January & February
The bamboo garden at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens hosts the state’s largest public collection of bamboo species. When surplus is available, it is offered for sale on a ‘dug-to-order’ basis to generate income for the Gardens, a nonprofit facility. All species displayed here are cold-hardy and (except in extremely severe winters) evergreen. In January, Kanapaha issues a descriptive sales/availability listing of bamboos that are being offered during January and February on a dug-to-order basis.
How to order...
Orders for bamboo may be phoned in to 352-372-4981. Buyers will be advised of the date orders will be ready for pickup and payment will be needed when orders are placed. There are no refunds issued after the bamboo has been dug. Bamboo Sale is in January and February only. The demand for some types may exceed availability so orders are prioritized by the scheduled date of pickup.
BAMBOO IS DUG FRESH AND NOT SOLD IN POTS
Bamboo will survive indefinitely in pots, but you will see little growth of the plant over long time periods. Keeping bamboo in pots stunts its growth and the canes will never achieve their maximum size. This is mainly caused by the fact that bamboo needs a lot of space and soil to send out new rhizomes and shoots, something that is not readily achieved in pots. The net result over time can be a network of small rhizomes and fibrous roots that are not supportive of rapid growth once planted in the ground.
Bamboo from Kanapaha is dug fresh after it is ordered, directly from the parent plant. Most canes on the plant will be the maximum size diameter for the bamboo species mirrored by a large corresponding rhizome system attached. Our 15 and 20 gallon sizes are about as heavy as you can lift with no extra dirt or weight surrounding the root system. What you are really paying for with bamboo is the rhizome (root system), that is the "soul" of the plant that will send aloft new canes for years to follow.
Bamboos likely seem expensive to those unfamiliar with their propagation. The cost is attributable to both demand and the fact that most species cannot be readily propagated from cuttings and seeds are rarely produced (once every 120 years in one species we display). Thus, propagation is accomplished by digging and chopping apart the woody rhizome system, a process akin to dismantling a subterranean network of two-by-fours. Because this sort of propagation is labor intensive, prices are higher than for nursery-grown species and almost no nurseries stock them. Please keep in mind that it is the rhizome system (“A root ball”) that you are paying for. Because we sell locally, we keep the canes attached so buyers have something to look at right away; but the “soul” of a bamboo plant is its subterranean rhizome network that will send aloft new canes each shoot season. This year we offer 18 different kinds of bamboo.
There are 2 basic bamboo growth forms. Clumping bamboos grow as expanding clumps of densely packed canes, whereas running bamboos send out long underground ‘runners’ and develop thickets. Both make excellent visual screens. The spread of running bamboos can be curbed by subterranean barriers or, more simply, the removal of unwanted shoots (which are edible in many species) when they appear each spring.
Because they are tropical, clumping bamboos suffer more damage than running bamboos, when exposed to temperatures below 15 degrees F, but they are not normally killed. One species, the elegant Arrow Bamboo, has an intermediate ‘running-and clumping’ growth form that produces a grove of closely spaced small clumps. For purposes of maintenance, it should be considered a running species.
CLUMPING BAMBOOS: bamboos belonging to the genus Bambusa grow from a rhizome system that annually produces new canes at the immediate outer margin of the dense stand to produce an expanding clump. Because they spread more slowly and because they are so visually impenetrable, many homeowners prefer them for visual screening as well as visual accents in the landscape. Clumping species offered this year are: Stripestem, Hedge, Golden Goddess, Chinese Goddess, Silverstripe, Goldstripe, Wong Chuk, Puntingpole, Buddha’s Belly Bamboo, Variegated Buddha’s Belly and Dwarf Buddha’s Belly.
RUNNING BAMBOOS , like the elegant White Bamboo, Phyllostachys nigra ‘Henon,’ produce loose thickets or “bamboo forests” that can be walked through. Their rhizome systems grow in all directions and intermittently send up shoots to produce this effect. They are potentially invasive but can be limited by subterranean barriers (concrete, heavy plastic liner, etc.) two feet deep or, more simply, by annually mowing down unwanted shoots when they emerge. Running bamboos produce their annual crop of new shoots in the spring. This year’s winter bamboo sale offers the following runners: Switchcane, White Bamboo, Beautiful Bamboo, and the incomparably beautiful Black Bamboo. Arrow Bamboo, the best species for shade, is considered a “running and clumping” bamboo since its spreading rhizome system produces a grove of closely spaced clumps.
