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Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seedling’s autumn transformation

Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seedling’s autumn transformation

Winter is coming

Leaves become much darker in the fall
Leaves become much darker in the fall. On the photo: Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seedling 2.

Tonight, we’ve seen snowflakes in the air for the first time this autumn. Before the arrival of winter and bitter below freezing temperatures, bamboos prepare and become hardier which makes them more likely to get through the winter unharmed. With first cold, all Phyllostachys bamboos started shedding some of their leaves to decrease water loss due to transpiration in cooler weather. Leaves also become thicker and coated with waxy protective layer, which also prevents desiccation.  The variegated seedlings had a lot of issues early in the growing season, but came out in excellent shape. They lost most of the damaged leaves from early summer and spring and ended up with new, mostly undamaged leaves. Sadly, some kind of fly destroyed most of the growing tips.

color change

Darkening of the foliage is evident.
Darkening of the foliage is evident.

Like expected, based on previous observations, leaves started changing their color in mid summer. First leaves were all completely yellow. Every following leaf got a bit more dark green color in the form of dark green striping. The last leaves that grew just before winter weather kicked in, started to look almost as green as the regular unvariegated seedling form. New leaves are also much less prone to environmental damage and should survive the winter intact. The gradual darkening also appears on the variegated seedlings culms. It seems that usually green variegation forms on sulcus, but can appear on other sides of the internode as well.

Difference between the two seedlings

Very bright yellow culm of the first variegated seedling. It does have some green striping which should become much more evident next season with an upsize

The most apparent difference is the culm color. I wrote about it some time ago and observations only became more evident as the shoots started maturing. The first seedling changed from lime green to bright yellow. There is almost no red tanning, but I expect it to start again in early spring and around shooting.  I’m not certain about the amount of culm variegation yet, since both the seedlings are still in young juvenile form. Based on last year’s progress, I expect them to upsize significantly. It should be interesting to see them develop.

Leaves are very similar on both seedlings and have the same type of progressive darkening. First leaves are all lime green or yellow and gradually start darkening. There seems to be a difference in how dark the leaves finally get, but it might be too early to tell for sure. It seems that the first seedling doesn’t get as green as the second one. It was also a little bit less prone to sun damage, which is quite strange, because it’s leaves were just as pale if not paler.

Second seedling often shows darker green coloration below the nodes
Second seedling often shows darker green coloration below it’s nodes

Second seedling has started with bright green culms and dark green striping. Sun tanning was extremely strong during early spring and it turned almost black on sun exposed shoots. With time it started fading to brown color with a hint of red. The lower parts that were not exposed to sun, changed from bright green to olive green color. Variegation of the culm appears on all sides of the culm, but is usually found as darker green sulcus. A lot of internodes have a dark green coloration below the node, some can extend further down as green striping. It is not as evident as green variegations of yellow culmed bamboos like Phyllostachys aureosulcata, at least not yet. Culm color might change a bit as the culms fully mature. Time will tell how they look like when they get there.

Darker green sulcus on yellow-ish olive green culm.
Darker green sulcus on olive green culm.
Variegated seedling in front and regular dark green form of Phyllostachys arcana 'Luteosulcata' seedlings
Variegated seedling in front and regular dark green form of Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seedlings
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Moso shooting 2016

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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Bamboo shoots

Bamboo shoots

Each spring or early summer, bamboos start shooting. It’s favourite time of the year for most of Bamboo growers, that anticipate the new season with curiosity.

Many bamboo varieties  look similar if not almost identical when they are mature, but most of them, if not all, have unique shoots. To successfully identify a bamboo, we usually depend on unique characteristics – mature shoot appearance offers just that.

I’m growing several different bamboos and I decided to take shoot photos and try to capture their uniqueness.

Borinda fungosa shoot
Newly emerged Borinda fungosa shoot

Borinda fungosa is the first bamboo I owned. I had grown it from seed in 2011.

