A collective name for various tall, vigorous, evergreen ornamental Grasses which are described under their botanical names of Arundinaria, Bambusa, Dendrocalamus, Phyllostachys, Pleioblastus, Pseudosasa, Sasa and Semiarundinaria. Consult entries under these names.
Best Place for Bamboos.
Bamboos should be planted in moist ground in a position where the roots cannot become dry during a period of drought. They thrive in a variety of soils, but grow best in light or moderately heavy loam; a low position on the banks of a stream or lake suits them admirably. They can endure full sun, but are seen at their best when shaded a little by large trees. Bamboos should not be planted indiscriminately among flowering shrubs, neither should they be given too conspicuous a position in the garden, for, although they are among the most attractive evergreens during autumn and winter, they often look very shabby from February to June or July, particularly after a severe winter or period of cold winds.
How to Propagate.
Propagation is usually by division in spring, but if portions of stems are laid down in a propagating frame in March it is possible to raise a fresh stock from growths that spring from the joints of the canes. As Bamboos usually die after flowering, seeds should always be looked for on flowering plants. A curious phenomenon is that species flower, and die, simultaneously over a wide area in the wild, and also, though not quite as simultaneously, under cultivation.
When to Plant and Prune.
Bamboos should be given an annual pruning and early spring is a good time for the work. The pruned shoots must not be shortened but cut down to the ground line. The object is annually to remove the oldest shoots, or those of which the tops are beginning to die. After pruning, a thorough washing with the garden hose will do good. Old plants are improved by an occasional top-dressing of farmyard manure. May is the best time for planting or for transplanting or dividing established plants. Those that have been grown in pots can be planted at any time. The best of the canes cut out at pruning time can be trimmed and used for garden stakes.