Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Giant Timber Bamboo, Oldham's Bamboo
Bambusa oldhamii

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Bambusa (bam-BOO-suh) (Info)
Species: oldhamii (old-HAM-ee-eye) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

30 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

over 40 ft. (12 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

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

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is monocarpic

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:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From woody stem cuttings
By air layering

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Happenstance
Thumbnail #1 of Bambusa oldhamii by Happenstance

By Happenstance
Thumbnail #2 of Bambusa oldhamii by Happenstance

By Happenstance
Thumbnail #3 of Bambusa oldhamii by Happenstance

By palmbob
Thumbnail #4 of Bambusa oldhamii by palmbob

By palmbob
Thumbnail #5 of Bambusa oldhamii by palmbob

By RoyRogers
Thumbnail #6 of Bambusa oldhamii by RoyRogers

By deehrler
Thumbnail #7 of Bambusa oldhamii by deehrler

There are a total of 27 photos.
Click here to view them all!


6 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive barnpainter On Jun 1, 2013, barnpainter from East Berlin, PA wrote:

Planted in spring of 2009 and didn't see any culms until this year (2013). Initially thought proximity to black walnut (Juglans nigra) was interfering with development over the past four years, but within four weeks of visible shoots, the three culms have reached 14 feet and continue to thrive. Southern central Pennsylvania with winter lows below 20f and highs reaching 100 annually.

Neutral victorengel On Mar 18, 2010, victorengel from Austin, TX wrote:

Still establishing this plant. I planted it in late spring of 2008. It didn't shoot at all that year. In 2009, it produced a good number of healthy culms. Last winter, though (2009-2010) we had a lot of really cold weather. It bottomed out at 15 degrees at my house. One of the culms has started to leaf out, but I think the rest of them may have been damaged down to the ground.

Positive bamboodave2 On Aug 9, 2008, bamboodave2 from San Anselmo, CA wrote:

Oldhamii great plant ,mine is now 9 ft. dia. in 07 due to lack of water and cold temps lost 3/4 of the culms it had also it got some kind of #$%&^ . I think it came from organic chicken and rice I used to get. It started to get black spots from bottom up then the culm died.This year early I sprayed sulfer / lime on ground before big rains. it is recovering .Biggest culm was 3 3/4 in. had 5 down to 2 at 10 ft. make sure during summer you water deeply at least weekly(deeply=200-300 gals. )I use a 1100 gal. tank that uses the back flushing from pool. (check the water before water. ferilizers mine takes at 9 ft.dia. take about 2 lbs. 27-10-10 per month from april till july in Oct. I go back to 5-20-20 it keeps the salts up so it can take frost. Mine has gone to 15 degrees that was in 07 ,that was a 3 week period from 10:00pm till sun up.

Positive JaxFlaGardener On May 22, 2007, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant can be seen growing at the Jacksonville Florida Zoo & Gardens in the "Range of the Jaguar" exhibit. It is one of the most dramatic and impressive plants I've ever seen. I am amazed it is hardy in our zone 8b/9a climate as it would seem to be totally tropical.


Positive deehrler On Jun 13, 2004, deehrler from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

I needed a plant that would add something to a otherwise awful view of a 18' concrete retaining wall built into a hillside. From a 24" pot and not much more in depth where it was planted, the soil level had to be raised a foot even to give it a chance. In partial sun (actually 90% shade in the winter) it did hardly anything. I worried if it was going to perform.

I noticed some above ground activity about a month ago and knew something was going on. This week, I noticed my first new culm at about 5" in height! Four days later it is growing over 1" per day and accelerating. The base is already larger than a silver dollar and widening.

Update: 11/29/04
The first 3 cums topped at 20 feet and continue to spread out. Now an additional 2 culms are growing upward with a girth of double the first three.

It looks pretty clear that this plant will grow well even in the shade as long as it can sense sunshine above.

Update 07/21/05
7 new culms in the last month alone! They keep getting bigger! I might have to move my house!

Actually this is the most remarkable plant I have ever dealt with. I love it. But for the novices I recommend containment. It definately rules.

Trim it to your height, if not it is a collosal weed. If you do it is magic,

Positive pburch On Jan 25, 2004, pburch from Houston, TX wrote:

Growing well in Houston, Texas. New culms have appeared three or four times in the year since I planted it, the latest being thirty feet high. Highly gratifying.

Positive Happenstance On Aug 28, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Instant tropics! Clumping non-invasive bamboo, good focal point, 20' tall in 3 years. New culms appear Aug/Sept each year, growing 3-4' a week. Some canes may not mature beyond 6" tall, if temps cool too quickly in the fall. Prone to wind damage if canes have not had several months to stiffen up and become strong.

Semi deciduous in 9b, but comes back stronger each year. Wonderful rustling in the wind, gives an architectural look if trimmed up about 5-6'.

See the images I've uploaded to appreciate the fast growth of this bamboo.


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

Woodville, Alabama
Brentwood, California
Clayton, California
Encino, California
Fairfield, California
Granite Bay, California
Lake Nacimiento, California
Los Angeles, California
Palm Springs, California
San Anselmo, California
Santa Barbara, California
Upland, California
Deland, Florida
Edgewater, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Loxahatchee, Florida
Mims, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Decatur, Georgia
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Las Vegas, Nevada
East Berlin, Pennsylvania
Alvin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Cedar Park, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Houston, Texas
San Antonio, Texas

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