Common name: Giant Bamboo
Distribution: Myanmar, Bhutan, China, Thailand
Growth Habit: This is the tallest bamboo in the world. Large grayish green culms grow in dense upright clumps. Culms are extremely robust and thick walled, reaching nearly one foot in diameter. Individual shoots soar more than 100 feet into the sky, where they exhibit clustered branches and leaves. Giant Bamboo flowers approximately once every 40 years.
Cultural Requirements: Dendrocalamus giganteus grows naturally in humid tropical highlands, so those wishing cultivate this species should work to mimic tropical conditions. Giant Bamboo thrives in rich loam or alluvial soils with clean water abundantly available. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not muddy. A thick mulch layer will help to keep the root zone evenly moist and at a more consistent temperature. Giant Bamboo’s own leaves work well as organic mulch. Additional nitrogen rich fertilizer should be applied in anticipation of the season’s new culms. Remove old culms as they die to provide airflow and space for future growth.
Features/Uses: Aside from being a gorgeous architectural specimen of breathtaking stature, this plant is among the most useful in the word. Giant Bamboo culms can be used for construction, paper production, and the young shoots are even edible! Culms have been used for scaffolding, boat masts, water pipes, furniture, and even clothing. You may notice that we use them for things like railings, benches, sign frames, wind chimes, and even bromeliad or orchid planters.
Bloom Time: Flowers are very rare and plants die after blooming.
Where at SDBG: Bamboo Garden
Photos: Rachel Cobb