Phyllostachys edulis shoots

Moso shooting 2016

I tried planting bamboo seeds in 2011 and failed miserably with old Phyllostachys pubescens Moso seeds. I’ve tried 100 seeds and couldn’t get one single seedling to sprout. Second batch of seeds was supposed to be fresh and much more viable. I was able to get several seedlings to grow slowly from tiny little plant to not so tiny bamboo seedlings. I’ve learned Moso bamboo is hard to keep happy. I’ve been slowly learning about bamboos on my onwn mistakes and growing them in containers was a nightmare. In the end I’ve ended up with 2 living seedling, one is declining and is now hardly any larger than one year old seedling, but the second one managed to survive all the torture and eventually escaped the pot in its second year. It started growing in tight space where I left it, knowing that some day, it might become too large and I’ll have to remove it. That day seems to be getting close.

Smaller shoots appeared all around last year's culms.

Smaller shoots appeared all around last year’s culms.

A year later I’ve bought Phyllostachys aureosulcata rhizome division, and learned how much faster they grow, compared to tiny little seedlings. Well, all that was true until this year (Well, Spectabilis should also upsize considerably this year – can’t wait)! The tiny little Moso seedling finally took off after completely covering the area with thick rhizomes.
Last year I’ve been a bit disappointed in the spring, when it only managed to put out around 10 shoots which did upsize, but not as nearly as much as I had expected. Largest rhizomes were around the diameter of the largest shoots, but… rhizomes were everywhere and upsized shoots only grew in a tight clump on south-eastern position of the bamboo.

A bit larger shoots are not as packed together as the smaller ones

A bit larger shoots are not as packed together as the smaller ones

The last summer and autumn, seedling further increased rhizome growth! Some of the rhizomes that were ‘dolphining’ around the clump were a bit over 1cm diameter, which is larger than last year’s shoots. I expected upsize. And I expected more shoots than last season.
I haven’t been fertilizing the beast much, except for the bucket of wood ash or two over the winter and a thick layer of mulch in the fall, which I removed when warm weather came with first signs of spring. I noticed first shoots quite early, compared to previous years, so I wasn’t really aware, what to expect regarding the shoot size. After the first real rain, the shoots instantly took off.

Haven't even noticed the largest shoot until now!

Haven’t even noticed the largest shoot until now!

Some of the shoots have white hair.

Some of the shoots have white hair.

The winter this year was quite warm, and the bamboo didn’t suffer almost complete defoliation like it did a year before. Like usually, first shoots that appeared were the smaller shoots of the shooting season. They appeared a week or to before the large shoots started to appear. And when they finally did, I knew why I like this time of the year so much. 🙂

The upsize of new shoots is  extreme

The upsize of new shoots is extreme

New shoots growing out behind last year's culms.

New shoots growing out behind last year’s culms.

Is the coin getting smaller, or are these shoots getting thicker?

Is the coin getting smaller, or are these shoots getting thicker?

It's quite easy to determine the rhizome direction

It’s quite easy to determine the rhizome direction

Some of the shoots show white variegation

Some of the shoots show white variegation

Some shoots seem to be quite compact at the bottom

Some shoots seem to be quite compact at the bottom

Incredible variegation looks even better on larger shoots

Incredible variegation looks even better on larger shoots

The same kind of variegation in low-light overcast conditions

The same kind of variegation in low-light overcast conditions

Like last year, variegation returned

Like last year, variegation returned

Like in previous years, white variegation of the shoots returned and with this seedling’s first more mature shoots, variegation started to show completely different effect. On juvenile shoots, variegation was nothing more than white striped leaves, sometimes even with a hint of purple. Variegation seemed fabulous, but then I’ve seen how mature shoots look like! On mature shoots, there is much more purple and red pigment, which brings out beautiful bright orange coloration. I’ve taken two shots, one in bright sunny condition and one in low light overcast weather – shoots look great in both cases, but the light emphasizes the bright color even more. Like previously, the variegation builds up with each additional node. At the beginning they start without variegation and the shoots look like regular Moso shoots.

Shoots are getting thicker

Shoots are getting thicker

This year, the diameter of the shoots increased considerably. There are still a lot of juvenile shoots, especially after some late snow related damage, but the majority of the shoots only started to show mature form. It will be interesting to see how the shoots look like in a couple of years, when they receive even more features of an adult plant. The pattern of spots and speckles on the culm sheath also became evident this year. Shooting season is not even over yet and I can’t wait to see the next one. 🙂

Shoot variegation on juvenile shoots

Shoot variegation on juvenile shoots

First branches

First branches

First branches also show variegation

First branches also show variegation

Juvenile shoot vairegation

Juvenile shoot variegation

Variegation

Variegation

Variegated juvenile shoot

Variegated juvenile shoot

Top of the shoot

Top of the shoot

Dark brown spots

Dark brown spots

Another shot of highly variegated moso

Another shot of highly variegated moso

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5 thoughts on “Moso shooting 2016

  1. Matthew

    How tall did this year’s culms get? Do they still have the large leaves of a juvenile plant?
    I am very impressed with how your plant has upsized in the few years since germinating the seed.

     
    Reply
    1. tarzan tarzan

      I’ve made some more photos

      It’s quite windy at the moment and the leaves act as a parachute (photos 2 and 3). You can’t really see the way it ‘fights’ the wind. Awesome looking bamboo. I have cut of the lower branches from all the larger culms this year (photo 1).

      Photo of the Moso seedling
      Moso in the windy weather
      Moso in the wind

       
      Reply
  2. tarzan tarzan

    This year, culms got well over 3m tall. The thing with this seedling is, it only showed really large leaves the first year, then they got ‘regular’ size. The first season, leaves grow a bit larger (I guess that’s normal size), but the following year, they grow smaller. It’s not even close to adult, but it’s growing fast. This summer, I’ve noticed rhizomes traveling quite far, which means I’ll have a lot of work to do in the spring.
    phyllostachys pubescens 'Moso' fall 2016

    I’ll post an update during the winter. Check the photo above, to see, how it looks like at this moment.

     
    Reply
    1. Matthew

      Thanks for the pictures.Very impressive! It seems to be more than happy in your climate.I have some seedlings in the ground they’re 3 years old ,1 year in the ground and I noticed the first whip shoot rising a month ago.So I am guessing rhizomes are forming.
      Now all I need now is longer hotter summers here in the UK! (My borinda seedlings probably wouldn’t mind either.)

       
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