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Bamboo or bamboo canes mean all those evergreen and perennial plants, practically spread all over the world. They are made up of fleshy rhizomes with a head-like or creeping development, from which stems called canes develop. They have leaves that in spring or early summer fall to be replaced with new foliage. It is possible to observe different species of reeds, including: sasa, bambusa, shibatea etc. In the past, all these species have been called invasive and invasive plants, difficult to grow or useless for decorating the garden or the interior of the house. While today, they are planted both in the garden and invaded inside the house because, thanks to the colors, they are excellent decorative elements. Inserting bamboo canes in our garden or on our terrace is certainly, with some small changes to limit its expansion, a good choice. In fact, they are available in many varieties with different colored leaves and different sizes. They also adapt to different climates and are very easy to maintain.
Due to the fact that these plants are widespread almost all over the world, it is possible to cultivate a tropical species in a garden with a Mediterranean climate and to plant a Himalayan species in an environment subject to frost and intense cold. Those that are cultivated by far in Italy are plants belonging to the rustic species. They bear both the heat of the summer season and the frost and the intense colds of the winter season. If you decide to plant a delicate species, it can happen that in winter the stems dry up. However it is good to remember that they are not the main element of this plant, in fact, if the rhizomes will not suffer any damage, it will be enough to wait for the end of winter to develop new shoots. The preferred position is full sun or semi-shady; if possible use an acid soil otherwise, it does not disdain the alkaline one. What should not be missing is good drainage, because the rhizomes are easily attacked by molds and fungi, if the soil is muddy or moist.
Description and origins
The bamboo belongs to the family of the Poaceae (it is therefore a grass) and is mostly native to South-East Asia (in particular from China, Korea and Japan). However, few know that some species are endemic to Africa, Latin America and even Oceania. Up to 80 genera and 1500 different species have been classified. Their air is very wide: they grow from sea level up to 3000 m of altitude.
Given this great variety, they are generally subdivided according to their size and the woodiness of the stem (cane).
They are usually characterized by rhizomatous roots that stretch with extreme ease, covering extremely large areas. However, there are also lumbering bamboos, much smaller and with a slow spread. Their canes have a diameter of at most 2 cm and tend to be less rustic.
Pruning is essential to allow the development of the leaves and the respiration of the plant. The type of pruning to be performed depends on the species to which the plant belongs. Those dwarfs must be pruned, approximately every 2 or 3 years, at ground level, in such a way as to keep the head dense and compact over the years. While, the other species may also not be pruned but, this practice takes place (cutting the largest and most resistant canes) to use the cut canes to contain the vegetation, to maintain the hedge or for agricultural uses. Even watering should not occur frequently, on the contrary, it is good to water rustic plants just planted or if the soil is excessively dry.
The aerial part includes the stem (cane) and the leaves, whose height can go from a few cm (for dwarf varieties) to more than 30 meters for the giant ones. The consistency is at the same time hard (like wood), but flexible (to bend in the wind, thus avoiding breaking). Appearance and color are very varied, but they are united by knots, from which branches branch out, further subdivided into twigs bearing then very decorative leaves. In our continent they dry and fall in the summer, but they are quickly replaced.
The stems come out directly from the ground and within a few weeks they reach their final diameter. In some giant varieties the growth is truly amazing: in optimal conditions it can exceed 1 meter a day! Flowering occurs only on very mature plants and often leads to the death of the specimen. However, it is necessary to dispel the myth of the contemporary flowering of all the bamboos in the world: it is an event that can occur, but in reality it is quite rare.
The rhizome, underground, grows almost always in a straight line and, at a regular distance, lets out a new jet. On the other hand, the rarer thing known as cespitose bamboos create clumps that are slightly apart from each other.
Exposure and terrain
The ideal soil for bamboo must be rich and able to remain moist, but not wet, for long. The loamy or slightly clayey soils with subacid or sub-alkaline reaction are therefore suitable.
