboo that behaves. People love clumping bamboo because it is expected with no huge surprises.

On the contrary, Running bamboo will take over whatever size area it can which is common for running bamboo to take over an entire city block! This is definitely not the idea of behaving but still it is!

Variety of black bamboo

There are a few varieties of Phyllostachys nigra, the purpose of black bamboo have culms that turn black, not those that remain green, mottled, or other colouring.

Clumping Black Bamboo

There are three known varieties of clumping black bamboo, which are as follows:

Bambusa Lako – Common name: Timor Black, Black Lako

This type of black bamboo grows about 15 inches in pots and works as a beautiful clumping variety which is known as for popular best landscaping done by black bamboo. It is absolutely amazing and looks great in the TROPICAL landscape areas.

ALL clumping black bamboos are tropical and all of it will die to the ground when temperature is around 28F. If it just gets 28F for a few hours, then might have come chance to back with new shoots next year, but if it gets to 28F for more than a few hours, your black bamboo plant will be dead!

It is a true because everyone wants this plant, but hardly some plant can survive in an environment where it can be grown outdoors. But you don’t need to be worry, we have some solutions and suggestions coming up.

G. Atroviolacia – Common Name: Java Black, tropical Black

This is another clumping black bamboo, but it is a good bit bigger at 70′ overall height. It’s another name is Atro due to it’s short which has a very similar minimum temperature as the lako black and frost should be avoided at any costs.

You can take Atro from Lako by the nodal bands, or the rings between the bamboo nodes while Lako has black think bands and Atro has thick white bands. Atro is much more of a flat black bamboo where as Lako is much mixture of an eggplant purple/black color.

Black Asper (betung hitam) – Common name- Black Asper

This is the big one at over 100′ when grown in ideal conditions as required. This is a black version of the famous Asper bamboo which is absolutely amazing but it is extremely rare and extremely cold sensitive.

Running Black Bamboo

It is one of one major variety of Phyllostachys nigra. This is an aggressive running bamboo must be contained in your yard if you wish to grow this. this bamboo speech can takes the cold down to about 5F and prefers a real winter to go dormant. This type of black bamboo can be a nice landscape bamboo if you have the ability to grow it. While it is not preferred for the tropical areas.

Black Bamboo Canes Turning White or Grey

Black Bamboo Culms can turn into White and Grey colour. Culms have a good lifespan, the older culms have ability to change as they get old and juvenile culms die off. In the case of black culms as the plant matures, the juvenile culms get replaced by bigger culms and the old ones tend to lose it’s colour and change to grey even may stop growing new leaves.

When the plant is mature, you can cut out the old culms to tidy up the new clump. However, try to avoid this during the shooting season as new growth may be connected to the old culm and this you may weaken or kill the new shoot. You are advised to wait until autumn but if your plant is mature you can cut out the old culms. To be sure you don’t cut important culms, choose ones that have had no leaf growth in that growing season, or have minimal leaves in comparison to the rest of the plant.

Uses of Black Bamboo

You can plant it with other culm coloured bamboo species for effect, or it will look equally effective on its own perspective way. Because of it’s neutral colour, the culms will fit in with any other garden plants, colours, or structures.

Black bamboos can also able to make dense canopy of branches with foliage of some plants. However, you can prune this species easily.

Hope it will help you to choose the right bamboo for you.

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