Part of the Phyllostachys family of attractive evergreen bamboos, Phyllostachys bissetii can be best described in two words – hardy and vigorous. Even above and beyond its siblings, P. bissetii grows extremely rapidly and is by far one of the most durable types of bamboo available.
Origins and Appearance
A comparatively rare bamboo in the wild, Phyllostachys bissetii originates from China’s Chengdu Province and takes its name from David Bisset – former Superintendent of the Barbour Lathrop Bamboo Garden at Savannah, Georgia. Its splits have been widely used in handicrafts for centuries and are still highly prized today.
Where P. bissetii is present, it will almost always be the first to show signs of new canes every year. The new canes emerge in the early summer or late spring, growing mostly into larger upright canes though with a slight arch in some instances. Before reaching maturity, it boasts beautiful bright green canes that are often stained with an equally stunning purple flush. After a few years when the canes reach maturity, they begin to fade to a paler greenish-yellow, which is still incredibly attractive.
The canes are bright and glossy in appearance, while the lush, dense foliage produced remains vibrant and prominent throughout the year. Even during the winter, this evergreen bamboo very much lives up to its name. It is one of the strongest and most resilient types of bamboo known to man and shows remarkable resistance to heavy frost, biting winds and prolonged winters. As such, it is suitable for use almost anywhere in the UK.
P. bissetii is often incorporated into a garden as container-based feature – often to extraordinary effect. However, it can also be quite wonderful when using to create a screen or fence, either to separate areas of the garden or provide privacy. It initially forms dense clumps, though will over time begin to spread without sensible precautions being taken. The canes have the potential to grow as high as 6 meters, though usually reach no more than around 3.5 to 4 meters.
Like its other family members, P. bissetii thrives in humus-rich soil that is kept well-moistened, though provided with plenty of drainage. It grows best in areas of sun or partial shade, though in this instance there’s little cause for concern when it comes to cold weather and biting winds. Hard pruning is recommended during the spring and all dead, damaged or weak stems should be removed upon detection.
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 6 Meters
- Skill Level – Easy