Bamboo can be used to make perfect evergreen hedges or screens in order to avoid unwanted view on f.e. your neighbor’s house, to create privacy and shelter. In recent years there has been increasing interest in the use of bamboo as evergreen garden screen or windbreak. Bamboo can provide a very attractive alternative to the traditional laurel or conifer hedge. It is a fast growing, vibrant plant with fresh green leaves dancing in the wind. With the great variation within the available species of bamboo, hedges can be grown from 1 to 8+ meters high. The desired final height of a bamboo hedge is easy to modify by annual pruning.
VISIT AND ADVICE
If you are thinking of a bamboo hedge, consider to visit the nursery and bamboo garden. Based on your situation, we can elaborate what is the best solution. With our experience and the examples in the showgarden, it becomes clear what is feasible and desirable. We work with manually propagated plants from mostly botanical species and vital cultivars of which we know the characteristics from our own experience. A leaflet guide will help you to do the planting yourself, but if you prefer to give it out of your hands than our landscapers can also take care of the soil preparation, installment of the bamboo barrier, layout irrigation and planting.
CLUMPING AND RUNNING
For hedges there are two types of bamboo available. For hedges up to 4 meters, we can work with non-invasive, clumping bamboos from the genus Fargesia. For hedges of 4-8 meters, we use species with a rhizome-forming habit Phyllostachys, Bashania,Semiarundinaria. These species are applied within bamboo barrier to prevent unwanted expansion. This bamboo barrier is available at our nursery in several heights.
BE AWARE OF THE RIGHT QUALITY
We only grow traditional propagated bamboos by manual divisions from the original mother plants. We often hear homeowners or landscapers with good intentions have selected unsuitable species for a hedge with undesirable consequences. Many bamboos in regular trade are not on our recommendation list, such as weak inbreed bamboos of Fargesia murieliae 'Jumbo', 'Super Jumbo', 'Simba', 'Bimbo', etc., frost tender species Fargesia angustissima, Phyllostachys aurea, Phyllostachys nigra etc as well as plants propagated from laboratory tissue culture (in vitro) which can show undesirable growth properties, fortunately recognizable by fantasy names like 'Green Screen', 'Asian Wonder', 'Green Perfume'.
HOW MANY PLANTS YOU NEED TO GROW A BAMBOO HEDGE?
We use the following rule of thumb, based on 3-4 year old plants in 10 - 15 liter containers. When planting small size (young) plants, it is better to plant 1 or 2 plants extra per meter.
1 plant per meter takes about 3-4 growing seasons to form a closed hedge with the desirable height
2 plants per meter takes about 2 growing seasons to form a closed hedge
3 plants per meter takes about 1 to 1,5 growing seasons to form a closed hedge
The bamboo growing season runs from April to October in Northern Europe. In Southern Europe growth might start at the end of February until November
HEIGHT OF THE HEDGE
On average Fargesia’s new shoots grow annually 30 - 50 cm higher above the existing plant height, under optimal growth conditions. So, when you plant out in year one a Fargesia with a height of 150 cm, in year two the plant height can be 200 cm, in the third year 250 cm etc. until the maximum height for the species is reached.
For Phyllostachys and Semiarundinaria the annual increase in height is on average 100 cm. At any time, you can maximize the height/size of the hedge by pruning.
SPECIES FOR HEDGES UPTO 4M:
Fargesia robusta ‘Campbell'
This is one of the best garden bamboos and one of the most popular species in our nursery. ‘Campbell’ shows a sturdy, upright habit and is suitable for a sunny or even a shady location. The species name robusta refers to the relatively thick culms which give the plant the tight upright grow form. The ornamental value of "Campbell" is formed by the small, dark green leaves, olive green culms and striking paper white bracts surrounding the new dark green shoots in spring, which remain on the plant until late summer. The dark green culms eventually fade to olive green in time. Another important feature is its winter appearance. ‘Campbell’ does not curl its leafs during frost and dry periods and has only a low percentage leaf fall before winter. That is why 'Campbell' after an average winter still looks beautifully fresh green. ‘Campbell’ is among the earliest shooting bamboos; in April, the shoots occur and are often followed by a smaller number of new shoots on young plants in late summer. These new shoots grow within a few weeks to their final height. In a few years "Campbell" f.e. bought as a 2-year old nursery plant can grow to a dense screening. Its final height is about 3-4 meters, depending on the location and soil type. If a ‘Campbell’ bamboo hedge gets to high you can easily prune it back to the desired height. It is an excellent species to create evergreen hedges in urban areas. Moreover, there are multiple forms of robusta in circulation all of which are clearly of less quality, including robusta 'Robusta', ‘P. King', 'Pingwu' 'Red Sheets', so be sure to purchase the genuine Fargesia robusta ‘Campbell’ ('White Sheet' is a synonym for ‘Campbell’). Fargesia’s are clumping bamboos, but to hold a bamboo hedge in a narrow line, even for the long term, it is recommended to place a shallow root barrier (35 cm, available at our nursery shop).
