What to grow Phyllostachys pubescens in?

Discussion in 'Poaceae' started by natureman, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. natureman

    natureman Active Member

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    What do I grow P. pubescens in, I want to try growing from seed indoor. Do I use sand? Would moist vermiculite be fine? (Never did anything in the Bamboo category before as you see). Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2007
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Lopped off culms of Bambusa vulgaris 'Vittata' stuck in tubs to take root and sprout branches are sometimes seen here, these will have largish leaves. I have also seen Phyllostachys aurea used as indoor specimens in a couple building entryways here. Such locations will have intermediate conditions, less difficult for the plants than ordinary building interiors. Otherwise the one I have seen making pleasing potted specimens inside was Chusquea coronalis. Very pretty, partly because of the smallness of its leaves - so it may not fit the bill.

    The Moso you are asking about specifically is the largest hardy bamboo, producing under suitable outdoor conditions marvelous towering thick fuzzy culms with horizontal tiers of contrasting tiny leaves which may make the stems look even bigger. Not the kind of thing for a potted specimen indoors, although with greenhouse-like conditions it should be possible to grown young specimens for some years. Seedlings also produce larger leaves during their developing years - presumably an adaptation to starting out in the shade of the forest and then gradually growing up into full light, at which time dinky leaves work better.

    Search internet for "bamboo propagation", maybe "bamboo seed culture" etc. for discussion of details involved with that (in addition to what someone may say here).
     
  3. natureman

    natureman Active Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions Ron B. But, if I were to plant it indoors/potted, what type of soil would be suitable?
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I grow one of the smaller varieties of Bambusa multiplex which also has small leaves - don't know exactly which one. It seems to be able to adapt to various light levels and size can be controlled by a combination of container size and limited application of fertilizer. It does well in regular indoor potting soil.
     
  5. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    Hi Natureman, finally a question I can answer! :)


    I live in the Courtenay area on Vancouver Island, we have a small acreage here and I'm trying to get a bit of a bamboo jungle going. We live in a low area and have dug many drainage ditches around our back property which has created quite a few islands so containment isn't an issue.

    I've been growing several varities from seed, probably from the same source you got them from. After much trial and error here is what I found works best for any variety and in particular the Moso you are growing:

    Use peat pot disks and those little mini green houses.

    Sterility is very important:

    First off boil some water and let it cool, check it with a thermometer, when it reaches 85F pour it into a clean freshly washed container like a glass or pyrex measuring cup. Drop in the seeds and shake it around a bit to get them nice and wet, cover it with saran wrap and let them soak for a full 24 hours in a nice warm place in your house but no hotter than 85f. This greatly speeds up the time to sprout.

    After 24 hours, boil some more water, when it cools mix in some No Damp as per instructions on the bottle (available at any garden place and crucially required or you will get a bunch of unhealthy dead bamboos in short order DO NOT SKIP THIS, get 2 bottles of No Damp, there isn't much in the bottle and it goes fast) and hydrate the peat pot disks just enough for them to fully expand, no more.

    The plant will grow out of the fat end of the seed both the root and the shoot so the easiest thing to do is just poke them down into the center of the peat pot pointy end down just below surface level, then scrape a bit more cover on to them, but no more than a quarter inch or less. I basically barely cover them at all, sometimes you can still see some of the seed sticking out after a couple of waterings but others are buried up to a quarter inch, same results in both cases..

    Put them in the mini greenhouses with the plastic lid (also available cheaply at the garden shop, get extra ones they are handy) and put them in the warmest place in your house under 85f. The warmer it is, the faster they will sprout. Mine usually are fully sprouted in 2-3 weeks tops.

    As soon as they sprout they will need light of some kind. I've bought some blue/red LED grow lights off Ebay that work very well, but you can get those flourescent grow tubes at nurseries and other stores, they are good in the winter to tide them over. If you grow them in the summer do not let full sunlight shine into the mini greenhouse, it will kill them from the heat very quickly.

    Once they reach lid height they have to come out of the mini greenhouse. Don't let the leaves touch the lid. By then they will have a root shooting out of the bottom of the peat pot and will need to be transplanted into pots.

    I use the "Sea soil" potting soil but any potting soil I think will be fine as long as it drains properly. Again if you don't want to lose them at this tender stage you must do the first watering with more No Damp and again any time you see white fungus growing on the soil.

    This seems to be a major problem with bamboo seeds, perhaps they come with the fungus already inhabiting the seeds but if you aren't careful the fungus will eat through the stem at soil level and they will fall over and become very sickly and die (although I have a couple that nearly died that way that went on to put up a new shoot and seem to be surviving so far). Plus you will have a lot of fungus gnats flying around which is annoying indoors to say the least. :)

    After that, you're on your own :) that's where my experience stops; I have about a hundred seedlings growing in my office at home on racks for planting this spring. I'm plannning on starting about a hundred more in a month for staggered planting from March onwards so that the rabbits and weather won't get them all hopefully.

    Ones I've had great success with are:

    Hymalayacalamus Falconeri (Candy Cane) hardy to -6.6c clumping variety 90% germination rate.

    Bambusa Ventricosa (Buddha Belly) hardy to -7.7c clumping 99% germination rate

    Phyllostachys Pubescens (Moso) hardy to -17c running 80% germination rate

    Chimonobambusa Yunanensis Black running bamboo cold hardy -15c 85% germination rate

    Two varieties I tried to grow twice and had horrible results with:
    Bambusa Textilis (Weavers bamboo, Blue bamboo) 1 sprouted out of 50 seeds planted
    Chimonobambusa Tumidissinoda (Walking stick) zero sprouted out of 20 sees planted

    I think the seeds are bad for those two at the online source I got them from.

    Of course bamboo grown from seeds isn't going to necessarily be text book identical to the many cloned varities out there, something "experts" on the internet have been very critical of in my early reasearch, but that's exactly what I think makes it so much more interesting, plus you know they likely won't go to seed again in your lifetime, unlike the cloned varieties.

    Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know.
     
  6. natureman

    natureman Active Member

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    Wow, thanks a lot JCardina!
     

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