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Growing Bamboo General discussion - Identification, selection, propagation, care

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  #1  
Old 17th February 2012, 11:58 PM
Dee_Ann
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: USA - TX, Jefferson Co.
Posts: 9
Fargesia fungosa dud problem?

Hi guys!

I want to grow bamboo around my yard for privacy.
I purchased like 50 seeds from a dealer on eBay. The seeds were sent to me from Germany, of all places..

So I bought one of those Jiffy plant starter things that comes with 72 peat pellets.

I watered the pellets and once they expanded I used a pair of hemostats to gently place one seed in each pellet about in the center (top to bottom) of the pellets.

I put the cover on the box and set it in my kitchen where the temperature is an average about 68f to 70f degrees.

That was a month ago. Not one single seed has shown any signs of life. Zip, zero, nada..

I am assuming that by this point I need to just chuck them out and find a new source for seeds. I had plans to get them into pots by now. I want to enclose my yard in a bamboo privacy screen, I chose this breed because it won't spread aggressively and won't grow too tall. I have to be sure that it won't grown more than 10'-12' tall and won't take over my yard.

So now I'm back to square one I guess? A month? That can not be right, I saw someone else had sprouts like day 9. Do I throw these out and start over?

If so, where can I find a reputable seller that won't take me to the cleaners or dump another batch of duds on me?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 20th February 2012, 06:38 PM
CaroleMeckes
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 1,306
Hi Dee Ann
First of all Fargesias are good for cold climates - not where you are in Jefferson County, Texas (Port Arthur area).

You'd be much better off growing the Bambusa genus and starting from plants instead of seed cause it takes much longer for plants to develop from seed.

Bambusas can be started from culm cuttings - if you know anyone in your area that has some - you might be able to get some cuttings to start.

Carole
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  #3  
Old 27th February 2012, 11:47 AM
Tarzanus
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Slovenia
Posts: 168
Most likely the seeds were old an no longer viable. I bought Fargesia fungosa (actually it's Borinda fungosa) from most likely the same German vendor on eBay. Two out of 10 sprouted and one of them is now quite large.

They are not cold hardy as someone would guess, since they are labeled as Fargesias. Mine froze considerably when temperature was 28F. Based on the fact that the plant is still in the pot and it was less than 1 year old seedling, I guess that's normal, but I doubt it would survive zone 7a winter without serious cold damage. I hope it's way more cold hardy when established in the ground.

It isn't good bamboo choice for hot summers. If your summers are dry and hot, you might rather pick one of Bambusa genus. I'll have mine in the semi-shaded location to prevent serious leaf-curl I've seen most of the summer last year. I repear - it is a seedling in a pot, it might be way hardier when established in the garden.
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  #4  
Old 27th February 2012, 12:32 PM
Dee_Ann
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: USA - TX, Jefferson Co.
Posts: 9
Hi guys,

After FIVE weeks in a Jiffy #72 'Greenhouse' thingie with zero activity I have declared them to be officially dead.

Yesterday I tore open the 50 peat pellets and not one of them had done anything at all. I just broke up the peat and spread it in my garden. Dead seeds and all.

I contacted the seller through ebay with like 2 days to go before I would not be able to leave feedback and they told me "Oh, you have to follow directions we included!"

Well the directions were a sticker on a tiny zip lock baggie that said to go to their website for instructions. I did go there and I found no such instructions.
Maybe they were in German? I don't know but I found nothing on their website except pages for ordering more seeds from them.



After a month I contacted them and they just commented to follow the directions. WHAT DIRECTIONS??

They also said the seeds had to be kept warm. My house where the Jiffy greenhouse is average is about 66f to 68f. They said it needs to be 82 degrees and that it takes SIX MONTHS for the seeds to sprout! BULLS**T!!

SIX MONTHS??? No way.. I do not believe that at all.


Bottom line, they ripped me off.


--
Oh, and here we are Zone 9 but in the past few years that has become outdated, we do not get winters anymore, it's miserably hot even during the months that should be winter and we easily fall into the Zone 10a rating now.
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  #5  
Old 28th February 2012, 12:12 PM
Tarzanus
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Slovenia
Posts: 168
Borinda fungosa 'variegata'? Wow, that's bullshit if someone asks me. Well the seeds might come from variegated mother plant, but most likely there will be no variegation. On the other hand, it might tell you what the mother plant form was.

I've bought Fargesia yunnanensis from the same vendor. Had zero success with Fargesia yunnanensis and Chusquea culeou. I did follow germination instructions by the letter (link: http://www.pflanzen-exoten.de/Anzuch...g/Englisch.pdf) and could not get even one seedling out of 20 seeds.
I bought Chusquea seeds from exotic-plants.de.