Shoots are a bit different from other bamboos, because of extremely large culm sheaths of Borinda genus. As they emerge, they seem completely hollow. After a while, they start to look more like other bamboos, when stem starts elongating and fills the empty space inside the shoot.

Borinda is a late shooter, it usually shoots around mid May. It usually (always so far) sets another round of shoots around September which get killed during the winter.

Shiroshima shoot
Hibanobambusa tranquillans ‘Shiroshima’

Hibanobambusa tranquillans ‘Shiroshima’ is thought to be a natural hybrid between Phyllostachys nigra ‘Henonis’ and Sasa veitchii. It’s variegation and large leaves make it look spectacular.

Shoots often appear completely pink or white and then, after they get exposed to light, turn into light green, with cream white stripes and pink tanned sheath blades.

Young shoot just starting to take off!
Fargesia rufa shoot

Fargesia rufa is clumping bamboo that shoots early. Usually first shoots emerge in early to mid March.

Dense hair on the shoot offer good protection from pest that wakes up early in the spring, like slugs for example.

 

 

 

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Spring 2014

Spring 2014

With warm weather, dormancy ended and new growth cycle started.

arundo-donax-variegataI stored weak Arundo donax Variegata divisions from last year in heated place without enough light. They survived, but not without casualties. Plants ended up even weaker and hopefully they will recover when I finally plant them outside. I learned my lesson to never store Arundo donax inside during the winter again. Most of the unvariegated clones I got by layering ended badly. Only two plants remain alive above ground, many died below the soil level as well. Heat, low light level and wet soil with minimal oxygen capacity did their worst. I left one clone outside and it froze and thawed continuously until spring, now it’s also waking up. It may end up the best.
One variegated shoot already decided it’s about time to break free.

Buds swelled early when temperatures were still low. It looks like they can take several late freezes if not too big.
Buds swelled early when temperatures were still low. It looks like they can take several late freezes if not too big.

Borinda fungosa seedling that got fried when temperatures dropped to around -10°C is regenerating. First branch buds are pale green, some of them almost white. Pale leaves that are starting to form have that distinctive pinkish tan like many other variegated bamboos. It doesn’t seem to be variegated though, no true leaves are fully formed yet.
Branches on last year's autumn shoot.
Branches on last year’s autumn shoot.
With some of the branches gone, new set is emerging.
With some of the branches gone, new set is emerging.

 
 

Culm color as seen using camera's flash light.
Culm color as seen using camera’s flash light.
With warm sunny weather, culms that were mature enough – all except the last autumn shoots, became dark brown. The more sun the culm receives, darker it becomes. It seems that after a while with some more sun exposure, dark brown color becomes almost red. Autumn shoots remained green despite growing in identical conditions. Without leaves there’s a lot of light and it will be interesting to see if culm color can get even more intense.

 

After prolonged sun exposure, even the newest shoots began to turn color from green to shiny dark brown. Culms get their specific color and they have a glossy look, just as they were polished. Young culms with wax coating take longer to change color. Culms with old, partly degraded remains of culm sheaths, can be totally brown, but beneath the straw colored sheath remnants, culms are green. During the spring, there are almost no leaves on fungosa, which means there’s a lot of light.

Fascinating colors on almost completely defoliated bamboo
Fascinating colors on almost completely defoliated bamboo

Amazing branching of Borinda fungosa
Amazing branching of Borinda fungosa

Hibanobambusa tranquillans Shirosima's elongated buds.
Hibanobambusa tranquillans Shirosima’s elongated buds.
Other bamboos also started to grow and will most likely start shooting as well. Hibanobambusa tranquillans ‘Shiroshima’ is already growing new branches and will soon replace leaves that got mildly fried by winter cold.

One of the last plants that started growing was cold hardy Hibiscus Hibiscus moscheutos. It was started from seed year ago and I can only speculate if it’s label was actually correct. Color of it’s flowers also remains a mystery.

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