Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Timor Black Bamboo

April 2007
Rather harmless looking plant now isn’t it?

( Bambusa lako )

This bamboo will grow to 40′ height. That’ll put it outside both the first and second floor windows. I’m looking forward to that. I have it in a L-shaped nook outside the house. The stalks should be about 3″ in diameter when it is full grown.

The stalks are black, the leaves are green. It does not grow so tight you can’t see through it, yet it is supposed to be a clumping bamboo and therefore not take over The Woodlands. If it does I’m sure I’ll be remembered as fondly as Mrs. O’Leary and her cow. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that though.

Bamboo comes in running and clumping types. The running kind sends out shoots quite a distance away. It has been known to run under streets. This is the kind that has such a bad reputation. Clumping bamboo clumps. It sends off rhizomes close to its base and can generally be kept in line by just cutting off escaping rhizomes once a year.

Ad oddity about bamboo is that when it flowers it dies. Not always, but close to always. No one really understands why yet. Some advise on saving flowering bamboo is given at the link below.

Another interesting thing is that certain species all flower at the same across the planet. Pyllostachys bambusoides flowered in the 1970s and has flowered every 120 years as a group. Other species have similar behavior.

I’m told bamboo doubles in height every year, so most bamboos will reach full height about 4 years after being planted.  This one has put up one new spike per year, the second reaching 20′ in height.

Watch for mealy bugs ( I just clean them off with a garden hose) and mites. Mites will have webbing and leaves will yellow. Use orange oil for them. Aphids and scale also attack bamboo and can be controlled with orange oil.

This plant tolerated the shade I planted it in, though it would prefer sun. It loves the summer heat. The more water the better, yet this and the other bamboos did amazingly well through the drought of 2009.

In the cold winter of ’09-’10 it died. I’ve cut it back to ground, no sign of life yet, and it’s the middle of June.

See also:
Golden Hawaiian Bamboo
Emerald Bamboo

More information:
ABS – When Bamboo Flowers
A Cane the World Can Lean On, NYT

This was purchased from
Tropical Bamboo

Buy Local:
Carter Bamboo