Yesterday’s Planting: Phyllostachys Nigra – Black Bamboo

phyllostachys nigra black bamboo

by Rubisco!

I always get excited about firsts…big or little, I seem to note and remember them.   Every variety of tree or plant I have ever specified, I seem to remember the first time and place where it went.   After that,well, I forget it.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to help a client choose some bamboo.  We settled on Phyllostachys nigra — a first for me.  I have wanted to find an appropriae home for this plant for some time.  When I left London 5 years ago, it was all the rage — literally everywhere.  Of course that trend hasn’t quite made the leap across the pond in full force….yet.  I can’t plant it at my own home, it is simply too cold, but for a client who is down in Boston, where temperatures are considerably milder, it will be happy. 

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.


  1. Jim/ on October 21, 2009 at 10:09 am

    I planted Phyllostachys nigra about five years ago in my garden. HAd no idea I was ahead of a curve as far as a “rage” goes. A few stalks are “maturing” and starting to turn black(ish). They’re sort of a dirty gray right now. They don’t grow as vigorous as I think they’d like. The Buffalo winters are a bit of a setback each year for them.

  2. Kate on October 22, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    I love that bamboo! I had no idea it would survive this far north. Now, all I have to do is find a nursery that carries it.

    • rochelle on October 23, 2009 at 6:02 am

      kate – we got ours from burt at – he does mail order – he is a couple miles from me – solidly in zone 5 – he says it won’t work here, but boston is zone 6 and he says it will be fine there.

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