Fargesia nitida sp. Jiuzhaigou 1 (Fargesia Jiu 1)
This is a very fine textured Fargesia with colorful sea green leaves. It's very attractive, clumping with small, narrow leaves and green to reddish purple coloring culms and deep yellow autumn coloration of a small portion of the leaves. This wild botanical bamboo is sometimes called ‘red bamboo’ or ‘red panda’. This upright bamboo is suitable for a growing place in the shade and full sun. It is a very hardy species that sheds of part of the leaves before winter and is able to temporarily rolling up its leafs during periods frost and drought as a form of self protection. At an exposed, windy site the leaf curling is more intense than in a sheltered location. This is why young plantings may temporarily have a transparent appearance. The relatively thin culms can bend under snow or heavy rain. Fargesia sp. Jiuzaihou 1 (the nine villages valley) is a vital plant and very suitable to us as a hedge. This species has been collected in a nature reserve in northern Sichuan, China as a seedling. The natural height is 2 to 3 meters. This bamboo can also be pruned to maintain a desired height / width. During bad winter weather the curling leaves give the plant a duller color, but when the weather improves the leaves unroll quickly to their original shape. Fargesia sp. Jiuzaighou-1 makes new shoots in the second half of the summer. These new culms make the following spring numerous side branches and leaves.
We have more types of Jiuzaighou at our nursery which also have their own landscaping value:
Fargesia sp. Jiuzaighou Willumeit 4 ‘Cherry Black’ is a valuable, bushy plant whose culms color to deep purple or almost black. This clone grows to 2-3 meter.
Fargesia sp. Jiuzaighou Willumeit 5 is a bamboe with culms coloring terra-red / brown red. This clone grows to about 2,5 meter.
Fargesia sp. Jiuzaighou Willumeit 9 ‘Paradise’ is the largest of the series with a growing height from 3.5 to 4.5 meters and purple-red relatively thick culms. Because of its size and vigor Jiuzaighou 9 needs more space than the other Jiu-clones.
Fargesia sp. Jiuzhaigou 'Genf' has small leaves at a height of 3-3,5 m. The culms of 'Genf' fade to bright red. ‘Genf’ can be considered as a higher and more compact alternative for Jiu-1.
Fargesia nitida sp. Jiuzhaigou 'Deep Purple' is a new introduction from the wild, which grows well erect and quick high. This plant is between 3 to 3.5 meters high. Most characteristic for this form are its bright purple culms on a sunny location. This plant is under observation.
All Fargesia sp. Jiuzaighou are clumping, but to hold a bamboo hedge narrow on the long term, it is recommended to place a shallow bamboo barrier, which is available from our shop.
Fargesia dracocephala 'Rufa' is a very strong, important Fargesia which is collected in the wild in Gansu Province, China in the mid-nineties by Jos van der Palen. The plant has striking apple green leafs, remains its fresh green color throughout winter and does not curl its leaves during prolonged drought or frost. It's a relatively small species (about 1.50 to 2.50 meters, sometimes higher) which is suited to grow dense bamboo-hedges. This bamboo has naturally a fountain form canopy but can be pruned very well and provide a dense evergreen hedge shortly. This plant makes many new shoots early in the season. Like Fargesia robusta 'Campbell' also ‘Rufa’ has often a second growth in late summer. Fargesia dracocephala 'Rufa' grows faster compared to many other Fargesia’s. Therefor after some years pruning on the outer edges may be required to maintain a compact hedge. This species has a clumping rootsystem, but to maintain a narrow hedge of minimal 50 cm, bamboo barrier of 35cm is recommended to use. ‘Rufa’ can also be used as a solitary specimen is a garden. After 3 to 4 years it shows its full habit like a fountain with overhanging leafy culms. Notable are the orange bracts during the growth of new shoots in early spring. After a harsh winter it is one of the best evergreen species. It is one of the few species which are suitable for use in containers on rooftop gardens. Moreover, there are several unnamed 'Rufa' clones in circulation which show variation in height. We have a small type (around 2 m high) as wel as a 'Rufa Big Form' (4+ m high). We do not grow in-vitro (laboratory tissue culture) ‘Rufa’ because of risks of quality loss.
