Is everyone’s Phyllostachys Nigra Flowering?

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Black Dog
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Is everyone’s Phyllostachys Nigra Flowering?

Post by Black Dog »

Hello, this is my first post here. I’m very glad to have found this forum. It’s the first forum I’ve joined in about 10 years! Everyone seems to have gone to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Anyway the reason I’m here is because I recently bought my first bamboo plant after wanting some for years, literally years! Was very excited to get a lovely pot of healthy (I think) Phyllostachys Nigra at a good price. I’ve had it about a month and it’s doing well.
Then recently I saw some on a property that faces onto the road. I’ve been aware of this planting for several years. A few weeks ago in noticed it is in flower! I’ve read that this is a rare occurrence but when it flowers it happens worldwide and the plant dies afterwards.
So my questions are, are everyone’s Phyllostachys Nigra in flower now, and is my newly bought pride and joy now going to curl up it’s toes and die on me? It doesn’t seem to be in flower yet.
thebambooguy
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Re: Is everyone’s Phyllostachys Nigra Flowering?

Post by thebambooguy »

All my Phyllostachys Nigra did this year was grow vigorously. That being said it's hibernating right now so won't know until next year I guess.
Leo S
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Re: Is everyone’s Phyllostachys Nigra Flowering?

Post by Leo S »

My P. nigra is showing no sign of flowering.

First, I noticed you are in Australia, where some of the tropical giant black bamboos are more easily available than here in North America. If you purchased the bamboo only by common name, the 3 most common species of black bamboo are Phyllostachys nigra, or did you possibly receive Bambusa lako 'Timor Black' or Gigantochloa atroviolacea 'Tropical Black Bamboo'. If you got one of the other possible species, you might have one of them. Phyllostachys are noted for the parent exhausting itself at flowering and dying off after flowering. Not all genera of bamboo, or even all species of Phyllostachys die after flowering. But many do die.

It is possible, that a severely stress plant can respond by flowering. This is unlikely, but not completely unheard of. Usually if stressed enough to induce flowering, the plant dies before the flowering happens. But if the plant was stressed, but then saved in the "nick of time", the stressed plant can flower. Contact the vendor, see if you can return the plant for one that is showing no sign of flowering.

Exposure to certain herbicides can cause congested growth that looks similar to flowering, at least at passing examination. I had some Phyllostachys viridis 'Robert Young' that received overspray herbicide. For 2 years growth was abnormal, but then the 3rd year the plant began producing normal full size culm with no evidence of pesticide damage.

One additional thought, if the bamboo you received was being grown by a wholesale potted plant nursery, there is a possible accident that could have happened at the nursery. It is becoming more and more common that commercial wholesale nurseries are treating their potted plants with various plant growth regulating hormones. Some of the PGRs will cause short internodes, and congested growth to keep plants dwarf. Some of the PGRs are designed to induce flowering on plants normally too small and young to flower. There is no reason to have sprayed the bamboo deliberately, but there is the outside chance that the nursery had an "accident" with spraying. This is sheer speculation on my part. If you got this bamboo from a private or small retail nursery, it is unlikely that this actually happened. So do not assume this is the cause.
Black Dog
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Re: Is everyone’s Phyllostachys Nigra Flowering?

Post by Black Dog »

Thanks for your replies Leo and thebambooguy.
I bought the plant privately and the seller didn’t know what type of bamboo it was. He didn’t even know if it was running or clumping. I’ve identified it as a running type and so far I only know of one black running bamboo. So it’s I who’ve identified it as Phyllostachys Nigra. Perhaps I’m wrong in my assumption, I’m just learning about them. Also, I think the others you mentioned are suited to a much warmer climate than I’m in.

My own pot of bamboo hasn’t started to flower yet, but I’m worried it might. The flowering bamboo I mentioned is on another property in my town, it’s not mine. Actually so far mine seems to be doing quite well and I hope it continues to do so.

Is it a myth that the same species all flower at the same time around the world? I interpret that as not exactly the same time but in the same season, such as Spring, which Australia is in at the moment. So if it’s true I’d be thinking that it might flower next year in the Northern Hemisphere, unless it’s already flowered last Spring.
dependable
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Re: Is everyone’s Phyllostachys Nigra Flowering?

Post by dependable »

The group flowering is not a myth, but there are occasions when groves can flower independently, usually due to stress, as already noted. There also may be cases where there are different cultivars of same species that do not flower at same time.

You are correct that the flowering will vary with season and climate the particular plants are in, so if P nigra is blooming down under, it may bloom next year in northern hemisphere.
Black Dog
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Re: Is everyone’s Phyllostachys Nigra Flowering?

Post by Black Dog »

dependable wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:04 pm The group flowering is not a myth, but there are occasions when groves can flower independently, usually due to stress, as already noted. There also may be cases where there are different cultivars of same species that do not flower at same time.

You are correct that the flowering will vary with season and climate the particular plants are in, so if P nigra is blooming down under, it may bloom next year in northern hemisphere.
And so it did. I’m seeing lots of posts now about people’s Phyllostacys Nigra flowering and dying. :cry:

Mine survived though. I don’t understand why, perhaps because it was small.
Alan_L
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Re: Is everyone’s Phyllostachys Nigra Flowering?

Post by Alan_L »

My advice is not to worry too much. It's discouraging to have a bamboo flower, but I'd much rather have it happen to a new potted plant than one that you've had in the ground for 3-4 years and have it flower just as it's starting to gain a nice size. That happened to me twice (the original species flowered, the different species I replaced it with in the same spot also flowered).

I had a nice Ph. nigra plant that was just sizing up until it was topkilled by a particularly dry and cold winter. I then cut it down and dug it out. That was 4 years ago. Last year I saw a small Ph. nigra culm come up -- I must have missed an escaped section of rhizome when I dug it. This year it produced a larger culm. It's in front of another planting so I let it grow... there are no signs of flowering on it.
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