Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld
Ornamental Bamboo in Queensland
By now, most prospective growers of ornamental bamboo in Queensland should know that clumping species (not the rampant running types) are the types to look for. Choosing a suitable species before planting is preferable to having to try to kill a bamboo monster after it's started invading the neighbourhood.
However, clumping species can nevertheless reach considerable heights and widths, so anyone thinking about planting a bamboo should do some research to be sure they have selected a variety suitable for the intended position.
Bamboo popularity raises concern
The increasing popularity of bamboo for landscaping could have an unexpected consequence The phenomenon of bamboo mass flowering (also known as masting) leads to massive seed production, which can go on for 18 months. Consequently, booms in rodent populations have been observed in Asia and South America associated with these events. Now, there is a concern that widespread landscape planting of bamboo in North America could lead to population booms of deer mice which can carry a potentially fatal human disease. Recommendations include eradication of aggressive running bamboos on public land and evaluation of varieties' flowering abilities and seed palatability before import. Source: WSU ecologist warns of bamboo fueling spread of hantavirus (May, 2015)Older news at bottom of page.
Where to buy bamboo plants
Some bamboos are now finding their way into regular garden centres, but if you require a greater selection, or hard-to-find species, you'll need to locate a specialist bamboo nursery. A specialist will also be able to give you advice on varieties, how to grow them, etc.
Looking for bamboo garden accessories (screening products, huts etc)? Go to the Balinese Gardening Page.
The following advertisers may include online suppliers. For the most up-to-date information on plants in stock, opening hours, prices etc, be sure to visit the seller's website or contact the business directly.
Where to view Bamboos
What a plant looks like in a nursery pot will give little indication of its ultimate size. You can research bamboo characteristics in books and websites (some useful links have been provided below). However, it's also helpful to view a mature specimen of any plant to fully appreciate its possible dimensions and general appearence.
A good place to go in Brisbane is the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha. There's a bamboo area (opposite the Japanese garden) which contains many species. You'll get some idea of how large even clumping species can grow.
If anyone knows of other public gardens in Queensland containing a good selection of labelled bamboos, please get in touch (details at bottom of page). Owners of private gardens speciallising in bamboos may also wish to get in touch if they sometimes open to the public (e.g. under AOGS).
Getting rid of bamboo
The following links contain tips that victims of bamboo invasion may find useful:
Growing bamboos in the home garden Department of Agriculture Western Australia (PDF)
Controlling Bamboo American Bamboo Society
Don't Get Bamboozled! Montgomery County, Maryland (PDF)
Bamboo, Tough to Eradicate Alabama Cooperative Extension System
If you're just looking for something to evoke a tropical/Asian atmosphere, you might also consider alternative plants like large ornamental grasses or multi-stemmed palms that have a bamboo-like appearance.
More Online Information
The following links are for general information - some species or cultivars may be unavailable in Australia. When selecting bamboo, be certain the variety is appropriate for your situation!
Sorting the Names of Bamboos Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database, University of Melbourne.
Clumping Bamboo in Australia A well-illustrated blog documenting experiences growing bamboo on the Sunshine Coast, Qld.
Growing bamboos in the home garden Department of Agriculture, Western Australia (PDF)
Bamboo Research Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines
Bamboo goes formal The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Tropical Bamboo The Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society
Bamboo for forest and garden University of Hawaii at Manoa (PDF)
Texas Bamboo Society Chapter of the American Bamboo Society
A Walking Tour of the Bamboo in the Taniguchi Oriental Garden at Zilker Botanical Gardens, Austin, TX - Some interesting notes on several bamboo species and their performance in this Texas, USA garden
Bamboo Geek Blog
Beautiful Bamboo Lots of bamboo-related info and opictures at this Florida blog
Bamboo Photo gallery of Michael Christoffel, Wisconsin, USA. Includes some interesting pictures of bamboo seeds and seedlings, plus some closeups of leaves
The World of Bamboo (English edition) This Japanese site provides links to huge range of Japanaese and other non-english language sites which would be otherwise difficult for the English speaker to discover. The serious enthusiast will find plenty to explore here.
