Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Black Bamboo
Phyllostachys nigra 'Black Jade'

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Phyllostachys (fy-lo-STAK-iss) (Info)
Species: nigra (NY-gruh) (Info)
Cultivar: Black Jade

14 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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1 positive
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive kungfoochimp On Aug 7, 2011, kungfoochimp from Wailuku, HI (Zone 12a) wrote:

A very slow grower in comparison to the gracilis I have in another part of the yard. It's lovely black culms are striking, esp. with the brilliant green leaves. This spring I had a housesitter forget to water it for 3 weeks, which resulted in a significant foliage die off. Deep watering and application of time release fertilizer brought it back after a month of tlc. I haven't had the invasive spreading issues as others noted, but I constructed area for it with subsurface barriers to stop spreading behaviors.

Neutral SpaceCase418 On Mar 9, 2011, SpaceCase418 from Annapolis, MD wrote:

My mother carried this plant around in a large planter for years and then 15 years ago put it into the ground when we moved to maryland. It has become incredibly invasive. Today the bamboo stand is approximately 50'x40' and each year we have to fight the new shoots as they spring up every were sometimes 30' away from the stand. the average height is approximately 15-30' and the older shoots can be as wide as 4" in diameter. it seems to send out three large roots in a tripod formation to gain its stability. these roots run about 10' horizontally through the top 1' of soil and have nodes every 2"-6" where a new shoot can sprout. Be careful only to plant this where you want it to live forever, because that is how it will be unless you slash and burn your yard. i'm not even sure that will stop it.

Neutral lehua_mc On May 12, 2009, lehua_mc from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I'm revising my opinion of black bamboo over my time with it, given that even though it is known to spread, it doesn't spread like some other unnamed (white band around each node) types I have, and therefore looks benign in comparison. My stalks tend to be very slender, making a vary "dainty" but tall addition, a bad privacy barrier that is despondent in the rain.

Neutral berrygirl On Mar 23, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

This is for information purposes only:

New spring canes emerge bright green and steadily darken, first to a smoky gray, then to a pure ebony that just gleams. Meanwhile, the handsome 4- to 5-inch leaves remain dark green, for a wonderful two-tone effect. Because this Bamboo is evergreen, the show gets even better next spring when you've got your older black canes offsetting the new green ones!
This Black Bamboo is less invasive than others, but bear in mind that over time it WILL form a thick grove if not trimmed back. However, its slow rate of growth gives you plenty of time to do that trimming (and to use the ebony canes for all kinds of lovely accents and projects around the garden!). Black Bamboo reaches 18 feet tall and 7 feet wide after about 5 to 7 years. At maturity, it may stretch to 24 feet tall and 10 feet wide, with the oldest canes measuring 3 1/2 inches in diameter!
Really attractive in any setting, it is spectacular facing down yellow-leaved plants such as Hydrangea Little Honey, and Hosta Tatoo. Happiest in full sun in the northern part of its region, filtered shade farther south, Black Bamboo appreciates protection from strong winds. It is hardy to negative 4 degrees F, but being native to China and Taiwan, it finds the warm, humid summers of the south and midwest just like home! Space plants 5 to 7 feet apart for quicker coverage if using as a solid "wall" or garden line.
Botanical Name:
Phyllostachys nigra
Growing Zones:
Zones 6 - 9
Sun Exposure:
Part Shade
Soil Types/Tolerance:
Normal, loamy
Foliage Color:
Medium Green
Plant Habit:
Additional Features:
Special Resistance:
Heat Tolerant
Plant Width:
7 ft - 10 ft
Plant Height:
18 ft - 24 ft


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Orlando, Florida
Yulee, Florida
Wailuku, Hawaii
Greenwell Springs, Louisiana
Annapolis, Maryland
Severna Park, Maryland
Portland, Oregon
Wichita Falls, Texas
Palmyra, Virginia

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