How to Propagate Black Bamboo

How to grow black bamboo from seed

Black bamboo requires fertile and slightly acidic, moist, and well-drained soil to germinate. To grow black bamboo, you need to soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours, then transfer the seeds to well-prepared compost peat pots.

It is recommended to use compost peat pots because they are considered to be the best when it comes to germinating bamboo. It is also important to note that bamboo grows well in fertile, well-drained, slightly acidic moist soil, as found in the higher regions of Japan.

Once you have soaked the seeds, transfer them to the compost peat pots, and if possible, cover them with plastic bags or any other material that can allow light to pass through and keep the soil warm.

The seeds can take between 1 and 3 weeks to begin to sprout. Therefore, with all the conditions kept, the germination success rate will be higher.

Infographic – Propagating Black Bamboo from seed

Grow Black Bamboo from seeds or cuttings
Black Bamboo can be grown from seed (infographic above).

Black bamboo seeds

Phyllostachys nigra also known as black bamboo is an exotic type from Southern China.

The difference with the other bamboo is the black stem. It can take up to about two to three years for the stem to mature from the time the seeds are planted.

The seeds are oval and look like the head of wheat or grain rice.

These bamboo seeds are available on the market for anyone that wants to grow them. They are sold in counts and with a guarantee that all will germinate when the conditions are kept right.

Video – How to grow Black Bamboo from seeds

Black Bamboo is easy to from from seeds or cuttings – stand back, it grows fast!

Can you propagate black bamboo in water?

It is possible to propagate black bamboo in water. With this method, you need to cut some inches of bamboo with two leaf joints. While cutting, it is important to ensure that there is a smooth cut and hence you need to use a sharp machete or any sharp tool that will leave a smooth edge of about 45 degrees angle.

After cutting, dip both ends in melted wax. Then dip them in a container of distilled water until you see slightly reddish roots begin to appear. It is recommendable to use a transparent container so that you can easily monitor the roots as they begin to emerge. Therefore, it is possible to propagate black bamboo in water without using seeds.

Growing black bamboo in containers

Black Bamboog grows well in pots and containers
Control Black Bamboo spread by planting in containers

It’s been found that this species of bamboo, just like other species is invasive and can spread so quickly when planted on the ground. With bamboo planted in containers, it becomes easy to control the spread. This is mostly done for decorative purposes.

The recommended size of containers should be at least 10 inches wide. This is the case for the long containers, and if the container is not long, 18 inches wide is the recommended size.

Can I divide black bamboo?

One of the ways to grow bamboo is by division. That means you can divide the clumps of black bamboo to make more plants out of it. You can take the clumps into different other pots or grow them directly on the ground where you have prepared.

When it comes to division, you can use an ax, mattock, or a saw to divide the dense clumps, and then use the young rhizomes to make more new plants.

Growing bamboo from cuttings

We did mention that you can propagate bamboo from cuttings. With this method, you need to cut the stems of bamboo, typically one that is still young, then put it in a container with water until the roots begin to grow. When the roots are about 2 inches, then you can transfer them to pots or plant them directly in good soil.

With cuttings, you need to ensure that there are at least two internodes or leaf joints on each piece. This is because the roots only emanate from these joints. In addition to that, you need to cover the cut ends with melted wax before dipping in water.

It may take a shorter time for the bamboo grown from cuttings to have the stem turn black than for the ones planted from the seeds.

Does black stemmed bamboo spread?

Black bamboo spreads and is considered very invasive. The plant spreads through the underground rhizomes. Because of this, this bamboo is classified as a running bamboo. However, there are some measures that will help you control the spread.

While this bamboo can spread rapidly, it is considered less invasive as compared to other species. Bamboo species are more than 1200 and when compared to others, black bamboo, better known as Phyllostachys nigra is the least when it comes to spreading.

This is also the same with potted black bamboo, the rhizomes spread in the container hence forming new clumps that result in more bamboo plants.

Can you grow black bamboo from a cutting?

There are different methods of growing black bamboo, as we have already discussed, you can either grow them from seeds or from the cuttings. Therefore, you can grow them from cuttings by dipping the cut pieces in water and allowing them to stay for some weeks.

When the cut stem with internodes that has been cut stays in water for some time, the roots begin to grow and that is how a piece of black bamboo can be grown from cuttings.

As we discussed, you can use a transparent container to make it easy to monitor the seeds as they grow in the stem while in water.

Conditions for growing black bamboo

Growing black bamboo from seed and all the way to becoming a mature plant requires specific conditions as in the chart below. These conditions regard the soil type and pH, temperature and humidity, sun exposure, and water.

Table – What conditions does Black Bamboo like?

Soil typefertile, well-drained, and moist.
Sun exposurefull to partial shade.
Soil pHslightly alkaline to fully acidic.
Waterblack bamboo needs a lot of water.
Temperature and humidityTolerant to varying humidity and temperature conditions.
Conditions needed for best Black Bamboo growth

It is also important to note that, these conditions can also do for other species of bamboo.

Infographic – Best conditions for growing Chinese Black Bamboo plant

Optimum soil, sun and water needs to grow Black Bamboo

Other questions about propagating Black Bamboo:

Is black bamboo clumping or running?

Black Bamboo is classed as running, rather than clumping like many grasses. Yes, thick bamboo is actually a grass! Runners spread across the ground away from the plant and bamboo spreads pretty rapidly, which is why it’s classed as invasive.

It needs to be watched carefully if planted in a garden and the safest way is keep it enclosed on pots or containers.

Is black bamboo rare?

Although black bamboo has reportedly become quite rare in it’s country of origin (Java), it grows readily in moist, moderate climates with good soil and can be found in many countries.

How quickly / fast does black bamboo grow?

Once black bamboo is established, which can take up to two years, it’s growth takes off. In the right conditions heat and humidity in the right soil it can grow several feet per year. Maximum height is somewhere around 45 to 50 feet.

Can you dig up bamboo and replant it?

Yes, it is easily possible to replant black bamboo. You’ll find the the roots are fine and spread out into a clump that is difficult to separate. Simply cut out a cube of soil around the base of a single plant and replant into a suitable hole previously doused with water. It should be established with a couple of weeks.

Clarisse Walters
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