Bambusa chungii is a tropical clumping variety of species which is the most commonly referred to as Blue Bamboo. Himalayacalamus hookerianus is a temperate clumper which also called by the name Himalayan Blue Bamboo. These varieties are somehow rare but are attractive in ornamental landscaping. The striking color of the bamboo is because of a light, a powdery substance with a waxy texture that is present on new culms. The coloration of leaves and stems tend to change throughout the year, with older culms gradually looking less blue as the protective powder dissipates.
What makes them blue?
The blue tint in these species doesn’t actually grow in the fibers of the plant itself, it comes from a white, powdery substance which makes the culms waxy to the touch which provides a kind of protection against the moisture. The powder appears on new shoots, probably is to protect them from mold or mildew that might occur in the wet growing season.
Instead the bright green of the new culms, the white powder alters the appearance so that they take on various shades of greenish or grayish blue. As the new shoot grows, the powder thins and scatters thus, the effect diminishes and coloration fades.
Where does Blue Bamboo grow?
Blue bamboo originates in Asia but might grow in other regions of the world including parts of the United States and Australia. According to Dave`s Garden, you can grow Blue bamboo in USDA plant.
Blue bamboo is tolerant in nature to wind, rain and dry conditions, however it is not suitable for places where temperature drops lower than 21 degrees Farenheit otherwise it will cause the leaves to die. Buying blue bamboo for the wrong climate will only result in wasted money.
If you live in a colder region, it is not a good idea to try and add blue bamboo to your landscape wheather you like it or wanna plant it in your landscape. Surprisingly, you can plant it in a container as an indoor plant and move it outside during the summer.
How to grow Blue bamboo
After you have checked that your climate is suitable for blue bamboo, then, it’s time to think about the placement in your landscape. As blue bamboo prefers to grow in full sun but grows well in partial shade too so, dont plant it in the shadiest parts of your property or landscape. Blue bamboo grows new shoots from May to October but the earlier in the season you plant it the better. If you plant it in Spring, the bamboo will have much time to make new shoots in that same season. By planting late, anywhere after August means waiting until the next spring to see any new growth. If you are making a Blue bamboo privacy screen then leave it about 6 – 8 feet ( 2 m) between plants. It will take 3 to 5 years for it to reach its mature size that will be 20 – 30 feet (6 to 9 m) tall but depending on the growing conditions. Blue bamboo has average water needs but watering it regularly in the first year of transplanting until it becomes established in the new spot. But do not over-water, as bamboo does not thrive in soaking wet soil. But after the first year, you can stop watering if you wish, but don’t forget to give it water if theres no rain for a prolonged time.
Apply some high nitrogen fertilizer once a year to encourage bigger and faster growth in size.
How to control it?
Blue bamboo is a clumping bamboo which means it grows neatly in one place only. It will not spread around fast not even in unexpected directions. It will spread steadily a few inches within every year.
If you don’t want the clump getting wider than it is desired height, you simply cut the outer shoots when they appear that will be enough to stop it.
If you leave it as is, the Blue bamboo clump can get as wide as 10 feet (3 m) with time.
Where to Display Blue Bamboo
Blue Bamboo is an excellent species to use for landscaping purposes. You can also create an impressive privacy screen thus, you will be amazed by the fast growth of this bamboo plant. However, you should ensure that your bamboo should located in an area that receives full sun to partial shade or even light shade. Whether you wish to grow Blue Bamboo as a single specimen or plant several in a row to form a wonderful privacy screen. You will be amazed to see how remarkable this bamboo plant looks when it reaches maturity.
If you decide to use tropical blue bamboo to create your own privacy screen, then you should plant your bamboo 6 – 8 feet apart, as they only grow 20 – 30 feet tall. They have a wonderfully thick foliage that makes a great point of interest during the winter months and can provide the privacy you need.
How Caring for Blue Bamboo
Blue Bamboo is one of the rarest species of bamboo which makes it also rather expensive as compared to other types. However, the unparalleled beauty of this bluish plant will definitely make complement your landscape, whether you choose to grow it indoors or outdoors or as a single plant or as a privacy screen, whatever you wishes to grow.
Despite its rarity, Blue Bamboo is easy to grow and not difficult to maintain its beauty. However, it is difficult to propagate which requires intensive labor.
In order to propagate this type of blue bamboo, here are some things that you can do:
- Divide the rootball
- Divide rhizomes, corms, tubers or bulbs
- Air layering
In addition, adding a yearly high nitrogen fertilizer will ensure that your blue bamboo is receiving all of the nutrients that it needs.
Is Blue Bamboo a good choice for you?
Considering the care and location requirements of blue bamboo, you will have to decide whether this stunning plant can grow or even thrive where you live? As you can see, Blue Bamboo has minimum requirements but it is a fast growing plant which is easily adaptable and making it one of the most popular choices available for interior and exterior locations.
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