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PlantFiles: Black Bamboo
Phyllostachys nigra

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

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

38 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

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)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:


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

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

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

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By dovey
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By johndrum1
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By dovey
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There are a total of 22 photos.
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10 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive thequietearth On Jul 2, 2014, thequietearth from Hemby Bridge, NC wrote:

I've been growing this bamboo for 20 years now. It is a good grower but does not take over like some bamboos . It probably puts out about
10% of its size in new growth per year. My grove is about 60' x 25' in
20 years in zone 8a. Easy to control just break off unwanted shoots as they emerge in spring and the never come back.

Neutral jazzy1okc On Mar 13, 2011, jazzy1okc from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

I did my homework on this plant before buying it because I specifically wanted a clumping black bamboo. While the tag on this plant said it was a clumper, it has a tendency to spread if allowed to do so. However, if one watches closely, and uses a couple of techniques to manage the clump, they can be restrained. I've been stomping 3-6 inch tall culms for the past three years as well as trimming back the canes on the outskirts to shape the display. Both techniques are working quite well.

Positive kTalia On Mar 18, 2009, kTalia from Littleton, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:

I started this plant in the fall of 2007 after getting a great deal at the fall clearance sells (75% off Whoot!). Anyway, I was very skeptical about its survival in Z5a but I fell in love with it and wanted to give it a shot. I placed it in a retaining wall bed outside my living room window for a nice view. The leaves and canes actually stayed green all that winter, but it was a pretty mild winter. The following spring I only got about 3-4 new small canes. Then this last winter was very dry and very cold. It was below 10F for more than 2 weeks at one point and I was sure it had choked as all the canes died back and lost their leaves. However, after several weeks of nice warm weather and a good soaking, I found at least 6 new shoots starting. Oh, and I found 3 roots that had surfaced and gone back down... I think it's trying to find an exit... Hehe

I'm happy that it seems to have survived the worst that Colorado has to offer, but I have yet to see if it will actually "thrive" under these conditions. It certainly breaks my Xeriscape mindedness as it seems to ravenously consume all the moisture from the soil. Fortunately it's close to the outdoor spicket so I compensate by setting the hose next to it to drain after each use.

Neutral blkhand On Jan 14, 2009, blkhand from Prospect, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have grown this plant for over 11 years in Louisville Ky. Many Phyllostachys are very undemanding and can be a great accent plants. However... the runners of Nigra plants can travel under the surface for up to eight feet before coming up with multiple large canes. I love these plants, but barriers are a good idea. Pruning does dull felco pruners fairly quickly (not unlike to boxwood and dogwood trees).
Great container plants!

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Aug 19, 2007, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Interesting bamboo with shoots that start out green, then age to a nice, dark ebony black with age. It is a runner (not a clumper) but hasn't been a problem in my garden. The shoots that volunteered about six feet from the original plant in a more shady location are actually taller and seem healthier than those that are growing in mostly sun where I situated the parent plant. This bamboo seems to be one that is sought after (costing as much as $150 from some catalogs!), but the volunteer plants from runners are generally easy to dig and pot up for trade or sell.


Positive MitchF On Nov 12, 2005, MitchF from Lindsay, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

good grower here

Positive aviator8188 On Jul 17, 2004, aviator8188 from Murphysboro, IL (Zone 7a) wrote:

Spreads like a California wildfire here in extreme southern Illinois(USDA zone 7a). There are many area's throughout this region, where Phyllostchys nigra can be seen. The bamboo of course remains green year around! Also adds a tropical look to any home or business.

Positive Ferdinand On Jun 22, 2004, Ferdinand from peterborough
United Kingdom wrote:

Growing Black Bamboo also in a pot in the UK, I have been feeding phostrogen weekly and have seen lately curns from nothing to 8 feet in 6 weeks, and not a big pot iether! Should I continue to feed or let it take a breather.

Positive keithar On Jun 20, 2004, keithar from Leighton Buzzard
United Kingdom wrote:

Good plant for pots and seems to tolerate growing in an area with more shade than sun . Growing in a pot means more care must be taken to avoid the plant drying out , however living in England ( UK) its not always a big concern ! No real experience of very cold weather so haven't tested hardiness .
Great plant to view .

Neutral CaptMicha On Jun 18, 2004, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I don't know much about it but I know it grows in zone 7 Maryland and Washington D.C.

The National Zoo in DC has this bamboo growing in sections all over the grounds, particularily close to the Giant Panda exhibit. It's very attractive and lends the area an lush exotic look.

I've also observed plantings of black bamboo growing at the side of the road alongside the woodsline and in ditches in my hometown. They come back every year and look great and don't seem to be invasive here because they only fill out the area in which they grow and don't spread.

Positive henryr10 On Apr 15, 2004, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

A lovely plant and a good addition to any garden.
I have a little problem w/ the zone restrictions though.

I'm in Zone 6, have had it out for two Winters now and it's doing fine.
Some winter die-back for sure but still thriving.
June 2009

We're 7 years in now w/ this lovely plant.
No winter protection.
There is a large stand of 'Yellow Groove' to it's west side and a solid barrier wood fence on the north and east.
We did get some breakage during a massive wind storm.
Digging up some now to containerize for the patio.
Heights about 18'. Cane max size 1.25" at the base.

Positive palmbob On Mar 27, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I will repeat that note about not liking the wind... our culms would start growing laterally if the wind came up before a green culm started to turn black (once black they seem to have more stability- better root stock?). Once the culm got larger, this was less of a problem. Great bamboo for pots, too, by the way. Without a rhizome barrier, sometimes this would end up 15' or more from the clump... fortunately at edge of yard and neighbor likes the plant. This is one of the more agressive running bamboos, though its smaller diameter makes the shoots easier to stomp down and keep under control... but it is definitely a risky and very invasive species.

Positive dovey On Oct 20, 2002, dovey from Columbus, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Beautiful, unique and easy to grow.
Likes good drainage, Water well, (every other day, daily in hotter zones) and mulch heavily. Let it dry out a little bit between watering.
Mulch and compost every year.
It does not like wind, we transplanted a very tall patch of it and had to stake it securely for a couple of months until it settled in.


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

Phenix City, Alabama
Carlotta, California
Fullerton, California
Granite Bay, California
San Francisco, California
San Leandro, California
Santa Barbara, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Torrance, California
Venice, California
Littleton, Colorado
Brooksville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Marietta, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Murphysboro, Illinois
Prospect, Kentucky
Brookeville, Maryland
Salem, Massachusetts
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Fuquay Varina, North Carolina
Indian Trail, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Lawton, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Portland, Oregon
Tangent, Oregon
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Monessen, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Conway, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Swansea, South Carolina
Collinwood, Tennessee
Sweetwater, Tennessee
Aransas Pass, Texas
Austin, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Houston, Texas
La Vernia, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Spring, Texas
Glen Allen, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Langley, Washington
Seattle, Washington
White Center, Washington

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