For approximately 10 months annually, almost no growth occurs in the above-ground portion of the plant as it puts its energy into rhizome growth. Then, during the 2-month ‘shoot season,’ new and larger canes emerge, often with phenomenal speed (almost 2 inches per hour in one species) that makes bamboo the fastest growing of all vascular plants. Running bamboos produce their shoots in early spring; clumpers shoot in the summer. Individual canes live for an average of 5 to ten years and attain maximum strength (for construction purposes) at ‘middle age.’
TRANSPORTING YOUR BAMBOO
If you do not wish for us to cut back your bamboo’s canes to fit inside your vehicle, it is the responsibility of the buyer to cover their bamboo with a tarp (to provide a windproof cover) during transport. BAMBOO NOT COVERED DURING TRANSPORT MAY BE KILLED! Cutting back the canes will not damage the root ball, but you will have less to look at until new canes arise.
PLANTING YOUR BAMBOO
Dig a hole that is 50% larger than the root ball of your bamboo clump. Mix half the soil you dug with an equal amount of peat, compost, leaf mold, or other organic matter that will enhance moisture retention. Place some of this mix into the hole, hold the root ball in place atop it and gently tamp the remainder around the sides. Use the other half of the soil to make a ring around the periphery of the plant. Fill the resulting ‘crater’ with water, let it soak in, and refill. It is helpful to apply a surface mulch (wood chips, lawn clippings, leaves, etc.) to reduce evaporative water loss.
When transplanting bamboos, it is important to keep the rhizome system moist and to prune off the upper portion of the canes (above the 4th branch-bearing node; we will provide this service when digging bamboos for sale). It is helpful to enrich the planting site with peat or composted organic matter to enhance the soil’s capacity for moisture retention. Transplanted bamboos should be watered regularly for the first 3 months to ensure successful establishment. Thereafter, regular watering and quarterly fertilization will promote vigorous growth. Arrow Bamboo prefers shade and is the best species for such sites in this area. All other species sold during our annual winter bamboo sale will tolerate some shade but grow best on sunny sites (5 or more hours of direct sunlight daily). A detailed planting and maintenance guide will be provided with each order.
It will take about 12 weeks for your bamboo to reestablish its root system. During this period, it is essential that you not allow the soil to become dry. This means filling the ‘crater’ with water every 3 or 4 days (unless rainfall does the job for you). Do not fertilize during this 12-week period.
Thereafter, water your bamboo regularly as you would with shrubbery and fertilize quarterly with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 8-8-8.
Your first shoots will appear in spring in ‘running’ species and midsummer in ‘clumping’ species. The first crop of shoots is usually comprised of small canes, a reflection of the damage inflicted by our hacking apart the rhizome system to make a clump available for sale. Nonetheless, water and fertilize after shooting ends because this is the period of rhizome growth and your efforts will be rewarded when the following ‘shoot season’ arrives. Second season canes will be substantially larger and the numberapproximately doubles annually thereafter. Individual canes live 5 to 10 years and attain maximum strength (for construction purposes) at ‘middle age.’
In general, we will replace bamboo that has died within 12 months of the date of pick up provided buyer provides receipt of purchase and returns the entire dead specimen. Bamboo that dies after February will be replaced the following year since we only dig bamboo during its optimal transplanting time in January and February. However, decisions regarding replacement are made on a case-by-case basis to insure that Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is the party at fault. We are not responsible for the replacement of plants that, for example, are not adequately covered/protected during transport and prior to planting, planted outside of their suitable survival range or that show signs of obvious neglect. Kanapaha's staff is skilled in the selection and excavation of the clumps we sell and survival is nearly 100% if the plants receive proper care. Therefore, we will not assume responsibility in situations where a large proportion of a bamboo order dies, as this suggests they received inadequate care after purchase. We sell bamboos that grow well in north Florida under normal weather conditions and cannot be held responsible for losses caused by extreme and unusual weather events or other natural phenomena beyond our control such as running bamboos dying back after flowering or ornamental varieties of bamboo reverting back to their original form.