Robert H. March and Lynn G. Clark (2011) Sun-shade variation in bamboo (Poaceae: Bambusoideae) leaves Telopea (Journal of plant systematics)(PDF)
bambus.de Most of the site in German but has some interesting photos. Be sure to check "Infos"
Bambumex.org Bambúes de México (Bamboos of Mexico - In Spanish)
National Bamboo Mission "To promote all aspects of bamboo interest in India"
World Bamboo Organization promoting use of bamboo as a sustainable resource
Bamboos in Agroforestry from The Overstory, an agroforestry ejournal
Farm and Forestry Production and Marketing Profile for Bamboo (various species) Specialty Crops for Pacific Island Agroforestry
Bamboo of the Americas dedicated to preserving bamboo species native to North and South America
Notes on the propagation of the sympodial or clump type of bamboos Reproduction of a 1948 article, Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society (PDF)
Propagating tropical bamboo species from culm sections and lateral shoots Reproduction of a 1972 article, Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society (PDF)
Bamboo propagation in Timor-Leste Picture gallery and notes. Part of an agroforestry project
Single-Node Bamboo Cuttings Food & Fertilizer Technology Center for the Asian and Pacific region
Some Popular species
Common name: Java Black
Gigantochloa atroviolacea Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society
Analysis of Economy on Black Bamboo Cultivation (Gigantochloa atroviolacea Widjaja) for Feedstocks and Enivironmental Sustainability Powerpoint presentation on commercial production for timber. Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia
Common name: Timor Black
Timor Black Bamboo (Bambusa lako) At "Grow Me Instead" (an Australian website informing gardeners about safer alternatives to invasive ornamentals)
Bambusa lako at the The Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society website
Bambusa lako Timor Black Bamboo. Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Bambusa Lako at Bamboo Society of Australia website
Timor Black Bamboo at Herself's Houston Garden (Blog)
Bambusa oldhamii Oldham's Bamboo. Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Giant Timber Bamboo Bambusa oldhamii Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute, California
Bambusa oldhamii University of Arizona Campus Arboretum
Bamboo: Giant Timber, Clumping Giant, or Oldham Bamboo Bambusa oldhamii. San Diego Zoo
Common names: Buddha's Belly Bamboo
Buddha's Belly Bamboo (Bambusa ventricosa) At "Grow Me Instead" (an Australian website informing gardeners about safer alternatives to invasive ornamentals)
Bambusa vulgaris 'Wamin'
Common names: Wamin, Giant* Buddha's Belly (*I have also seen it described as Dwarf Buddha Belly. Furthermore, there's another species also called Buddha's Belly, so be sure to confirm the scientific name and variety to make sure you have the correct plant)
Bambusa vulgaris 'wamin' at the The Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society website
Bambusa vulgaris 'Wamin' Wamin Bamboo, Dwarf Budda Belly. Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Bambusa vulgaris 'wamin' Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society
Bambusa textilis var. gracilis
Common names: Slender Weavers Bamboo
Bambusa textilis var. gracilis Slender Weavers Bamboo. Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Bambusa textilis 'Gracilis' The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Bambusa textilis Gracilis Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society
Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonse Karr' Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society
Bambusa multiplex 'Golden Goddess' Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society
Dendrocalamus minor var. amoenus
Common names: Ghost Bamboo, White Bamboo, Angel Mist Bamboo
Dendrocalamus minor amoenus at the The Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society website
Angel Mist Bamboo Dendrocalamus minor forma amoenus Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Ghost Bamboo – Dendrocalamus minor var. Amoenus Clumping Bamboo in Australia (Blog)
Common names: The cultivar with yellow culms is known as Bali Kuning or Sacred Bali Bamboo. Other cultivars vary in culm and leaf coloration.
Schizostachyum brachycladum at Bamboo Society of Australia website
S.brachycladum (yellow form) at the The Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society website
Schizostachyum brachycladum (yellow form) Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society
Bambusa chungiiTropical Blue Bamboo, White Powdery Bamboo. Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Bambusa chungii Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society
Himalayan Bamboo (Drepanostachyum falcatum) The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Most bamboos come from Asia or South America. Recent work on two African species has placed them in two new genera. Further work is required to determine exactly where they stand in the evolutionary family tree of bamboos. Source: Out of Africa? New bamboo genera, mountain gorillas, and the origins of China's bamboos (August 2013)