Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) Img 1Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) Img 1Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) Img 2Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) Img 3

Black Bamboo Plants / Kuro-Chiku

Phyllostachys nigraFeefo logo

The details

  • Size: 4-5m
  • Stem Colour: Green, maturing to black
  • Evergreen
  • Edible shoots for cooking
  • Growth: Running, but quite well behaved
  • RHS Award of Garden Merit
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Description

Phyllostachys nigra, Black Bamboo Plants

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Also known as the Kuro-chiku or Whangee plant, Phyllostachys nigra is one of the most popular bamboos for ornamental garden use. The canes start off bright-ish green and gradually darken through rich brown to black as they mature. The lush, evergreen foliage complements the dark stems, which look best when the lower branches are removed, so they can be admired.

Browse all of our Bamboo varieties.

Features:

  • Size: 4-5m
  • Stem Colour: Green, maturing through dusky maroon to black
  • Edible shoots for cooking
  • Evergreen
  • Growth: Running, but tends towards clumping in cooler locations.
  • RHS Award of Garden Merit
  • Sun to part shade

Growing Black Bamboo

Black Bamboo prefers good, fertile soil which is consistently moist but well drained. It tolerates dappled shade well, although it needs close to full sun to develop the best black canes. It suffers a bit more than other varieties in strong winds, which leave the foliage looking tatty, so a sheltered location is best.

Bamboos have shallow roots, so they can be planted close to trees or in containers in a good potting compost and fed monthly during the growing season. Its roots hate being dried out. Thrive best in warm, sunny climes with rich soil. In good conditions, it will spread more, so you may want to put in an underground barrier to control it or confine it to a large pot; it tends to be clump forming in colder conditions. Young shoots are popular with slugs.

Harvesting bamboo shoots: allow the plants to establish for a few years before picking them. When the spring shoots reach 7-9cm tall, dig down a little in order to slice them off at 5cm below soil level, then replace the soil.

Black Bamboo in your Garden Design

Bamboo has become a strong and stylish feature of contemporary gardens small and large, due to its versatility, speed of growth and architectural merit. Black bamboo has a particular air of modernity to it and is one of the most popular. Uplight its tall canes alongside narrow stone pathways; be dramatic and pair with box planted in black containers alongside matching steel garden furniture and used to screen ugly features; or go Japanese and plant alongside purple Japanese maple, cloud-pruned green privet and box holly. It also works alongside agapanthus, grasses and oleander. It grows tall and therefore casts shade, so bear in mind companion plants that can cope with that.

Did You Know?

One of the first hardy bamboos introduced to Europe in the 1820s, Phyllostachys nigra is popular for all sorts of ornamental woodwork, especially musical instruments. Its native habitat is central China, in and around Hunan Province.

To use in food, trim the outer skin and boil in salted water for eight minutes. Discard the first batch of water and add a second, boiling again for a further eight to 12 minutes to get rid of any bitterness. Once softened, slice and add to curries, salads, soups, and stir fries. The shoots are rich in fibre, vitamin B6 and E, and contain potassium, phosphorous and iron. You can also pickle them - a popular preserving method for contemporary cuisine. Tender new leaves are also edible: the Chinese use them to wrap sticky rice parcels, and you can use them to make tea. They are considered to aid digestion and reduce flatulence!