Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Running Bamboo
Phyllostachys vivax

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Phyllostachys (fy-lo-STAK-iss) (Info)
Species: vivax (VY-vaks) (Info)

14 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

over 40 ft. (12 m)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
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)
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
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is monocarpic

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

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

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By palmbob
Thumbnail #1 of Phyllostachys vivax by palmbob

By palmbob
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By chicochi3
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By Happenstance
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By Happenstance
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By Kell
Thumbnail #6 of Phyllostachys vivax by Kell

By Kell
Thumbnail #7 of Phyllostachys vivax by Kell

There are a total of 39 photos.
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2 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive WUVIE On May 31, 2009, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

In 2009, a visit to a bamboo nursery (Bear Creek) in Eureka Springs confirmed we have indeed been growing Phyllostachys vivax. Initially, we dug the bamboo from a friend's grove in 2005 during weather that was too warm, dragged the roots home, chopped them into entirely too small of sections and plunked them into an area far less than satisfactory. Real amateurs.

Somehow, the bamboo survived, but we did not see any real activity for four years. Suddenly, shoots popped out of the ground and shot for the sky, in a matter of days. No kidding.

With a bit of reading, we came to understand that bamboo is busy making roots underground. After all, one cannot expect a chunk of root to have the energy to send up 30-35 foot tall shoots the first year. Keep in mind, it can reach well more than twice this height with the right conditions. It does take time to grow and store the energy to do such magnificent growing. Be patient, water and wait, it will happen.

If you don't like where it shoots up after a few years, simply mow the oddball shoots down or dig them up & give to a friend.

Our vivax grove is now five years old, and very well established. Spring of 2010, we have counted 35 new shoots as of May 3. Each day's measurement is even bigger than the last.

We are so happy to know that we have vivax, and hope to add even more. It makes a very impressive grove and we cannot wait until next year. Each year will bring an even better show!

Karen Marie

Neutral arthurb3 On May 20, 2009, arthurb3 from Raleigh, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I planted 5 along the rear of my property to create a bamboo woods blocking my view of my neighbor's yard but it has only grown about one cane per plant per year. I was expecting it to take off and give me a bamboo screening fast. Should I check the PH or fertilize it?

Negative chicochi3 On Jun 29, 2004, chicochi3 from Fayetteville, AR (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant has made every effort to take over my yard. It has been a real pain.

Positive palmbob On Aug 24, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

THis is one of the more attractive large running bamboos, with beautiful grey-sea-green culms, spaced nicely so you can walk among them. The culms are excellent for construction, too, being very straight and sturdy. It is a serious runner, so good, solid, deep rhizome barriers are needed.


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

Fayetteville, Arkansas (2 reports)
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Los Angeles, California
San Leandro, California
Santa Barbara, California
Chicago, Illinois
Coushatta, Louisiana
Raleigh, North Carolina
Claremore, Oklahoma
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Ashland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Seattle, Washington

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