Giant Gray Bamboo, Ghost Bamboo, Bullet Proof Bamboo 'Henon'

Phyllostachys nigra

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Phyllostachys (fy-lo-STAK-iss) (Info)
Species: nigra (NY-gruh) (Info)
Cultivar: Henon
Synonym:Phyllostachys nigra var. henonis


Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 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



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us



Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

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

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Vista, California

Loxahatchee, Florida

Chicago, Illinois

Plainfield, Illinois

Prospect, Kentucky

Coushatta, Louisiana

Hulbert, Oklahoma

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 21, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is one of the few hardiest timber bamboos. In some climates, mature stands may produce stems (culms) as tall as 50' with 4" diameter, having timber value.

It's distinguished from other forms of the species by a gray film covering the stems (culms) which peels off after harvesting as the poles cure. The foliage is deep green.

This is a running bamboo. In most garden/landscape circumstances, the roots need to be confined by a deep root barrier 30" deep in order to control its rapid spread.

Mature plants may possibly be hardy to Z6a.

Most commercial sources list this as a cultivar. The RHS lists it as P. nigra f. henonis, and has given it its coveted Award of Garden Merit.

Like most bamboos, it is monocarpic, bu... read more


On Nov 20, 2016, Kell from Northern California, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I believe the real name for this plant is not Phyllostachys nigra 'Henon' but Phyllostachys nigra var. henonis.


On Nov 10, 2013, imcuban2 from Chicago, IL wrote:

I planted 5 - 5 gallons in a row. after the first winter almost lost 2 but they recovered. Proven to be very cold hardy just bent back and covered with tarp for some winter protection nothing else. Cant wait to have a mature grove of these in Illinois !!!


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

Purchased a five gallon pot of Henon from on May 30, 2009. The plant was dug up and potted, then spent a few days in the car, a month in the pot and then planted in summer heat.

Don't confuse the 'nigra' term with the bamboo being black, it is not.

It is now April 11, 2010. The bamboo not only performed well, but in the last few days our miniature 'grove' has now sprouted over a dozen shoots, including several which are four feet from the initial planting. Needless to say, hubby and I looked at the number of shoots and the extent to which this small two gallon plant traveled well, thinking we may have created a monster. We are very pleased!

Update. It is now May 4, 2012. About to upload a new image to show the spread and gr... read more