The Phyllostachys family of bamboo are tall, beautiful evergreens, characterised by grooved canes and generally two leafy branches protruding from each of the cane’s nodes. Phyllostachys aurea is a clump-forming bamboo with incredibly vibrant green canes, which generally grow to around 2.5-meters to 3.5-meters in height. Producing lush, golden-green or yellow leaves of around 18cm in length, Phyllostachys aurea is an outstanding specimen plant that is surprisingly easy to care for and compatible with most gardens.
Origins and Appearance
Phyllostachys aurea (along with other bamboo variants from the same family) is native to the Zhejiang and Fujian regions of China. It is most commonly referred to internationally as fishpole bamboo, though also carries the names of golden bamboo, monk’s belly bamboo and fairyland golden bamboo, monk’s belly bamboo and fairyland bamboo in various regions.
As a relatively tall, sturdy and robust bamboo that grows in clumps, Phyllostachys aurea is a popular choice as screening or hedging in larger gardens and outdoor living spaces. In smaller gardens, its prowess as an ornamental plant is undeniable. Best grown close to paths or seating areas where its unique visual characteristics can be appreciated close-up, it contrasts particularly well with the stunning black canes of Phyllostachys negra.
Initially a deep, rich and striking shade of bright green, canes grown in the sun slowly transform to a golden yellow or brown as they reach maturity. For maximum impact, lower and middle leaves are often stripped away to reveal the unique intricacies and vibrancy of the colourful canes.
Phyllostachys aurea is so easy to grow that it is actually considered an invasive species in the United States. This is because it is perhaps the simplest running bamboo to grow in a variety of conditions and performs well even in colder weather. If adequate care is taken to prevent unwanted spread of the bamboo, Phyllostachys aurea is simple to manage in terms of both cultivation and control. It has even been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
It should be grown in humus-rich, fertile soil which is kept moist but provided with excellent drainage. Phyllostachys aurea thrives in sunny spots or in partial shade, though should be protected from cold winds. Pruning after flowering should be relatively aggressive, during which time quality fertiliser should be provided on a regular basis. Damaged, dead, weak or spindly stems should be removed in the spring, along with flowering shoots to prevent the formation of more.
Phyllostachys aurea forms desirable and predictable clumps when soil conditions are ideal – improper soil may lead to its spread. The usual methods should be adopted to prevent slug damage to new shoots, but fishpole bamboo is largely immune to disease.
At a glance:
- Position in Garden – Full Sun or Partial Shade
- Soil Condition – Fertile, Humus-Rich, Moist with Adequate Drainage
- Growth Rate – Average
- Leaves – Green to Golden
- Canes – Green to Brownish-Yellow with Distinctive Grooves
- Hardiness – Very hardy
- Maximum Height – Up to 4 Meters
- Skill Level – Easy