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Fargesia nitida - (Mitford.)Keng.f. ex T.P.Yi.

Common Name Fountain Bamboo
Family Poaceae or Gramineae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Damp semi-wooded regions[200]. Found at altitudes up to 3000 metres on the northern sides of mountains[195].
Range E. Asia - C. and W. China in Szechwan and Kansu.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Fargesia nitida Fountain Bamboo

Fargesia nitida Fountain Bamboo


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Fargesia nitida is an evergreen Bamboo growing to 4 m (13ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5. It is in leaf all year. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Arundinaria nitida. Fargesia nitida.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Hedge;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Basketry  Hedge  Hedge  Plant support  Wood

The plant makes a good dense shelter hedge[162]. The canes can be used as plant supports, they can also be woven into hurdles etc and used in basket making, sieves, light construction and fencing[25, 195].

Special Uses

Hedge  Hedge

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Tolerates a wide range of soils and sites[200] but prefers a damp humus-rich soil in sun or semi-shade[1, 11]. Plants are best grown in the shade, their leaves curling up when in strong sunlight[200]. Dislikes drought[1]. A slow growing plant, it prefers a position sheltered from cold north and east winds[11]. This species is particularly sensitive to cold winds[162]. Most leaves are produced at the tops of the stems. A very ornamental and hardy bamboo, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c[1, 200]. The plant has a running rootstock but it only spreads slowly in the British climate and never becomes invasive. New shoots are produced from late May[25]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Plants only flower at intervals of many years. When they do come into flower most of the plants energies are directed into producing seed and consequently the plant is severely weakened. They sometimes die after flowering, but if left alone they will usually recover though they will look very poorly for a few years. If fed with artificial NPK fertilizers at this time the plants are more likely to die[122].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - surface sow as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse at about 20°c. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination usually takes place fairly quickly so long as the seed is of good quality, though it can take 3 - 6 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a lightly shaded place in the greenhouse until large enough to plant out, which could take 2 - 3 years. The plants only flower at intervals of several years and so seed is rarely available. Division as the plants come into growth in spring. Take divisions with at least three canes in the clump, trying to cause as little root disturbance to the main plant as possible. Grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse in pots of a high fertility sandy medium. Mist the foliage regularly until plants are established. Plant them out into their permanent positions when a good root system has developed, which can take a year or more[200]. Basal cane cuttings. Rhizome cuttings.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Mitford.)Keng.f. ex T.P.Yi.

Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

Les Nicholl   Wed Apr 25 2007

Sirs, I planted a Fargesia nitida in 2004 and it progressed in the following two seasons. Last year it flowered and set seed which look attractive at the moment. I am informed that the plant will now die; is this correct and if so I am informed that the plant will now die. Is this correct and if so can i replace it with the same variety? If so do you have any in stock? Kind regards Les Nicholl [email protected]

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Wed May 9 2007

This plant will usually die after flowering. However, although it will look untidy for a few years, it does sometimes recover and live healthily for many more years. If you feel you need to replace it, then the cheapest way is to collect some of your seed and sow it immediately in the greenhouse. It will taske a few years for the plants to attain a good size - if you need a large plant sooner than this then there are lots of nurseries in Britain that sell the plant. Visit The Plantfinder website at http://www.rhs.org.uk/RHSPlantFinder/plantfinder.asp for details of nurseries that sell the plant.

Jude Tarrant   Sun Apr 1 2007

My Fargesia Nitida has flowered this year 2007 in March in south of England, Hampshire. I would be interested if this is a widespread occurrance?

lissa   Wed May 30 2007

mine is coming up again after I cut it and put it in the compost pile. I will be anxious to see if it still flowers more, or continues to grow. iIt is already about 4 inches high. L

charlie   Mon Sep 3 2007

I am considering using this instead of Privet in my front garden to shield us from the road. I have heard that some Bamboos have roots which are not good for the house foundations and was wondering if this plant would be OK.

Philip J Batchelor   Mon Nov 26 2007

I have a large clump of 'nitida', which duly flowered. I cut all the stems to ground lvel, but was unable to mattock-out the clump (which I presumed would die), due to it's size and my bad back. Lo and behold, many new shoots have surged forth, reaching 4 feet plus in height. These have no sign of flower buds and look healthy?

Brian   Wed Dec 5 2007

I live in southern England. Both fargesia nitida and fargesia nitida'Nymphenburg'in the garden have flowered this year. I'd be interested to know how widespread the flowering has been this year.

Phoebe Bright   Wed Jan 30 2008

My well establish clump has just started flowering now in January 2008 in SW Ireland.

Marie Ross   Tue Feb 12 2008

I have just been outside to attend to my bamboo - which has been looking sad for months - and I now know why - it is covered in seed. I'm gutted to have missed the flowers, discrete though they may have been. I have removed the seed and am going to try sowing it. My main plant already has some green leaves and new shoots - although not as many as usual so it doesn't appeared to have died yet. I have had this plant in a huge pot by my front door for 12 years - I'll do my best to keep it going!! I'll let you know how it goes

Sarah Walker   Fri Mar 14 2008

We have has several plants that we bought almost 3 years ago and they and have been thriving in our garden. Suddenly they are now in flower (March 08) and we are concerned that this may result in the plants dying as we love this pretty bamboo. Fingers crossed they will recover, we will be gutted if they die after growing so much in 3 years. Was it anything we did wrong?

