Bamboo, Phyllostachys nigra

Phyllostachys nigra

Black bamboo

  • Botanical name: Phyllostachys nigra
  • Common name: Black bamboo
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Plant Type: Shrub, Evergreen
Foliage colour:


Black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) is a large, elegant evergreen bamboo with arching, green stems that become shiny and purple-black with age. A popular and versatile variety, black bamboo looks great in contemporary-style city or courtyard gardens, jungle or Japanese-style gardens and even in large pots. It adds an exotic feel to almost every design and can be planted as a screen to hide an unsightly wall or garden building, or even as an understory for other plants such as banana plants or palm trees. Black bamboo makes an excellent foil for lush greens and plants with colourful blooms, and works well when planted as a single specimen. To make the most of its beauty, why not remove some of the lower leaves to show off the colourful stems?


Black bamboo thrives in moist but well-drained soil. Be warned, it’s extremely fast-growing so needs a lot of space to to spread. Although it’s clump-forming and therefore one of the less invasive types of bamboo, you may want to take precautions to restrict its spread, such as planting in a large container or limiting its roots with a non-perishable barrier.

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Advice on buying black bamboo

  • Although not one of the invasive varieties, black bamboo is fast growing and will quickly fill its allocated space, so make sure you have enough room for it to grow in to
  • You may find black bamboo at your local garden centre but you’ll find more choice online
  • Always check plants for signs of disease or damage before buying

Where to buy black bamboo

How to grow Phyllostachys nigra

  • Plant size

    4m height

    4m spread

  • Aspect

    South facing, west facing

  • Position in border


  • Sun exposure: Full sun, partial shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Soil type: Chalky / alkaline / clay / heavy / moist / well drained / light / sandy

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December


Do not Prune in January

Do not Prune in February

Do not Prune in March

Do Prune in April

Do Prune in May

Do not Prune in June

Do not Prune in July

Do not Prune in August

Do not Prune in September

Do not Prune in October

Do not Prune in November

Do not Prune in December

Phyllostachys nigra and wildlife

Phyllostachys nigra has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Phyllostachys nigra poisonous?

Phyllostachys nigra has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People

Plants that go well with Phyllostachys nigra


Fatsia japonica

Japanese aralia