I did not leave feedback to them, but I did feel the urge to do so for some time. :P

I have two Fargesia (Borinda ) fungosa seedlings from the seed I bought last year from exotic-plants.de. The same vendor sold me sterile (or old age - dead) Phyllostachys pubescens last year. Seeds that sprouted only needed aroun one week to come out. On the other side they still germinated up to 3 weeks, if seeds failed to sprout by that time, nothing happened - they were dead or sterile.

I received fresh pubescens seeds after the initial failure with 0% germination rate in another shop from Europe, and I've seen more than 50% germination rate. Later I've got pubescens from one of Chinese vendors and it germinates almost one year after I bought the seeds. I keep them cooled in the fridge.

I'm still germinating the mentioned seeds. Started Chusquea on January 25th and still nothing. I might get lucky later, but I seriously doubt it.
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  #6  
Old 28th February 2012, 12:17 PM
Tarzanus
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Slovenia
Posts: 168
And one more thing about variegata...
I bought non-variegated form of Fargesia fungosa seeds and lately, I noticed some kind of variegation. I doubt it's malnutrition related coloration, but it might be, otherwise, seedling is doing great. Here's a photo of one of newest leaves of my Borinda fungosa.



I sincerely hope you receive viable seeds somewhere. Or perhaps it will be much faster to grow the plant from rhizome division.
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  #7  
Old 12th March 2012, 11:02 AM
samajax
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 49
Texas..fargesia...Nope.

Dee Ann- Like Carole stated in her post, Fargesia is not suitable for Texas.

We are way to hot in the summer, and even if the seeds had sprouted, they would have melted in our Texas summers. I have made a couple experiments with Fargesia in Austin, and have lost them both. It was an experiment- and I knew going in that they were iffy. I tried two types that were reported to be on the better end of heat tolerance, but come full on summer 78 degree nights, they were toast...I gave them full shade, but......

Sorry about the Ebay seed issue. If you are new to bamboo, try some plants from a bamboo nursery and go with some of the varieties in the Bambusa family. They clump like Fargesia, but are way more suited to our more semi-tropical environment. There are quite a few bamboo nurseries in Texas and some of them ship. I think there is a resource section on this site- or try Google.

Tarzanus will give you some great info and bamboo experience- but what he can grow in his climate does not compare what grows in our area. We are 8b-9 in central/south Texas- but our summers are super high on the heat index.

Think of those beautiful gardens up north- would you try and grow things like peonies down here..? Same thing. They don't really like our climate.

Carole or other Texans will be glad to fill you in on some varieties that will thrive down here. On the plus side- what we can grow down here, folks in Dallas can't grow- their winter temps are just a bit to low.
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  #8  
Old 12th March 2012, 11:24 AM
samajax
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 49
Texas sellers

Dee Ann-

Off the top of my head, here are some Texas dealers. Most do not ship, so you'd have to make a road trip. Mind you, many regular nurseries in your area will sell bamboos of the Bambusa genus.

Near Houston- Caldwell Nursery, Tejas Tropicals, Bamboo Texas, Utility Research Gardens (farm near Houston).

Others- Bamboo Bend (Austin) and Carter Bamboo (near Corpus)

There are probably others. Hope this helps.
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  #9  
Old 24th March 2012, 02:01 AM
Dee_Ann
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: USA - TX, Jefferson Co.
Posts: 9
Oh wow!

I'll check the places you guys suggested, Houston is a full day round trip from here, over 200 miles and 5 hours travel round trip. So five hours to travel and a few hours in town = full day... Ugh..

I also do not know my way around Houston so I would have to go with my Dad who does. I also can't drive long distances because I have narcolepsy.

Anyway, I ended up throwing out the seeds I bought from Germany, I was certain they were dead duds. If they grow outside, then cool..

I bought more seeds from India this time. But some of you say they probably wont' survive the brutal Texas heat. Darn it!

As I talk about in the other thread, I am a member of the (only) Buddhist temple in our area. They have bamboo gardens there. I had asked some of the Novice Monks in the past about buying bamboo but they edged around the subject and couldn't give me any answers.

Last week I managed to have a one to one sit down with the Monk (the big cheese) and one of the things I asked him about was bamboo. We reached an agreement for me to purchase 8 pots of bamboo that is guaranteed to grow here as it will be taken from existing gardens right there on the temple grounds. I forgot the variety I'm getting, I'll ask when I go back next week.

Oh, and I have to stress this point, I CAN NOT grow TALL bamboo. I do not want tall bamboo. I want short bamboo that won't grow over 12' and will provide a great deal of privacy. It can not spread either. So that really limits the varieties I can grow. It's got to stay around 12' but no shorter than 6', be bushy enough to provide a "privacy fence/screen", not spread and survive the brutal Texas heat..
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  #10  
Old 24th March 2012, 02:26 AM
Dee_Ann
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: USA - TX, Jefferson Co.
Posts: 9
Hi,

Well months ago I purchased some Fargesia fungosa seeds from Germany. After 6 weeks in a Jiffy greenhouse they showed no signs of life at all and I pitched them out in the yard. I assumed them to be dead duds. I figured after being wet for that long they had rotted to death.

