Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Mexican Weeping Bamboo
Otatea acuminata subsp. aztecorum

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Otatea (oh-ta-TAY-a) (Info)
Species: acuminata subsp. aztecorum

11 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)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

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)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By golddog
Thumbnail #1 of Otatea acuminata subsp. aztecorum by golddog

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By palmbob
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Thumbnail #7 of Otatea acuminata subsp. aztecorum by RWhiz

There are a total of 14 photos.
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5 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive eillib On Apr 14, 2013, eillib from Woodbine
United States wrote:

Loved having this bamboo. It served as a nice barrier between our kitchen eating area and the street. Would love to be able to put it in our yard in Maryland, but it appears that the winters are too cold for it.

We purchased a house in Long Beach, CA in 1975 where the Mexican Weeping Bamboo was already established. The previous owner had taken a root cutting from the plant at The Huntington - before it had been released to nurseries to sell - and planted it in the yard. I just recently learned the proper name - he called it feather grass.

One thing I have never seen in print, is that the plant dies out world wide and reseeds itself periodically. I am not sure of how long a period it is, but it did do so around 1990. (in 1975 it was a large mature clump. We did not live in the house in the 80's (spouse's work kept up moving around) so not sure if it re-seeded during that time frame. We came back in 1990 to find it had died out and was just coming back. (The previous owner came by in the time period and confirmed that it had died out world-wide.) It did not re-seed from 1990 to 2012. I have never gotten to see any flowers.

We have had some trouble propagating the plant, perhaps because of all the shade in our yard. We sold the house a year ago, and moved to Maryland; along with two specimens of the plant in pots. I have nursed them along through the winter in my sunroom and discovered that the roots do not like to be deeply buried pots - need to be near the surface. In the ground in CA, the roots stayed just below the surface of the soil. It also likes to dry out between waterings; but too dry, the leaves curl and the plant droops.

Positive zone10 On May 8, 2008, zone10 from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

This plant is truly an easy care plant and adds so much movement to my garden. I recommend finding a breezy and backlit location for a beautiful affect. For clay gardeners, there's hope. I had the ideal place to plant this bamboo; ideal that is, for me and not my plant, as it was a bed of clay. I dug a 12" wide and deep hole, placed the bamboo in amended soil and kept my fingers crossed. That was 7 years ago and it is doing fine.

Positive rplingaltx On Jul 2, 2007, rplingaltx from Galveston, TX wrote:

I planted my Mexican Weeper about 3 years ago and true to bamboo form this is the year it is LEAPING! Yay! This bamboo has proven itself to be very hardy here in Galveston. Although during the winter it looks a bit messy, it is so pretty the rest of the year I can overlook the messiness. I have not yet found it to be invasive. So far this year, 3 new culms have emerged. The tallest one being about 16 feet. Planted on the north side of my house and with NO protection during the winters and it is doing well.

Positive SudieGoodman On Feb 10, 2007, SudieGoodman from Broaddus, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Zone 8b, Southeast, TX

I need a fast-growing, thick bamboo to block ugly view and strong, unpleasent odor.
I see it is hardy only 9 + My temps drop to 19 or 20 degs. in Jan/Feb. Will it survive?
Your suggestions are greatly needed and appreciated.
This bamboo is expensive and I don't want to make a mistake.

Thanks, Bob

Positive palmbob On Feb 3, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of my favorite species of bamboo. IT is drought tolerant, easy to grow, fast, nice looking (lacy, droopy effect) and not a runner. However, even though it's not a runner, but a clumper, it is one of the more invasive clumpers and can spread several feet in each direction yearly. I have not had much problem keeping the new growths kicked back (just kick them as they come out of the ground), but it did grow into a neighbor's yard. Makes a nice shade for understory plants, but I'd still recommend puttin a rhizome barrier around it to protect those plants from imminent invasion. Is a bit messy as are most bamboo. Not as prone to mealy bug and scale as Bambusa species are.


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

Tucson, Arizona
Brentwood, California
Encinitas, California
Fallbrook, California
Granite Bay, California
Ojai, California
Rosedale, California
San Diego, California
San Jose, California
San Marino, California
Santa Barbara, California
Santa Cruz, California
Sierra Madre, California
Spring Valley, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Venice, California
Miami, Florida
Tampa, Florida (2 reports)
Ainaloa, Hawaii
Mountain View, Hawaii
Austin, Texas
Baytown, Texas
Broaddus, Texas
Galveston, Texas

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