Red bamboo or fargesia nitida ‘Jiuzhaigou’ is a cultivar of the naturally occurring fountain bamboo. And like that extremely hardy, evergreen hedging plant, red bamboo is also a highly versatile hedge plant that will tolerate a wide range of soil types and positions and – perhaps even more importantly – does not become invasive. It is that quality that makes red bamboo so suitable for hedging purposes, because due to their very fast growth rate, bamboo species are generally prone to becoming overgrown. Despite growing at an impressive rate of 50 to 75 centimetres per year, red bamboo will not become invasive. This means that your neighbours will not be unpleasantly surprised by bamboo in their garden because you chose to plant a red bamboo hedge in your garden.
Differences Between Red Bamboo and Fountain Bamboo
Though fountain bamboo and red bamboo have many of the same qualities, it is fairly easy to distinguish both varieties. The stems of mature fountain bamboo plants have an olive-purple colour, while the red bamboo can easily be recognised by the crimson colour that the stems will develop after a couple of years. When the plants have not yet matured, the differences are harder to spot, because the stems will be green for either variety. Also, the slim leaves of red bamboo may curl up during a particularly cold winter or exceptionally dry or hot periods. They will hold on to their fresh green colour, however, true to the evergreen nature of this fantastic bamboo species.
Benefits of Red Bamboo Hedging
Given the rapid growth rate of the species, it may be somewhat surprising that a red bamboo hedge does not necessarily need to be pruned every year. You can always choose to do so, as red bamboo does not mind being cut back, but with an ultimate height of 3 metres, it will not grow out of control. If you want to cut your hedge back to about 2 metres, however, It will pose no problem. Another advantage of a red bamboo hedge is the fact that it reaches its desired height very quickly; it does not need more than a few years to grow tall enough to function as a decent privacy hedge.
Unique, Low-Maintenance Bamboo Hedges
For a beautiful hedge plant with a vigorous growth rate and low maintenance requirements, look no further than red bamboo. It is an easy-going hedging variety that will thrive in virtually any soil, despite a slight preference for neutral and acidic soils, and almost any position. We would advise a position in the partial to full shade, as red bamboo does not like hot summers too much. It certainly does seem to like the conditions present in British gardens quite a bit. And with bamboo originating from the Far East, they add a charisma to your garden that native hedging plants just do not have.