Fargesia nitida-hybrids of the new generation Fargesia nitida x nitida Gansu are healthy new plants derived from cross-pollination of the familiar Fargesia nitida clones. The original Fargesia nitida flowered at the beginning of this century. Within the many hybrid seedlings there is still selection work going on to identify the most interesting clones. Some good new selections are:
Fargesia nitida 'Volcano' , a compact hybrid of around 1.5 - 2 meters high, making it one of the smallest vital Fargesia’s. 'Volcano' has purple black culms.
Fargesia nitida 'Black Pearl' is 2 - 2.5 m high. The older culms of 'Black Pearl' are deep purplish black. It is a bushy, fast growing bamboo, requiring enough space to develop.
Fargesia nitida 'Pillar' is a bit more upright and grows up to about 2.5 to 3 meters.
More selections are in observation and might be added later on to this list. Some are already available from our nursery in small numbers.
Fargesia murieliae-hybrids of the new generation Fargesia murieliae x Fargesia nitida are new and very vital hybrid bamboos. The popular mother plant of Fargesia murieliae flowered in the 90’s and Fargesia nitida flowered in the first decade '00. Within a flowering overlap of two years manually controlled cross-pollination has been carried out. From the collected seeds, new bamboos are grown and within these seedlings selections have been made of individuals with striking characteristics. These new plants are manually propagated and have again about a century to go for the next flowering period. These new hybrids have a very vital, vigorous growth. Some interesting newcomers are:
Fargesia 'Viking'(murieliae x nitida) is a vigorous new bamboo with an expected final height of 3-4 meters. The culms are dark, almost black in color. At the base more bluish. A vigorous grower for quick results.
Fargesia ‘Obelisk' (nitida 'Nymphenburg' x 'Eisenach' x murieliae) is a valuable seedling from 2007. This bamboo grows vigorously, fairly upright and compact. The orange-brown culms sheets contrast nice with the deep green culms. The expected final height is 3 to 4 meters.
Fargesia ‘Schensbossen’ (nitida Neufeld x murieliae) is a promising, powerful growing new seedling with fairly thick, deep green culms with a blue-white wax layer on the young culms and light green leaves. The expected final height is between 3-5 meters. This selection is very hardy and shows little leaf rolling. Limited availability.
More cross-breeding hybrids are in observation at the nursery.
Wild collected, new generation Fargesia murieliae's. In the wild Fargesias murieliae has also flowered in the 90’s but has of course been cross-pollinated within the healthy natural gene pool of Fargesia murielieae. This gave rise to healthy seedlings. In the Chinese Shennogjia reserve some of these seedlings were collected and are already planted and tested in northern Europe. We have two types out of this series in observation and on a small-scale available.
Fargesia murieliae 'Blue Lizard' is a seedling with relatively strong bluish powdered culms and relatively wide leaves. I expect a height of about 3-4 meters on a fertile soil.
Fargesia murieliae 'Purple Arrows' is a type of which the culms color purple-brown in the sun. The expected final height of this plants is about 3 to 4 meters.
Other lesser known but still interesting Fargesia’s are:
Fargesia apicirubens imported as seed entered the market early ‘90s. Hence, many different clones came in circulation with much variation in vigor, vitality and habitus. In terms of its appearance there are similarities with the old Fargesia murieliae. In the showgarden we have a clone left over from the planting of seedlings in 1995 that stands out with a compact vital growth and good shape and leaf structure. Regularly a limited number of divisions made from this plant for sale. The maximum height is about 3 m.
Fargesia sp. Scabrida seems related to Yushania. This graceful, open-growing Fargesia with blue-purple colored culms has orange-red bracts. The distance between the culms is bigger compared to other Fargesia’s, therefor requiring more space. It is a non-leaf rolling type and maximum height reaches between 3-4 meters, but also tolerates pruning well. In the show garden a clipped hedge can be found as well as a solitary specimen of this species. Use of a bamboo barrier is recommended if you have limited space. Scabrida can result in a nice, natural looking hedge. Together with Fargesia robusta and dracocephala, this is another non-leaf curling species.
Fargesia denudata is a 2-3m, hardy species with relatively small, light green leaves and culms which initially are blueish later turning to olive green. The leafy culms tend to bend over and create a fountain shaped growth habitus. This plant can also be pruned to reduce height en take away overhanging culms. Fargesias denudata has no strong leaf fall in the autumn so that plant stays beautiful green throughout winter. There are multiple clones in circulation. By Roy Lancester two forms are introduced from Sichuan; Fargesia denudata 'Lancester 1’ and ‘Lancester 2’. There's been another import from Xian, distributed under the name "Xian 1" and "Xian 2 '. In the showgarden you can find a beautiful solitary plant of ‘Lancester 1’ and a plant of ‘Xian 1’ which grows more upright. For sale there might be plants of ‘Lancester 1’ available.
