What is Black Bamboo?
For a long time now, black bamboo has been the most unique and cultivated species of bamboo that you can buy right now. This type of bamboo is non-invasive as compared to some other bamboo species. You are likely to find this type of bamboo species common in Southern China and parts of the United States. Due to the unique color of the bamboo species, it is one of the most sought after for various projects.
In places like China, black bamboo is often used for making musical instruments, black charcoal bread, and timber for construction. It will take about 5 to 6 years for it to achieve the maximum height.
As for the appearance, you will notice that the plant starts out as green in color when young. The change from green to black happens after one to three years of growth. Some species of black bamboo such as Punctata and Muchisasa do not turn fully black but rather retain brown spotting on their stalks.
This type of bamboo is unique and you should find it being hard to get into various areas. If you want to grow it, there is the need to learn more about it. In this guide, we look at how fast does black bamboo grow and other tips you should keep in mind.
Black Bamboo Growth Rate
Understanding how fast does black bamboo grow helps you plan. Let us say you plant the bamboo plant in pots; then its growth rate will depend on the pot size.
Black bamboo is a generally a tall type of bamboo species. When you plant this species in the ground, it will grow up to 5 feet in height every year that passes. The maximum height it can achieve is 20 feet. For a container plant, expect that it would only reach three-quarters of its expected normal size.
The size of the black bamboo will vary depending on the size of the root ball. As a result, a bamboo with small root ball will remain smaller. The size of the container plays an important role in determining how large it can grow. If the plant is not given enough room to expand, then its health would decline.
The potted black bamboo is likely to grow slowly because the ultimate growing requirements are not met. It will take a lot longer for it to achieve the maximum height.
Get the right container
As suggested earlier, the size of the container will determine how well the black bamboo plant will grow. The plant will stretch its roots as far as you allow them. With that in mind, it is recommended that you provide a long and trough-like container. The container can be at least 18 inches wide and 18 inches long. This will provide enough room for the plant to grow better.
For a potted bamboo, additional care is necessary to ensure it gets all the nutrients it needs to grow. In addition, the plant needs full exposure to the sun for several hours each day. It is best if you strategically place it in a way that it gets full exposure.
Watering is crucial for such young plants for them to grow better. As for watering, you should do it every two to three days. Daily watering is only essential if you are in a very hot and dry area.
How to Grow Black Bamboo from Seeds
If you like how black bamboo plants look, then you might be considering the option of planting them in your home or large scale for potential business. We all know that it is possible to get them from a nursey once the seeds have germinated and grown to a certain height. What if you want to grow them from seeds? That is what we want to look at below;
- First, prepare the starting compost for planting the seeds. Get the seed-starting compost into a bucket or large bowl. Add small amount of water while you mix the compost with your hand. Keep adding water while at the same time stirring until you get a moderately moist compost mixture.
- Proceed to fill the several 3-inch square pots with the seed-starting compost. Make sure to compress the compost into these pots to remove any trapped air. You want the pots to hold as much compost as possible.
- For each pot, add two black bamboo seeds on the surface and then add about 1/16 inches of compost to cover the seeds. Do not overcrowd these pots with too many seeds.
- With the seeds in place, spritz each of the pot with water to settle the compost around the newly planted black bamboo seeds. Keep spraying the water until the top layer of compost feels saturated.
- At this point, you need a propagation mat. Place this propagation mat near a large window with bright filtered light coming through it. Set its temperature to around 68 degrees F and set up the pots on top of the propagation mat.
- Each time you notice the compost is starting to dry on the surface, spray a bit of water to moisten it. You should never let the seed-starting compost to dry out.
- It takes time for the black bamboo seeds to germinate. After two weeks, you should start watching out for signs of sprouting. You should still be patient as some might take up to 6 months just to sprout.
- Look at the seeds that have germinated in each pot. If they both germinated, remove one of the seedlings. Always keep the healthier seedling.
- With the seedlings showing better signs of growth, move them to a greenhouse environment. Such an environment should have bright light, temperatures above 68 degrees F, and high humidity. Always keep these seedlings out of direct sunlight and well-watered.
After a few weeks, you can now transplant the black bamboo plants into the field or garden. It is recommended that you transplant them in a partially shaded bed containing loamy soil. The soil should be well-drained.