Because the plant grows vigorously it is necessary that it is well exposed, therefore in a well bright and warm area. It is extremely important that it is also sheltered from the winds, especially during the winter period.
The varieties of limited size are also suitable for cultivation in larger or smaller pots.
THE CHILD IN BRIEF
|Type of foliage||Persistent or semi-persistent|
|Height at maturity||From 15 cm to more than 30 m|
|Ground||Rich and slightly moist|
|pH||From subacid to subalcaline|
|dimensions||first name||Height and foliage||usages||features|
Up to 150 cm
|Shibataea kumasaca|| From 50 to 100 cm|
Persistent, short and broad leaves
|For borders and siepine|| Not very invasive|
|Pleioblastus pumilus||From 30 to 80 cm, persistent green foliage||Ground Cover|| Excellent for landslides.|
Endure the shadow and the cold
Medium bamboo (3 to 10 meters)
|Sasa tessellata|| Up to 2 meters|
Large elongated leaves, glossy green, tufted, semi-persistent
|Ideal for isolated groups|| It tolerates different types of soil.|
Rustic up to -18 ° C, sun or shade
|Phyllostachys||From 6 to 8 meters||He wants a lot||Vigorous and very rustic, fine|
|bissetii||Persistent green foliage first olive and then dark, shiny, very dense.||space||at -25 ° C|
|Phyllostachys rubromarginata|| About 6 meters.|
Persistent, abundant and decorative foliage.
Very hard rods
|Excellent for windbreak hedges|| Undemanding and not very invasive.|
Up to -20 ° C
|Phyllostachys aurea|| From 6 to 9 meters.|
Very dense, almost golden, and persistent foliage, light green
|Adaptable, but fears the cold wind|| Not very invasive|
Tolerates shade and water shortages.
Up to -20 ° C
|Semiarundinaria fastuosa|| From 5 to 9 meters, columnar bearing.|
Dark green canes that turn purple in autumn.
Persistent foliage, from the base to the top
|Very adaptable|| It adapts to many different exposures.|
Giant bamboos (more than 10 meters)
|Phyllostachys vivax f. aureocaulis|| 10 to 15 meters.|
Very straight, golden canes, persistent foliage
|Ideal for hedges or for creating bamboo plants|| Sunny and warm exposure, sheltered from the wind.|
Fears snow, but withstands up to -20 ° C.Summer growth
|Phyllostachys sulfurea f. viridis|| From 15 to 18 meters|
First green and then yellow green streaks. Persistent foliage.
|Isolated groups, bambuseti||Sun-half shade, up to -20 ° C|
Bambitus trees (not very invasive)
|Semiarundinaria makinoi|| Up to 5 meters|
Fine, brown, bush-like canes. Persistent foliage
|As a windbreak, a hedge or in a vase||Very tolerant, up to -18 ° C|
|Jiuzhaigou Fargesia|| From 2 to 4 meters|
Leaves small, first purple, then light green.
|In pot or as a bush||Sun or partial shade, very rustic|
|Fargesia rufa|| From 1.50 to 3 meters. Persistent, fine and clear foliage.|
|Ideal for pot or bush|| Rusticissimo|
Shaded and fresh exposure.
The bamboo calendar
|Planting||From August to November|
|Collection of reeds||From December to February|
|Division||Between March and April|
|Cleaning the area, removing old sections||From December to February|
This type of intervention is generally not necessary except for some dwarf species that must be cut down at the end of winter.
The bamboo multiplies itself by extending its rhizomes. To create a new bambuseto it is sufficient to take, between March and April, a section, helping in the extraction with a pitchfork.
The cespitose varieties are divided as would be done for a herbaceous plant, leaving a sufficient number of roots for each section.
Bamboo rods: Collection and use of canes
Bamboo canes have many uses: to make buildings, various objects or for decorative purposes. They are very well preserved once cut and dried: they are in fact extremely resistant to water. They can be taken at any time of the year, although it is preferable to proceed in winter, using a metal saw (especially for large varieties).
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