Fargesia robusta 'Wolong' is one of the biggest leaved Fargesia’s to use on preferably more sheltered places. "Wolong" doesn’t curl its leaves in winter and grows up to a respectable 3 - 4+ m high. On a sheltered spot maybe 5 meters and has relatively thick, shiny green culms with a prominent node ring. Convincing as a solitary specimen but also useful for a bamboo hedge in combination with regularly pruning. There are more and less overhanging clones in circulation (which might not even been true ‘Wolong’ types); we grow the true species. The showgarden has several individuals and a hedge planted with Fargesia robusta ‘Wolong'.
HIGH BAMBOO HEDGES 4-10 M
If you are looking for a bamboo hedge higher than 4 meters then choose a species from one of the following species groups: Bashania, Phyllostachys or Semiarundinaria. Bamboo species of these groups all grow on rhizomes, but if planted within bamboo root barrier, they also perform excellent as a dense hedge. Especially for higher hedges in colder regions we can choose the most hardy, fast growing bamboos. These species can ultimately reach a height between 5-8 meters, some species up to 10-12m. In our showgarden you can find high bamboo hedges as well as the same species used in pruned hedges of 2-3m. With annual pruning, one can also maintain narrow hedges of man's height. In our show garden you can find species of Phyllostachys which are thinned out so the individual culms become visible in the first 1.5 tot 2 m, creating extra ornamental value. This is obviously not desirable for a fully closed bamboo hedge. It that case no thinning is necessary. In alphabetical order we recommended the following species based on our experience. At the nursery more species are available:
Bashania qingshengshanensis is a large-leaved, compact growing, densely leaved, very strong evergreen bamboo. After severe frost it is one of the best species. Typically are the glossy large dark green leaves and hairy bracts and nodes. Bashina qingshengshanensis grows 3 to 5 m high. It can be pruned to a desired height. It is one of the first shooting species in spring with many new culms. It is a much stronger and more beautiful alternative to the commonly used Pseudosasa japonica. It is a relatively rare species, therefore available in small numbers. If you need many plants, please place your order early in the season so we have time to produce your plants.
Bashania fargesii in all parts larger and thus a very impressive plant. The straight, almost solid blue green culms are 3-5 cm in diameter with a respectable height of 5-8 meters. Comes out of severe winters as one of the best green bamboos. Roots grow 30 to 60 cm deep and thus requiring a higher bamboo root barrier. Limited stock. If you need many plants, please place your order early in the season so we have time to produce your plants.
Phyllostachys aureosulcata and its cultivars 'Aureocaulis' (Golden bamboo) and ‘Spectabilis' (Kimmei bamboo) respectively have a deep yellow and yellow-green striped culm. For free-growing hedges upto 5 to 8 meters Phyllostachys aureosulcata is an excellent choice. Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Aureocaulis' has a nice upright growth habit. Some culms have a distinctive zig-zag growth at the base and a small part of the new leaves have fine white or yellow lines. A species with a really beautiful color contrast between the deep ocher yellow culms and green leaves. The new shoots are lemon yellow. On the sunny side the new culms colors to wine red during summer. By many visitors this bamboo is regarded as one of the most beautiful. Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis' has a green vertical stripe on the flat side of the yellow culms. Young culms show in their first summer often reddish to purple coloration around the knots. Some leaves are covered with fine cream lines. Also this form is a spectacular eye-catcher. It can be a big boy with a height of 5-8 meter and culms with a diameter of 3 to 4 cm. By pruning the annual new shoots to a desired height one can create a compact hedge.
Phyllostachys aureosulcata has a green culm with yellow sulcus (vertical stripe on the stem).
Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Alata' is the completely green form without any extra coloring.
Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘Harbin-Inversa’ is a newer clone with a bright yellow culm with notable longitudinal ribs and very fine green lines around the culm. Most interesting as a solitary specimen. We also have the clone ‘Harbin’ in our showgarden, but is very difficult to propagate.
Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘Argus’ is a new beautiful irregularly green-yellow lined vital clone with high ornamental value as a solitary plant. Maybe the most beautiful cultivar of Phyllostachys aureosulcata?
