January 25, 2009

No Running: Clumping Bamboo

I put my faith in the plant description and brought three Fargesia home from a plant nursery in spring 2007. I was on a mission to find deer-proof evergreens that would provide a bit of privacy screening while adding a nice leaf texture. The clumping bamboo has met all of my needs.

Fortunately, clumping bamboo is a well-mannered bamboo. There are no runners. The three plants have remained tightly clumped, with increase in size (width and height) that is similar to a miscanthus sinensis 'Cosmopolitan' (ornamental grass).

Fargesia is a cold hardy bamboo, suitable for zones 5-8a and full sun. Although the tags on my plants didn't have a name beyond "Fargesia" I believe that these are probably Fargesia rufa. The clump grows quickly into a fountain shape around 6 feet high. The broad base and fountain do require a bit of space, although I am growing perennials underneath the fountain shape.

The recent snow, as well as a few mornings of 8°F low temperatures, did not seem to have any adverse effects on the bamboo.

One bamboo is planted beside our bird feeder. The birds seem to delight in perching on the bouncing branches while they queue up for a turn at the bird feeder!

There is one other advantage to growing Fargesia rufa-- you can feed this bamboo to your pandas!

Photos and story by Freda Cameron
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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