Fargesia nitida ‘Jiuzhaigou’

by philinshelton on June 22, 2009

in Bamboo Plants

There are at least five different forms of bamboo out there that contain "Jiuzhaigou" in the cultivar name.  From what I have seen, most of these cultivars are very similar, but no matter which the name, they are beautiful, well-behaved bamboos for your garden.

Red canes are beautiful, but transitional

Doing an Internet search of this bamboo, you might read more than one account of its origin.  The source list on bambooweb.info, shows this bamboo is a nitida seedling collected from the Jiuzhaigou Reserve in Sichuan, China.  That's what we'll go with for now, but know that there exists a taxonomic argument in favor of this bamboo as a different species. Click on the pics to view a larger image.
Older canes are fading to gold

Older canes turning gold

Culms - The common name "Red Fountain Bamboo" derives from the color of the culms, which can range from burgundy to magenta in spring, fading over the growing season.  The intensity of the color will vary between individual plants, and is affected by growing conditions, as well as the maturity of the plant. I have noticed that as my plant matures, it tends to shade itself out, reducing the intensity of the color.  Also, the oldest culms in the planting are fading to a dark gold. For the best color, plants need several hours of morning sun.
Very tight clumping habit, with a vase shape

Tight clumping habit, with a vase shape

Form and Foliage - This is a very tight, clumping bamboo that reaches about 10' high.  It has a  vase-shape form with some arching perimeter stems.  It is one of the most finely textured bamboos, having small leaves carried on very short branches. This is a great plant to use as a stand alone specimen in a focal point of your landscape. Growing it Well - Like all bamboos of the genus, this bamboo will do best in moist, fertile soils.  In Western Washington, it can be grown in full sun with ample moisture, but don't expect it to shine in the landscape without afternoon shade.  Even though this bamboo is hardy to well below 0 degrees F. the foliage will suffer in winter if exposed to cold, dry winds.  Choosing a site sheltered from hot afternoon sun in summer and cold winds in winter, will give you the best performance. Although they are much better behaved than the running bamboos, clumping bamboos are substantial plants that take up a significant amount of space in the landscape (read my article on Running vs. Clumping Bamboos for more info on that). If you are running short on garden real estate, this slow-growing clumper could be the bamboo for you!

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