Phyllostachys bissetii, named after the American plant-hunter, is a hit among the high bamboos regarding vigor, winter greenness and storm resistance. Phyllostachys bissetii has deep green to olive green culms with lush dark green foliage. An ideal plant to use as hedgerows, thickets and bushes. The leaves are slightly arched. The culm diameter is on average 2 to 3+ cm at a height of 5-8 meters. This bamboo produces a high density of new shoots each year. It's a good species for open colder areas and exposed plant locations. This bamboo can also be controlled by pruning to keep it lower and more compact.
Besides Phyllostachys bissetii there are many other green botanical species which can be interesting. For the average garden owner the visual differences are not that big between these green species. A few recommandable species:
Phyllostachys angusta has a sturdy, upright growth form and a bit bluish-green culms. Height 4-6m and has proven to be very hardy.
Phyllostachys humilis has deep dark green new shoots which color to brownish-green in time. Grows upto 4-6 m. Phyllostachys stimulosa looks like humilis but is smaller in al parts. Probably the smallest Phyllostachys is Phyllostachys varioauriculata. With a sturdy upright growth up to 2-4 m this might be an interesting unknown species with high potential for landscaping purposes.
Phyllostachys nuda has powdered green culms (3-4cm) with noticeable node rings. Grows up to 6-8m. In the U.S. observed as one of the most hardy species. There is an extensive bamboo grove of nuda at the nursery.
Phyllostachys decora can be recognized by its striped and colored new shoots. It is very hardy amd grows up to 5 - 7m
Phyllostachys rubromarginata has glossy erect green culms, tends to grow more compact and upright. Is able to reach a height of 6-8 meter.
Phyllostachys elegans is one of the most beautiful Phyllostachys species when it comes to culm color and habitus. It has relatively thick, upright culms with a blueish-green colour and pronounced rings. Grows up to 6-8m. A nice species for solitary use.
Phyllostachys nigra (black bamboo) is the much sought black culmed bamboo. Also called Japanese black bamboo. This species can grow over five meters high but remains in our north European climate generally lower, about 3 to 4 meters with a tendency to curve. South of Paris it shows more of its growth potential. This species can be pruned to the desired height. Young culms are green the first year, the second year spotted black and completely black from the third year. This plant has glossy green leaves. This species is moderately hardy to -14 / -16 ° C. Most of the times the plants recover after frost damage during the next growing season. This species is beautiful as a hedge on a very sheltered warm habitat, especially against a contrasting background. Due to the limited hardiness, however, the black bamboo is not the best choice as a hedge for each location. Other, more hardy species with dark to almost black culms are Fargesia nitida hydrid ‘Volcano’, ‘Black Pearl’ and ‘Winter Joy’
Phyllostachys nigra 'Henonis' is the green (botanical?) form and grows much larger in our climate (about 8m) and is also much more hardy. The clone with black spots on the culms is named Phyllostachys nigra 'Boryana', this plant is sensitive to severe frost and can become 5-7 meters high. The rare Phyllostachys nigra 'Megurochiku' has a green culm with a black sulcus (vertical stripe). All of these nigra forms can be found in our showgarden.
Phyllostachys vivax (giant timber bamboo). If a very high building needs to be screened for privacy than consider the use of giant bamboo species. Think of 7 to 10+ meters. It goes without saying that there must be sufficient room for growth in order to achieve these dimensions. Phyllostachys vivax is approximately 10 meters high. The variety Phyllostachys vivax 'Huanwenzhu' has dark green culms with striking yellow longitudinal stripe. The variety Phyllostachys vivax 'Aureocaulis' has completely yellow culms. Other high bamboos are Phyllostachys atrovaginata, Phyllostachys parvifolia and Phyllostachys sp.’Shanghai-2, 3 and 4’. In our showgarden you can walk in between these giants. More information about these species can be found in the menu under ‘bamboo grove’
Semiarundinaria viridis (Japanese temple bamboo) is characterized by fairly thick, stiff upright culms with short branches and rather large leaves. This creates a natural pillar shape. It makes this species suitable for high compact hedges. Its stylistic habit also fits well in modern garden design. Semiarundinaria viridis has deep green culms. This species can grow up to 4 to 7 meters high, is hardy and suitable for sun to partial shade. Even shade is reasonably tolerated. The decorative large sheets of the young culm shoots remain long on the culm until in the (following) summer. These culm sheets have a pearly sheen visible on the inside. Semiarundinaria is probably a natural hybrid between Phyllostachys and Pleioblastus and produces moderately rhizomes. Therefore, in gardens it is recommend to use a bamboo root barrier (HDPE 70 cm, available at our nursery).