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Phyllostachys nigra

Black bamboo

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial


Colourful bark, Dramatic foliage



Skill level


photo by John Glover, copyright GAP Photos (19215)

Plant details

A striking bamboo to use as a specimen plant, this naturally forms a dramatic tall, fairly upright shape. As the finger-thick canes mature, they become glossy jet black, showing up well against the frieze of airy evergreen foliage. Plants look good growing with shrubs, particularly evergreens in a large border or foliage garden, but can also be grown as a single clump in a lawn. Bamboos associate particularly well with water where they make striking reflections, although they do not like wet or waterlogged soil. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Family: Poaceae

Genus: Phyllostachys

Species: nigra

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Colourful bark, Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Moist

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 300cm

Spread: 250cm

Time to divide plants: March to May

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