As mentioned previously, I have 4 species of bamboo I started from seed. This is in addition to the Bambusa vulgaris, the local species and Male bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus), another species I scored from Govardhan Gardens, I planted previously.
Motivation and follow through
Soil erosion is a real issue in Puerto Rico and our little piece of paradise is no exception. A gully (hoya) cuts our place in half. Most of the time, it has no water running through it, but when we do get hit with rain, it comes with a vengeance. So much so that I wanted to place some bamboo in strategic locations. There was no real ‘plan’ in the beginning. We simply went up the highway where I was able to score some of the roadside Vulgaris and succeeded in getting some of the pieces to root.
This was the first bamboo I ever planted and it set me on my path to acquiring more.
This update is a walk through of where I am now.
Of the 15 new bamboo plants (from seed) I planted down in the hoya, 5 did not prosper. Fortunately, there was at least one of each species that survived. Those being- Jati/Tulda, Moso, Yunnan, and Tabashir.
That is a good thing.
The Bambusa vulgaris is now in it’s 3rd year and is showing serious propagation. Of the original 9 cuttings, 8 are thriving. The most outstanding example has a culm of about 1.5 inches in diameter with another 5 producing new culms of about 1 inch in diameter. I only give them water when we have a particularly long dry spell. I fertilize them lightly every few months. This is the most common bamboo on the island.
The Male bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus) plant I scored from Sadhu of Govardhan Gardens is about 2 years old now. It seemed to take off from day one. It now has a dozen 1 inch culms and is extremely prolific. It sits on an exposed rise and gets lots of sun. Collectively, it stands about 12 feet tall. I never give it water and only fertilize it when I fertilize the rest. The link above takes you to an article I wrote about my visit to Sadhu’s farm and buying the Male bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus). It opens in a new window and it has lots of pictures of Sadhu’s place.
The 4 new Species
As can be seen by the additional photos in the gallery, the surviving plants are doing great. Because of their location, I will only be giving them water during an extended dry spell. This was my first walk through since planting them, so I gave them all a little fertilizer. Of particular note, the Tabashir bamboo (Gigantochloa asper) was doing fantastic. I only lost 1 out of the 5. These are in a very shaded area so I do not expect them to really take off, but they look great.
Though I did not see it until I was editing my shots, one of the Jati/Tulda bamboo plants had produced it’s first culm. It was about 1/4 inch in diameter and 6 inches tall. I was out there a few days later and saw that it had doubled in height. Not bad.
All in all, I’m happy with my results. I now have 6 varieties of bamboo coming up.
Someday, I’ll be able to build that bridge I got in mind.
Bamboo Bob of PR
At this point, I do not expect to see anymore bamboo seedlings pop up. It’s been several weeks since the last one broke ground. I’ve been keeping track of the trays and watering them every few days, but it’s time to let them go.
Of the 11 species planted from seed, 4 produced plants. I now have (A) 3 Moso (from 20 seeds), (B) 2 Tulda (from 18 seeds), (C) 5 Tabashir (from 14 seeds) and (D) 5 Yunnan Fountain (from 25 seeds). There was one other Moso start that’s failed to thrive.. I have not tossed it yet.
I have moved the plants from sheltered sun to direct sun, but will keep a close eye on them and water as needed.
I will admit I am a little disappointed because of the extensive effort I went through to improve my odds at sprouting these seeds. Having started with about 340 seeds (spread between 11 species), I think my yield is a little low. This was my second attempt at trying to grow bamboo from seed. I may take another stab at it, but that would be much later in the year or early next year, depending. That will give me more opportunity to study the subject and prepare.
I’ll report progress with this 2nd effort at growing bamboo seeds as there are new developments.
In the meantime, there is other gardening I need to work on. Stay green, Roberto
This is a log of my progress to date. Besides the new Moso and Tulda starts, I also have 2 other varieties coming up- Gigantochloa asper and Fargesia yunnanensis. I check sprout trays daily for moisture and fungus. I also let the trays ‘air-out’ every few days. I now have a total of 14 Bamboo seedings.
This yield is way better than the first time I tried to sprout seeds.
March 23, 2012-
While doing my morning inspection of the seedling trays, I discovered light fungus starting to grow in almost all of batch #2. I promptly popped off their clear covers to allow them to air out. This was followed with a light spraying of diluted Neem Oil. The trays had not been opened since I closed them on Feb. 15th. I’ll be letting the trays ‘breathe’, every few days now.
The good news is, I have at least 1 (out of 14) Tabashir Bamboo (Gigantochloa asper) sprouting as well as 2 (out of 20) Bambusa Tulda. I’ll keep a close eye on them and move them to pots as soon as they stand up a couple of inches.
I counted no less than 5 Yunnan Fountain Bamboo, Fargesia yunnanensis. Though I could not find this particular variety in any database, it appears to have originated in China’s Yunnan region where hundreds of Bamboo species reside.
April 2, 2012-
I transferred 9 sprouts to pots today. 5- Tabashir Bamboo, 3- Yannan Fountain and 1-Moso Bamboo. One other Moso Bamboo to transfer to a pot in a few days.
April 6, 2012-
Potted 2nd Moso Bamboo sprout. Also spotted an additional Tabashir Bamboo sprout in tray today.
April 8, 2012-
Spotted 2 more Moso sprouts popping up.
April 10, 2012-
Potted the 2 new Moso sprouts.
Please Note: The Isle of Bamboo Site is now live. I will be be adding updates to my progress with growing Bamboo from seeds and new functionality to the site as time goes by. Thanx, Roberto
This English language site has been in the works for 2 years. It is a personal exploration into a subject I’ve come to appreciate on many levels.
The Isle of Bamboo will eventually contain stories, photos and tips about growing Bamboo and the many ways it can be put to work. A resource for newbies as well as the dedicated grower.
Visitors are encouraged to leave comments and suggestions, submit ideas and images as long as they have something to do with Bamboo.
Shortly, I will add a page dedicated to products made with Bamboo.
I have deliberately designed this site so that it will display on home computers, laptops and tablets without much issue. Since this is a new site, I ask for my viewers to ‘hit me back’ if you see any errors I should fix. The ‘Isle of Bamboo’ is a companion site to RobertosPuertoRico.com. If you’re curious about what Puerto Rico is like, then by all means, check it out. If, however, your passion is Bamboo, come back soon. Site Admin- Robert Westmoreland