Which bamboos grow in wet soil

 What is the difference between wet soil and water saturated soil?

THERE is a great difference between a wet soil which is wet only seasonally and a water saturated soil. The problem with water saturated soils is that the water excludes the air from the root system and keeps the soil temperature low thus causing the rhizomes of the bamboo to rot.

There are however, bamboos which will grow in seasonally wet soils; those which have air cavities in the rhizome which act to all intents and purposes like a snorkel so the rhizomes are still able to breathe and therefore don’t rot in the water.

What type of soil do bamboos prefer?
As a general rule bamboos prefer slightly acidic, loosely textured, aerated soil. They need the soil to drain freely but still hold moisture other than that they are not particularly fussy, although tolerence does vary; Fargesia are more sensitive to soil and drainage and do not like heavy clay. Phyllostachys prefer loose, well drained soil high in organic matter but even so, many of the genus are also tolerant of heavy clay soils. Obviously the better the conditions for the bamboo the better growth the plant will experience.

Some of the bamboos we would recommend are:

Phyllostachys Nigra: A very graceful bamboo forming large clumps. Ht 8ft+. Canes bright green at first, maturing to black. The canes are used for walking sticks in the Far East. Sheltered position. Moist, humus rich soil, part shade.

Phyllostachys Aurea ‘Holochrysa’ : A lovely form of golden bamboo. The new culms are pale green, turning to golden yellow/ orange gold. Ht 10+. Sunny position.

Phyllostachys  Nigra ‘Boryana’: Snakeskin bamboo’. A lovely distinctive ornamental variety. Larger, more erect and more heat tolerant than the principle form. Culms spotted with brown/ purplish black spots. Attractive foliage. Hardy. Ht 12ft+. Full sun.

Fargesia denudata: Similar to fargesia murielae in form and colour, it has shorter branches and smaller leaves. Clump forming bamboo best grown in a position out of mid day sun. Ht 12ft.

Fargesia Robusta Campbell: The first introduction of this species into the Western world from Sichuan, China. A good clumping bamboo that can create a narrow screen.  Dark green foliage and light green culms, with rusty red new shoots, spring. More sun tolerant than most other Fargesia. Ht 8-10ft.

Fargesia Nitida ‘Great Wall’: A new desirable species with small dark green leaves and slender purple flushed canes. Ht 10-12ft. Excellent for dense hedge or specimen. Humus rich soil, sun or part shade.

Fargesia ‘Rufa’ : New from China. Rare in cultivation. One of the hardiest Fargesia. Very graceful, olive green canes give a slightly weeping effect. Spectacular when grown as a solitary specimen. Ht 2-2.5 metres.

Hibanobambusa Tranq. ‘Shiroshima’
A spectacular bamboo. Long variegated gold and green foliage, tall arching growth. Ht 5ft. Lovely as a specimen or in a container. Sun or part shade.