But then I talked to the Monk at the local Buddhist temple where I am a member and he said they could take 6 months to do anything. WHAT???
Oh well. There's a very slim chance I suppose that those seeds I threw out in the yard may eventually grow though I remain extremely skeptical.


After that I purchased some more seeds from a source in India. The envelope said "Ornamental beads for decoration" or something silly like that.


So this time I bought 100 seeds of "Fargesia yunnanensis" and 100 seeds of "Fargesia fungosa".








I have not planted them or done anything with them yet. I need to know what to do, step by step.

I do not have a green house, I live on the Gulf Coast and there is a constant prevailing south wind off of the Gulf of Mexico that pretty much prevents me from putting up one of those little temporary plastic green houses. Not to mention, hurricanes.

I don't have much room in my house either. I could buy some of those Jiffy greenhouse things, toss out the peat pellets and put potting soil in them and stack them somewhere inside but I keep my house around 65 degrees on average. I suppose if I had to keep them in a warm place I could make a spot in my garage which is very much warmer than inside the house, 70f at night and over 80f in the daytime.

I do not believe those peat pellets are adequate for starting anything, they can't possibly provide the nutrients anything needs to germinate. I would just as soon fill them with potting soil.


Also, because I'm soooooo far behind where I wanted to be with my bamboo, I made arrangements to purchase bamboo from my Buddhist temple.

(This is an aerial view of the place, it takes up one square city block and pretty much every green thing you see in the picture is bamboo, but almost all of it is the giant, super tall stuff.)





The Monk is the main caretaker of the gardens there and they have lots of awesome bamboo going on there.

Anyway, I asked him if he could sell me some that would not grow tall but would make a good privacy barrier and he said they have a variety (I forget the name) that does not spread and does not grow over 10 feet or so. He said it stays fairly short and is really easy to care for.

I'm getting 8 pots of it. The way he does it is that he'll choose some from their crops and separate it out and pot them up. Those are set aside and my name is put on them. The Monk will tend my plants for three months to ensure that they are healthy and strong plants that won't die on me unless I'm a total idiot. After three months I can then pay for them and take them home.

Next week when I go back to meditation I'll take some very high-res photos with my new camera of the plants I'm getting and get the name of the variety.

Last year I was there taking photos of the Zen garden and snapped a few low grade pictures (with my old camera) of the bamboo that I am getting.

When I took the photos last year I didn't know I would be getting some of this stuff, I just took the photos at the time because I liked it, I thought it was pretty.

Anyway, they planted this to hide the air conditioner units and abate the noise. This was when the plants were fairly young. I haven't been in that garden lately but the Monk told me that that bamboo has really done well and is hiding the air conditioners quite nicely now. Here's what it looked like about a year ago.

I'll be seeking advice on them as well so that I can be sure to have a healthy crop. I want to enclose my yard in bamboo for privacy and make a maze of it.

(If you click the small photos you can see them in much higher detail.)










And here's an approximate pattern of how I want to plant it for privacy.



That pattern will be about 150 feet long in all and will make the half of the yard next to my house private. There's a maze opening so I can get my riding mower through to mow the back half, so the dog can get through and down the right side there's a path where a gate is so I can bring large things into the yard down the right side.

I also want to plant it around my air conditioner to hide it and abate the noise. It's sitting on my patio, it's loud, runs non-stop 10 months of the year and makes outdoor meditation quite impossible.

I think the bamboo would help a lot with the noise.

I'm hoping the potted bamboo will help me get a jump start on my privacy hedge and I'm hoping that the bamboo seeds will eventually provide additional plants I can use to fill in gaps and privatize even more areas of my yard, maybe even the entire yard some day.

I'm sure though that all this will take a few years. I just hope I can make it happen before I frickin die of old age!

So, any advice, I am really in need of some..

Thanks!
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  #11  
Old 26th March 2012, 11:16 AM
samajax
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 49
Fence

Dee Ann- The monk has steered you right.

The culms look yellow, but with 'riviereorum' leaves, so they are probably be
Bambusa multiplex 'Stripestem Fernleaf'. Those top out near 12'.

If the culms aren't yellow, it's Bambusa multiplex 'riviereorum'- Chinese Goddess- about the same height.

Either way, nice choice. Not to tall with nice dense foliage.

I don't want to rain on your parade, but none of those seed choices are bamboos that will ever survive a Texas summer- and if by chance you get that to happen, lot's of hot climate bamboo freaks would like to know your secret.

Bamboo seeds don't stay viable that long and germinate quite quickly, so not sure why your sensei told you six months...

