• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • r ranson
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • John F Dean
  • jordan barton
  • Carla Burke
  • Leigh Tate
  • Steve Thorn
gardeners:
  • Greg Martin
  • Jay Angler
  • Mike Barkley

Cold Climate Bamboo!

 
pollinator
Posts: 391
Location: NW Montana, USA
126
goat purity foraging rabbit chicken food preservation pig bee medical herbs solar ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We're working on a special water system and are looking for some cold hardy bamboo.  We're in NW Montana, at 5200 elevation with pretty long cold winters, but this is in a very large greenhouse, so it takes the edge off for sure.  

I'm curious if anyone knows of varieties that may thrive in a colder climate- and it anyone has some for sale!  Just some fresh rhizomes would suffice, we don't really need started plants.

And if not, we'd be looking for cold-hardy moisture-loving heavy-feeding plant alternatives.
 
Jen Fan
pollinator
Posts: 391
Location: NW Montana, USA
126
goat purity foraging rabbit chicken food preservation pig bee medical herbs solar ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
After a little bit more research, I'm leaning towards Fargesia bamboos, being somewhat shorter and extra cold hardy- plus the varieties I've looked at so far are all clumping.  Any leads on plants would be appreciated :)  
 
gardener
Posts: 1166
Location: Wheaton Labs
691
2
foraging books wofati food preservation cooking fiber arts building writing rocket stoves wood heat woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am looking for zone 4/zone 5 bamboo, cold hardy down to -20F. I can't find any hardy to below -10F. The ones linked here are basically the ones that keep popping up in all my google attempts:

https://lewisbamboo.com/category/bamboo-plants/cold-hardy-bamboo/

Does anyone know of anything hardier?

Anyone growing their own bamboo in a cold climate and willing to share?

My ideal would be giant timber running bamboo, but I'll settle for anything that won't die!

Thanks!
 
pollinator
Posts: 439
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
86
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am sure you have already found Bamboo Garden.  They have a page specific to cold hardy bamboo.  Bamboo Gardens

They say a good bed of mulch around the rhizomes will allow one to grow bamboo a zone lower than rated.  One can grow a zone 5 in zone 4 if the beds are heavily mulched in winter.  
 
Jennifer Richardson
gardener
Posts: 1166
Location: Wheaton Labs
691
2
foraging books wofati food preservation cooking fiber arts building writing rocket stoves wood heat woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you so much, Jack!

I would have sworn I looked through their whole website, but now I am seeing varieties on the page you linked that say they're hardy down to -20F--awesome!

That is really good to know regarding the mulch, as well.
 
gardener
Posts: 4769
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
1795
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jennifer Richardson wrote:

My ideal would be giant timber running bamboo, but I'll settle for anything that won't die!

In my dreams! Apparently there are people here who have what locally referred to as "Japanese timber bamboo", but we're waaayyy... warmer than you guys.

I compromised on Phyllostachys dulcis - fairly large culms and the shoots are yummy in spring stir-fries if I can get them before my goose gets them!

If you can manage a bamboo that's tall enough for its old culms to be useful for garden trellises etc, I recommend that approach, as bamboo benefits from regular harvesting from my experience. The word "farcta" (Phyllostachys nidularia farcta for example) indicats a solid culm rather than hollow. My nidularia farcta has been out-competed by dulcis and *really* needs to be transplanted, but there are places where more solid is advantageous.
 
gardener
Posts: 2610
Location: Maine, zone 5
1228
2
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been growing Phyllostachys nuda in my forest garden without mulch for many years.  Mine is running, but has not achieved much height...maybe 8'.  I should mulch it to see how much it would enjoy that.  I think the coldest mine has seen is probably -17F.  I picked mine up from OGW.  Here's a link with decent info on it:  P. nuda
They mention it's edibility (why I planted it) and give examples of folks growing it in zone 4.
 
gardener
Posts: 1164
Location: Western Kentucky
499
dog gear foraging trees hunting food preservation cooking fiber arts woodworking wood heat rocket stoves
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm growing incense bamboo, red-margin bamboo, rock bamboo, arrow bamboo, and madake (all phylostachys family) in 7b. I feel this is pretty much their cold limit to retain anything above ground over winter. I have had some die-back in colder weather when they were young. The issue is getting them established. Once they form a solid grove, they seem to be much hardier. The grow so thick they can choke out even the peskiest brambles. The leaves kind of form a cocoon around the grove, and the culms draw a lot of water from the ground to provide warmth. The problem is that it takes a few years for them to get established to this point. If you are willing to have them die back every year, you may find something. How deep does your ground freeze? They have shallow roots.
 