How to Prune Black Bamboo
Black bamboo can produce a lot of lush green foliage during its second growing season. If you do not prune the plants, they can grow into thick clump or hedges. Each year, new bamboo shoots will grow taller until they can get to the maximum possible height. It is important that you prune these shoots so that they do not limit the growth of the black bamboo trees.
So, when is the right time to prune? It is recommended that you do it during the spring. This is when the new shoots appear.
As for the pruning process, you simply have to cut most of the new shoots. They would be shaped like springs emerging from the underground rhizomes. As much as pruning is important, leave some of the shoots so that the plant can stay healthy.
Topping is also required so that you keep your bamboo shoots to your preferred height. You should repeat the thinning and topping process each year. Do not take out so much growth as it might lead to over-thinning.
Additional Black Bamboo Care and Maintenance
As part of taking care of your black bamboo plants, there is the need to apply fertilizer to the plants. The use of nitrogen fertilizer is highly recommended for the best outcome. You can still use compost and manure if you want to stick to natural sources of nitrogen.
To apply fertilizer, it should be done during the two growth phases of the plant. The first application has to be done during spring. This is when the plant is trying to gain new shoots. The second application is during the summer months when the plant rhizomes are expanding.
Watering has to be done right. The last thing you want is to overdo it. Watering should be done 2 to 4 times a week. It is worth noting that this bamboo species will grow better when there is a consistent supply of water. Once you note that the leaves have curled up, then know it is a sign of dehydration.
Benefits of Black Bamboo
Black bamboo just like other types of bamboo can also used for medical applications. The leaves of the black bamboo trees are antipyretic and diuretic. As such, these leaves can be great for the treatment of fevers, vomiting, and nosebleeds. You should harvest these leaves during the growing season and then dry them for later use.
For someone with lung infections and phlegm, you can also consider using the juice from the stems. The epidermis on the other hand is antiemetic, sedative, and depurative. As a result, it is great for treating coughs, and nosebleeds.
It is easy to see why anyone would want to get this type of bamboo plant in their homes.
Black bamboo is loved for its unique look. It is why you would find many people using it for creative distinctive furniture. There is no doubt you would be happy having something different from the norm. Because of its uniqueness, you can find such furniture fetching a premium.
Other than being great for furniture, black bamboo is still ideal for anyone who needs to build a house. Because it is strong, you can always think of many ways to bend it until you achieve the best design for a house.
There are many other uses of black bamboo just as you would expect for bamboo material. Such uses include scaffolding, building bridges, making rugs, toys, utensils, and so much more. Since it is a versatile material, you have the chance of coming up with creative ways of using this material.
How can you control black bamboo?
You can do so by placing them in containers that restrict their root growth. The containers should still be large enough to accommodate as much root system as possible and keep your plants growing better. Too much restriction is not healthy for the plant.
What is the best tool to cut down black bamboo?
It is recommended that you use heavy loopers as a good choice for the smaller diameter culms or canes. If you are going to harvest a larger black bamboo, then using a hand saw might be ideal for you.
How rare is black bamboo?
It is certainly not the most common bamboo type you will find in your area because of its distinct color. However, it is not too rare as it can be grown in certain places in large amounts.
Is black bamboo expensive?
Yes. Black bamboo can be expensive as it is difficult to propagate. Also, it grows slowly considering you have to wait for 5 years before it matures.
How do you pick a good black bamboo plant?
If you are going to buy seedlings for transplant, then you need to consider its health first. The seedlings should have a firm stem and healthy white roots. Having black or brown spots is not a good sign. Also, look at the color of leaves. They should be bright green in color to signify better health.
Can you eat black bamboo?
Several reviews show that black bamboo has one of the tastiest shoots. This means that you can eat them. Well, remember that bamboo leaves and shoots can have medical applications too. Whenever you use them, then you should end up enjoying multiple health benefits.
What are the uses of black bamboo plants?
Once they are mature, black bamboo can be used for medical use such as treating coughs and nose bleeds. Other applications include building furniture, houses, bridges, and much more. Most of the time, you will be limited by your creativity.
Black bamboo plants are for those looking for something unique. The color alone is enough to be a conversation starter. You might be used to seeing other types of bamboo and then you get to see black bamboo plants. You should always keep in mind the right processes to take care of the plants if you want a better harvest in 5 years. If you opt to plant the seeds, be patient with them as they can sometimes take longer to sprout. All in all, black bamboo plants are worth trying out today.