The Q&A Archives: Black Bamboo Turning To Seed

Question: Our large black bamboo is turning to seed. Someone told us that this happens every 100 years and that it is dying. Is there anyway to save it?

Answer: Bamboo flowers only rarely, (sometimes there?s more than a person?s lifetime between flowerings) and when it does, it takes so much energy from the plant that it often dies. People try various things to save them, like cutting back the culms and fertilizing generously, and sometimes that works. You can collect seeds of your Phyllostachys nigra and sow them in seed starting mix, just barely covering with additional growing medium. Keep the seedbed moist but not soggy wet and the seeds should germinate. It will take a few years for your new bamboo to reach the size of your mature clump, but it might be fun to try. Best wishes with your garden!

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