Janet   Fri Dec 28 2007

I live in Suffolk, England and my Fargesia nitida Nymphenburg has flowered and is setting seed at the moment. I'm told that it will now die. Is there anything I can do to stop this or alternatively how do I harvest the seed, when is it ready and how do I grow a new one from seed?

janice   Mon Mar 10 2008

I live in Aberdeen, Scotland and have just had to cut down my lovely clump of nitida nymphenburg as it flowered and turned brown! I assumed, hopefully correctly, that it had died but having read some of your comments I now wonder if I jumped the gun! Any thoughts.

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Sat Mar 15 2008

I'm afraid that this species is flowering in many gardens at present. It is not anything that you did wrong, just a part of the natural life-cycle of the plant. Unfortunately, the plant is quite likely to die and, even if it does survive, it will look rather poorly for a while and will take a few years before it fully recovers - though it is well worth giving it the opportunity if it does keep any green growth. The other alternative is to harvest some of the seed once it has formed and sow it immediately (preferably in pots in a greenhouse), only just covering it with soil. It will usually germinate quite freely and you will end up with lots of plants that you will be able to share with your friends.

Marie Ross   Sun Mar 16 2008

I have done some research since mine has been looking sad, due to it flowering and it seems that the plant won't neccessarily die - but will take some years to recover. They flower on a twelve year cycle I believe, so I should enjoy the flowers, collect the seed when its ripe and the little lime green seeds are starting to be released and try and sow them. Mine looks as though it is on its last legs, but there are tiny shoots appearing - and I have cut a "dead" looing stem only to find it's not dead inside !! Be kind to it - obviously producing it's seed is taxing for it and needs a rest!! Good luck

Mrs T A Brown   Sat Mar 29 2008

We, too, have a Fargesia nitida Nymphenburg purchased and planted in a large tub in May 2005 whilst living in Hampshire. We moved to Cornwall 18 months ago bringing our bamboos with us. Last summer (2007) our Fargesia nitida Nymphenburg started to flower, although at the time I did not fully realise what was happening. I cut the brown culms out but sadly the rest turned to flower and this Spring I have seen the green hanging 'flowers' and now have many seeds on those culms left. I have read various bits about it's quality of life now, but I do hope ours survives. It cost £50.00 to buy and I feel we have not fully had our money's worth! Mrs T. Brown, Looe, Cornwall 29.03.08

Gaye Watton   Thu Apr 3 2008

i am in Clacton on sea and have just noticed one of my fargesia flowering today 3/4/08

Ric   Fri Apr 18 2008

I like to grow some of this in my shady back garden. I understand nitida is the bamboo most suited to shade. Would anyone like to send me some seed please if I send an SAE? Bamboo seed is rare so I expect its very expensive otherwise. pebble1024 at tesco dot net Thanks.

Andy Cotterill   Sat May 17 2008

We have three Fargesia nitida all from different sources and ages. They all started partially flowering in 2006. This year (2008) thaty have fully flowered and turned brown with only a few green leaves remaining. Fortunately seed sown last year germanated and we now have a number of small plants. Will the plants in flower recover and should I cut them back?

Martin Nicklin   Sun May 25 2008

My fargesia has flowered this year so I pulled out a cane and underground were there were new shoot buds at the very base of the cane. I had heard that the plants should be discarded once they have flowered but having seen these underground buds I will be leaving mine in situ and just cutting down the old canes.

   Wed Jun 11 2008

My FIL has a Fargesia nitida that has flowered. I bought it for him about 5/6 years ago. Mine is only 3 years old and has not flowered. We both live in Hampshire.

   Sun Jun 29 2008

Can't you just stop it flowering by cutting them off?

Victor Smetacek   Wed Jul 30 2008

Our garden is in Bremerhaven, Germany and I first noticed our clumps of Fargesia nitida flowering in November 2007. I expected they would die but left them for the birds. When our murielae flowered some years ago various finches gorged on the seeds. Any way, the nitida are now all looking well and greening rapidly so they are going to survive. I am surprised and glad I did not cut them back. Interestingly most clumps (from the same plant) are Nymphenburg but there is one other variety whose name I forget which is shorter and more upright. It also flowered simultaneously and is now recovering.

martin nicklin   Wed Sep 24 2008

Following my e-mail in May, I can now report that my fargesia has started to re-grow from the underground buds at the base of the canes after removing the "dead" old canes. Some of the new canes are already about a metre tall although I wait to see if the new plant forms as thick a clump as the original. It is obviously worth a go as bamboo plants can be quite expensive.

Knud Christensen   Fri Oct 3 2008

martin nicklin, the new canes will flower and die. What I recommend is, that you collector or buy some seeds. Sow them on your windowsill. You'll get lots of inexpensive new plants. Knud


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