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How to Plant Black Bamboo

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017

Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys Nigra) is a large and striking species of bamboo. As it grows, the bamboo plant develops deep green (almost black) stalks, 2 inches in diameter, and bright green leaves. Black bamboo is a jumbo species of bamboo, which means it can grow up to 30 feet tall. Although popular for its beauty, black bamboo can be difficult to control. The plant thrives in temperate zones (gardening zones 6 and 7) with mild weather conditions.

Choose a cool spring day to plant your black bamboo, after the danger of frost is past.

Select the perfect location for your black bamboo. This fast-growing plant needs plenty of room (it will spread unchecked unless you control it), well-drained soil, and full sun or partial shade. It should also be protected from the wind, if you live in a windy climate.

Prepare the soil. Black bamboo does best if the top layer of soil is rich in organic matter. Work a layer of organic mulch into the soil until it is well-mixed at a depth of between 4-6 inches. Wear gardening gloves to protect your hands.

Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and just deep enough so that the plant's main rhizome (horizontal root) will be around 2 inches under the top of the soil. Set the plant into the hole, and fill in with soil.

Mix a slow-release fertilizer into the top 2 inches of the soil. The fertilizer should be high in nitrogen (a formula of 21-5-6 is ideal, but anything close to those numbers is fine).

Stake your bamboo plant if it is very tall and slender, especially if you have high winds in your area. Set a wooden stake firmly in the ground and gently tie the plant to the stake with twine. Remove the stake once the plant has matured (the stalks will turn black).

Water the plant until the soil is thoroughly soaked, then surround the plant with another layer of organic mulch about 2 inches thick.

Water throughout the spring and summer. Water daily if the weather is hot, and twice a week if the weather is mild. The soil should be kept moist but not have standing water. In the fall, your plant should be established enough to let the climate do the watering for you.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Organic mulch
  • Gardening gloves
  • Nitrogen-rich fertilizer
  • Wooden stake and twine


  • Black bamboo plants should be planted between 3-5 feet apart.
  • To control the spread of your bamboo, purchase a bamboo barrier and surround your plant with it. Be diligent about pruning the roots of your bamboo plant.