If time is not a factor, start with the 8 plants, let them go for two years or so, divide in half, then move the division down your planting line. So in you can double your plant amount every few years.
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  #12  
Old 29th March 2012, 01:08 PM
Dee_Ann
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: USA - TX, Jefferson Co.
Posts: 9
I spoke to my Monk yesterday about the bamboo I am getting.

He told me it's called "Mexican Bamboo".. He didn't have the scientific name, he said it's just called Mexican Bamboo. It does exceptionally well in this area and that's what counts.

I took my camera yesterday and took new pictures of the same bamboo around the air conditioners that I took pictures of about a year ago. Compare these with the photos I posted a few days ago..

























In a year's time it seems to have grown quite nicely to cover the air conditioners.

Bhante (the Monk) told me that when I take them from the pots to plant them it will be obvious to me that they are favoring growing in a straight line. He said I will want to plant them so the root clump line is oriented in the direction I want them to grow and next thing I know, there it is..

Can anyone tell me what the scientific name of these would be?
It thrives here on the South East Texas Gulf coast. We are literally on the Gulf of Mexico, the temple where the bamboo above is coming from is just a few hundred yards from the Gulf. It gets horribly hot here, the humidity is ALWAYS near 100% and we've been having exceptional drought conditions for the past 2 years. Just this 'winter' as some people call it, we've had a lot of rain and the drought is about broken but it's very probably going to return to drought conditions again this summer.

I'm still going to try the seeds I bought. It may very well be that they'll die but I've got to try at least. Better than just throwing them in the trash.

Or, perhaps I can just donate the seeds to the Buddhist temple and maybe the Monk can do something with them. He is also in charge of the gardens there and is the master bamboo grower there. I've talked to some of the novice monks there about gardening and they always smile, point to the Monk and tell me "Ask Bhante.."

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  #13  
Old 29th March 2012, 10:44 PM
CaroleMeckes
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 1,306
Mexican Bamboo is probably "Mexican Weeping Bamboo" Otatea acuminata ssp. aztectorum

I've been to the Buddhist Temple that you are referring to - I usually attend their Bamboo - Lotus Festival which is held the first weekend of June.

I don't recall seeing the Mexican Weeping Bamboo there.

The leaves of the Otatea acuminata ssp. aztectorum look like this:


Here is a shot of how this plant looked in Dec 2009 - before the 17 degree F freeze


For comparison - here is how it looked Dec 2009 after the 17 degree F freeze:


As you can see it hangs over a lot - hence it has the common name of "Mexican Weeping Bamboo" because it hangs over like it is weeping...
Today my specimen is growing back but is still pretty small and hopefully it will retain its stature this season.

The bamboo that is pictured in your photos looks like a form of Bambusa multiplex.
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  #14  
Old 29th March 2012, 11:17 PM
Dee_Ann
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: USA - TX, Jefferson Co.
Posts: 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaroleMeckes View Post
Mexican Bamboo is probably "Mexican Weeping Bamboo" Otatea acuminata ssp. aztectorum

I've been to the Buddhist Temple that you are referring to - I usually attend their Bamboo - Lotus Festival which is held the first weekend of June.

I don't recall seeing the Mexican Weeping Bamboo there.

The leaves of the Otatea acuminata ssp. aztectorum look like this:


Here is a shot of how this plant looked in Dec 2009 - before the 17 degree F freeze


For comparison - here is how it looked Dec 2009 after the 17 degree F freeze:


As you can see it hangs over a lot - hence it has the common name of "Mexican Weeping Bamboo" because it hangs over like it is weeping...
Today my specimen is growing back but is still pretty small and hopefully it will retain its stature this season.

The bamboo that is pictured in your photos looks like a form of Bambusa multiplex.

Interesting... I've never heard of the weeping bamboo. Next time I go back I'll take photos of ALL the bamboo there. There is a lot of bb growing all over the grounds but there is one section that is specifically a bb grove.

But, in the Zen garden where I took the photos, I also saw this odd looking bamboo. It has really long leaves, I had never seen anything like it but it was most certainly bamboo, of that I am certain. I don't think it's that weeping type but it is unusual looking..




--

Here's photos of the grove there.

http://www.buumon.org/index.php?opti...id=6&Itemid=58

The gallery and the site in general is a bit out of date, they don't have a full time computer person on staff.

Also, in one of the buildings there there are a few charts on the wall about bamboo species and variety identification. I'll take some photos of them too.

I'll be at the festivals in June so I'll have some cool photos to share then..

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  #15  
Old 29th March 2012, 11:21 PM
CaroleMeckes
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 1,306
go to the Bamboo Flora Gallery and search for "Buu Mon" in the keyword:
http://www.bamboocraft.net/bamboo/search.php?cat=580

179 pictures should come up...
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