The Scabrida Bamboo is a newer introduction that has taken bamboo lovers by storm. Not only is this one of the cold-hardiest, most attractive and graceful bamboos available, it is also one of the most colorful. The stems begin in shades of purple and light blue, and in cooler weather they show rich orange shades that will enchant you. Even mature stems are a beautiful rich olive green. This is a vigorous, rapid-growing bamboo, but it grows up, not out. It forms dense clumps, never invading the surrounding areas, so you can grow it even in smaller spaces, because this is a bamboo that will never take over. It will grow up to 3 feet a year, reaching 10 or 15 feet tall when mature – tall enough to make a wonderful dense privacy screen, or fill a corner with rustling beauty.
- Graceful form ideal for specimens or screening
- Tall stems in purple, blue, orange and green
- Rapid growing, reliable and never invasive
- Grows well in partial shade
- Very hardy to minus 5 degrees
The Scabrida Bamboo will grow in full sun in cooler regions, or with just a few hours of morning sun in warmer places. It is hardy right through zone 6, so almost everyone can grow this remarkable plant. It will grow best in rich soil, so add plenty of organic material when planting, and water twice a week for the first year or two. Once established it is moderately drought-tolerant, and it has no significant pests or diseases. It will grow well in container too, so this is a bamboo for every occasion, that will never take over your garden. If you love the look of bamboos, but are afraid they spread too much, then this one is for you – beautiful, colorful, cold-hardy and non-invasive – the perfect bamboo for every garden.
The Scabrida Bamboo, also known as Hardy Clumping Bamboo, is one of the most attractive newer varieties 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 these plants 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.
Growing Hardy Clumping Bamboo
Bamboo is a superb addition to the garden, as specimens or as screening plants. 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.
Size and Appearance
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, 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.
Uses in Your Garden
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.
When planting your Scabrida Bamboo, choose a sunny or partially-shaded location. 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.
History and Origins of the Hardy Clumping Bamboo
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.