Jennifer Richardson
gardener
Posts: 1166
Location: Wheaton Labs
691
2
foraging books wofati food preservation cooking fiber arts building writing rocket stoves wood heat woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been corresponding with a very helpful woman at Bamboo Garden. This is an excerpt from her latest email:

There are some clumping bamboos that are leaf hardy to -20F, but they are shade lovers and are sensitive to heat, so they would not survive due to the direct sun and summer heat.  The cold hardy running bamboos are only leaf hardy down to -10F, but their roots are actually tougher and more cold hardy than the roots of the clumping types.  These are my recommendations:

Phyllostachys bissetii  - This species seems to be the toughest and most cold hardy, and it has foliage branching almost all the way down to the ground.

Phyllostachys aureosulcata and ‘Spectabilis’ variety

Phyllostachys nuda  

Phyllostachys atrovaginata - This species has the strongest wood, but foliage doesn't begin until 5-6' up.  

Phyllostachys parvifolia


In order to estimate the maximum mature height in your location, I would subtract about 10 feet from the indicated height for each of these.  Please note, if you do get more than one species, we do not recommend planting them together.  We suggest keeping them separated by rhizome barrier or a pruning trench if they are going in the same area.

For cold climates, I do advise starting with a #5 size if possible. The #5 size (average height 4-6') is $95 per plant for each of the above except for the parvifolia, which is $120 per plant.  The #5 size ships for $20 per plant.  You could only get a couple of #5 size plants and stay under $250.  You are welcome to try them in smaller sizes if you want to experiment, but a #5 has a better chance of making it the first winter.  



We have a max budget of $250, so I will need to narrow these varieties down or go with a smaller size than she recommends--I am thinking fewer varieties in larger sizes to maximize winter survival potential.
 
Jordan Holland
gardener
Posts: 1164
Location: Western Kentucky
499
dog gear foraging trees hunting food preservation cooking fiber arts woodworking wood heat rocket stoves
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Phyllostachys atrovaginata is Incense Bamboo. It's been the hardiest here. It did die back to the ground it's second winter when it got down to single digits. I wouldn't have thought it would do well in much colder climates, but I'm sure she has more experience (then again she wants to sell some). I can send you guys some if you want. I'm not sure about shipping rhizomes this time of year, though. Or plants for that matter. It's quite hot here, and the shipping companies are bogged down pretty bad. I've had some packages take an inordinate amount of time lately. It may also be best to plant them in spring anyway so the roots have a full season to develop as much as possible before winter. Do you have anyone passing by western KY coming to the Labs anytime soon? That would be awesome. We could get you lots of big plants for free. I had another idea: do you have (or could you make) some kind of simple, portable greenhouse to help establish plants a little outside of their zone? I think if you could shelter them a couple winters, it might help extend your range of plants like this.

I really like this variety. It tastes very good, even raw. But I hate to eat too much of it because each little shoot is a mature plant you will not have. I have just gotten to the point that the grove is big enough to harvest culms and shoots in any real numbers. The culms are not as big as I had hoped. I had read up to 3", but the biggest I have so far is maybe 2". I did notice this year's culms are taller than ever, so it is hopefully still developing. This is  about year seven since planted.
 
Jennifer Richardson
gardener
Posts: 1166
Location: Wheaton Labs
691
2
foraging books wofati food preservation cooking fiber arts building writing rocket stoves wood heat woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jordan,

We would love to have some incense bamboo! I agree with you that shipping them right now wouldn't be a good idea, though, and we don't have anyone passing by that way. We would be really interested in having you ship us some in spring, though, and if we have anyone going your way in the meantime, we will let you know. Thanks so much!
 
Greg Martin
gardener
Posts: 2610
Location: Maine, zone 5
1228
2
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I should be able to send a small P. nuda division if you're interested as well Jen.  I just need a reminder in the spring :)

Nothing like a timber type for me so far, but a food type.  Granted, I haven't mulched and the rhizomes are still developing so perhaps the best is yet to come.
 
Jennifer Richardson
gardener
Posts: 1166
Location: Wheaton Labs
691
2
foraging books wofati food preservation cooking fiber arts building writing rocket stoves wood heat woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That would be awesome, Greg!

The lady I was talking to said that P. parvifolia is an experimental cold-hardy timber bamboo recently introduced from Europe. Alas, we'll probably be going with something less experimental, but maybe something you'd want to play around with?
 
Greg Martin
gardener
Posts: 2610
Location: Maine, zone 5
1228
2
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Teehehe...you know me!

Pardon me, I must step away to place an order.
 
Jordan Holland
gardener
Posts: 1164
Location: Western Kentucky
499
dog gear foraging trees hunting food preservation cooking fiber arts woodworking wood heat rocket stoves
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Took some pics today. This is what the atrovaginata grove looks like. The tall culms do have branches starting at 4-5 feet, but the small ones fill in below enough to block sight or wind if that's what you are wanting. They are self-mulching with a nice layer of culm sheaths and leaves. But I have yet to detect the sandalwood smell, unfortunately.
20200711_150453.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20200711_150453.jpg]
20200711_150258.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20200711_150258.jpg]
gift
 
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic