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Pencil Bamboo  RSS feed

 
Aaron Martz
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Does anybody have experience growing pencil bamboo? Any information on it? All I found in my 5 minutes of googling was a ton of sites about pencils made from bamboo, and this Indian nursery page, which doesn't have a lot of information:
http://jogindernursery.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=539
 
Mike Turner
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Location: Upstate SC
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Never heard of that common name (pencil bamboo), but its scientific name is Bambusa multiplex, and its common name in the United States is "hedge bamboo".  Its the cold hardiest of the tropical clumbing bamboos, being cold hardy to around 12 degrees F.  I'm growing it here, it shoots in mid summer, likes full to part sun and has many cultivars with different leaf size, plant height, leaf variegation, culm color.  Easy to grow, easily propagated from culm cuttings or rhizome divisions.
 
Aaron Martz
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Awesome thank you for the reply Mike. Looks like it will not be quite cold tolerant enough for me to grow in mid-state Michigan. Darn, I had some cool ideas for using it.

Do you use it for any specific purposes?
 
Mike Turner
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Location: Upstate SC
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Bambusa multiplex is borderline cold hardy here (gets killed back to the ground on some cold winters), so I mainly grow it as an ornamental.  So far it has only gotten 8 feet high, but I'm growing many other cold hardier bamboos that I use for various purposes on my farm. 

If you are looking for a clumping bamboo that is cold hardy enough to grow in Michigan, you might look at the various Fargesia species, some of which are cold hardy to -20 degrees F.  In general, they get about 12 feet high and like part to full shade.  Bamboo Garden Nursery sells a good selection of these online, along with some running Phyllostachys species that will tolerate below zero (F) temps.
 
Aaron Martz
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Thank you for the great suggestions! I know there are enough species of cold tolerant bamboos to keep me occupied
 
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