Dwarf Bamboo - Care, Cutting & Varieties

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The dwarf bamboo is a small variant of bamboo, which is offered in several varieties. Dwarf bamboo comes from Japan and is winter-resistant up to temperatures between -15° C and - 20° C. It is suitable both for planting in the garden and as a container plant. As a container plant, however, he does not tolerate so much frost.
Care of the dwarf bamboo
All varieties of the dwarf-bamboo are robust, easy-care plants. However, they are quite aggressive. For free-range planting this means that a rhizome barrier (root barrier against subterranean root shoots) is needed. When planting in tub, the tub must be large enough so that it is not blown up. Therefore, when repotting the new pot should be twice as large as the old one.
The dwarf bamboo thrives in every soil, as long as it is not too compacted and does not tend to waterlogged. All dwarf bamboo varieties can be in partial shade, some in the sun or in the shade.
The best time to plant the dwarf bamboo in the field is from August to October, because at this time the rhizome growth is strongest and thus the plant quickly rooted in the soil. The planting hole should be as deep as the pot was high. Before planting the root ball is placed in water until no more bubbles are visible. After planting to rooting must be watered regularly.
Fertilization and watering
Dwarf bamboo must be fertilized regularly, as it has a fairly high nutrient requirement. This can be done either with a slow-release fertilizer or with a special bamboo fertilizer. Dwarf bamboo needs to be moderately watered only when dry.
Dwarf bamboo should be cut in the spring, before expelling. He also tolerates a strong pruning. Individual stalks can be cut out at any time. If individual culms are cut out, this leads to a stronger branching of the plant.
Blossom of the dwarf bambooAll bamboo species only bloom every 12 to 120 years, depending on the species. The flowering takes then two to three years, with the main flowering takes place within a year. After flowering and fruiting, the bamboo plant dies.
Varieties of dwarf bamboo
- Pleioblastus fortunei
This is a bushy dwarf bamboo with green and white striped leaves. It grows 40 - 80 cm tall and likes all locations from sunny, over to shady to shady.
- Pleioblastus pumilus
Pleioblastus pumilus is a fast growing dwarf bamboo with rich, dark green leaves and a green stalk that turns reddish in the sun and olive green in old age. It is well suited as a groundcover and for greening large areas or for fixing slopes. He is 40 - 80 cm high and loves a sheltered sunny to partially shaded location.
- Pleioblastus pygmaeus
This dwarf bamboo variety is planted in Japan as a lawn replacement. Pleioblastus pygmaeus grows only 10 to 30 cm tall and has petite leaves. If cut annually it spreads quickly as a dense ground cover.
- Pleioblastus distichus:
This is a very dense dwarf bamboo variety with small, green leaves sitting on thin, green stalks. Pleioblastus distichus becomes 40 to 60 cm high.
- Pleioblastus viridistriatus
Since this dwarf bamboo variety comes from northern Japan, it can withstand temperatures down to -24° C. Pleioblastus viridistriatus has leafless, bright green-and-white striped leaves and grows up to 80 cm in size. He needs a partially shaded location and enough water.
- Pleioblastus viridistriatus vagans
This fast-growing dwarf bamboo variety also comes from northern Japan and is extremely frost-resistant.
Pleioblastus viridistriatus vagans can also be planted in sunny locations.
- Sasaella masamuneana
Sasaella masamuneana is a dense and bushy dwarf bamboo that grows to 50 - 100 cm in height. He has leaves with white or yellowish stripes on rich green stalks. The drawing of the leaves is the clearer the brighter the location is. This variety is suitable for shape cuts.
- Shibataea kumasara
This is a 60 - 100 cm tall dwarf-bamboo with short, broad, slightly rounded dark-green leaves. He tolerates all locations from sunny to shady.
Tips for the dwarf bamboo
The dwarf bamboo is an evergreen, lawn-like growing ground cover. It is well suited for fixing free slopes or covering unsightly beds or stains in the garden. He spreads quickly. If you do not want that, you must bring in a root barrier that prevents the plant from sending its rhizomes in any direction. Two-colored plants look especially nice (Pleioblastus fortunei).
The dwarf bamboo likes a sunny to half shady spot and fresh to dry soil. Generally it does simple garden soil. Ideal is a sheltered place. In winter, the leaves need protection from strong sunlight, otherwise they burn.The bamboo sometimes needs some water, especially during prolonged drought. It is fertilized once a year with a slow-release fertilizer.
You only need two to three plants per square meter. The planting distance should be 50 cm. Careful, dwarf bamboo spreads quickly and uncontrollably. Even a rhizome barrier does not always restrain him. He wanders over and breaks out again and again. Ideal is the dwarf bamboo as a container plant. Since he has a good handle. However, he tolerates winter temperatures only to minus five degrees.
In general, it can happen that the leaves freeze in winter. That is not a problem. You cut back the plant and it drives out willingly again. A pruning leads to lawn-shaped growth.

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