So you’re interested in growing Black Bamboo. This is one of the most attractive bamboo plants due to the color of its culms, which as the name implies, is black. Also known as Bambusa Lako or as Timor Black Bamboo, the Black Bamboo originates from the island of Timor and has since became a favorite ornamental and screening bamboo around the world.
As one of the largest bamboo species, Black Bamboo can reach heights of 70 feet tall when grown in the tropics. However, generally reaches heights of 30 to 50 feet in most regions. It is also considered a ‘loose’ clumping bamboo, with new shoots coming up as far as 2 feet away from the parent plant. Interestingly enough, this species of bamboo has never been witnessed in flower.
Black Bamboo, or Timor Black Bamboo, has straight and erect culms that can often feature the traditional umbrella or sweeping look of the Bambusa genus at the top. The culms, which emerge green and covered with sheaths featuring black-brown hairs, can grow up to 4 inches in diameter. As new shoots mature, they gradually become a shiny black color that occasionally features random green striping.
The branches of Bambusa Lako are short with long, pendulous leaves that can reach nearly 10 inches in length. Commonly considered cold hardy down to 25 degrees Fahrenheit, Timor Black Bamboo is known to grow in zones 9b, 10a, 10b and 11. While this clumping bamboo can survive a frost, it is best planted in regions that experience little to no frost annually.
Black Bamboo is a popular choice for both ornamental centerpieces as well as privacy screens, especially when people want and open clumping bamboo that is both beautiful and functional. In true bamboo fashion, Black Bamboo is a hungry and thirsty plant that is an amazingly fast grower. These plants absolutely love being planted in full sun, and throughout the spring and summer shooting season will absolutely astound you with their rapid growth.
Black Bamboo is one of the most beautiful plants of bamboo that there is, and this is what makes it one of the most highly demanded varieties of all bamboo species. However, Black Bamboo is not as cold tolerant as other bamboo types, and it is not recommended for growing in areas where temperatures go under 25-30 degrees Fahrenheit.
So if you’re thinking about growing Black Bamboo, it is important to know that it is recommended for growing in zones 9b to 10. However, many people living in zones 6 through 8 have reported successfully growing Black Bamboo in their area. Although, this requires special attention and care, such as blocking it from wind and providing special care throughout the winter.
Even though not recommended for growing in zones with low temperatures, you can still grow Black Bamboo in colder zones. However, it is highly recommended that you plant the bamboo in pots or other containers, so that you can easily move them indoors during winter months or ensure that they are covered with a lightweight frost cloth.
Black Bamboo is a tropical plant that is best to be grown in full sun and warm, moist, well-drained soil. Given its limited hardiness when exposed to cold, this plant is best to be grown in areas with minimum temperatures that don’t fall under 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although it survives mild subfreezing temperatures during winter months, if Black Bamboo is exposed to prolonged cold, its leaves are very likely to turn brown and even to die.