The Scabrida Bamboo is a new attractive variety of bamboo that has really thrilled every gardener who has met it. It is a stand-out variety for several reasons. Firstly, it is much more winter hardy than almost any other bamboo – right down to minus 5 degrees with no problems, so it will grow easily in zone 6, and of course in all the warmer areas too. This means that across a very large part of the country, in areas where most bamboos will not grow, this great plant can be in your garden. The second stand-out feature of this plant is the levels of color it brings. The new shoots begin in purple and pastel- blue shades – a very striking effect. As they mature the will eventually turn olive green, but new shoots around the clump will still show those rich purple and blue colors. Even more striking, at certain times the stems of the leaves and the areas where they join the main stem become suffused with a rusty-orange glow, mostly in fall, and during cooler, damp weather. These colors make this bamboo much more colorful and attractive than almost any other kind available.
Bamboo plants are superb additions to the garden, as specimens or as screening. But many are invasive, and a lot of gardeners have been scared off growing them, from bad experiences in the past, or from what they have heard. It is important to realize that there are two distinct kinds of bamboos – spreading and clump-forming. The problems arise with the spreading kind, which send up shoots several feet away, quickly invading new areas, until they crowd out other plants completely. Sometimes they can be useful, and if you erect sturdy barriers, they can be grown in many places, but they are not suitable for many gardens, especially smaller ones. The best choices are the clump-forming bamboos, as they only send up new shoots a few inches away. They simply grow into larger clumps, but don’t actually go anywhere. The Scabrida Bamboo is a clump-forming type, so you can grow it in any location, and be sure that it will not spread outside its allocated area. It will grow into a broad clump, so you do need to allow enough room for its natural width, but it is not going to pop up somewhere else – you can be sure of that.
The Scabrida Bamboo grows 10 to 15 feet tall in time, making it perfect for screening, or as a specimen in any garden. Because it is clump-forming, although tall it is only a few feet wide, so it fits perfectly into a narrow space where you also need height. For screening, place your plants 3 to 4 feet apart, in a row. Since it is evergreen, it gives effective screening every day of the year. The individual canes are about three-quarters of an inch across, and every few inches along them there is a cluster of leaves. These radiate out in hand-like clusters, with each leaf slender and elegant, creating a graceful look that is charming in any location. Since the foliage is all along the canes, there are leaves from top to bottom, making a dense screen. Your plants will grow 1 to 3 feet a year, so they will soon bring that wonderful ‘presence’ to your garden that only bamboos can bring.
If you have an Asian-themed garden, a wooded garden, or just a regular garden needing something different and striking to bring it to life, this bamboo is an excellent choice. You can also grow it in a large container or beautiful pot, where it will stay shorter, growing perhaps 6 to 8 feet tall.
Choose a sunny or partially-shaded location for your Scabrida Bamboo plants. In cooler zones, it will grow in full sun all day long, but in warmer regions 2 to 5 hours of morning sun is ideal, with shade from the hot afternoon sun. It will grow fastest and best in rich soil, with a good supply of water, and young plants should ideally be soaked twice a week during the summer. However well-established plants have good drought-resistance.
The Scabrida Bamboo comes from China, where it was discovered in the 1970’s by Professor Yi, from the Chendu Forestry College. He found it growing almost 9,000 feet up in the damp forests of northern Sichuan province, and called it Fargesia scabrida. The plant was only introduced into the West in 1997, when Jos van der Palen, of Kimmei Nursery in Holland, received a plant from Professor Yi, propagated it carefully and distributed it across Europe and North America. Since then it has become one of the most popular bamboos available.
At the Tree Center, we searched for supplies of this great plant, and found a reliable source of top-quality material. With the high demand there is, we know that our stock will soon be gone, so order now and enjoy the wonder of this colorful and hardy, non-invasive bamboo.