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Alphonse Karr Bamboo

Fact sheet: Alphonse Karr Bamboo


Scientific name: Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’

Plant Type: Grass

Foliage: Evergreen

Height: 20 ft. to 35 ft.

Width: 10 ft.

Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial Sun

Climate: Zones 9, 10

Notes: Thrives in Hot Climates. Container Plants, Low Maintenance. Susceptible to Aphids.

Bamboos are members of the grass family (Gramineae) and are classified into two main categories: clumping and running. Clumping varieties do not run in all directions but form a tight beautiful clump.

The Alphonse Karr bamboo is a medium-sized clumping variety, as its culms (stems) grow in a compact, symmetrical circle, because of its short, closely spaced rhizomes. The culms of the Alphonse Karr bamboo are not green, but yellow with a bright stripe of green down the middle. Young shoots emerging from the ground are tinged with pink.

Alphonse Karr bamboo is possibly the best clumping bamboo for a tall hedge or barrier planting. It responds well to pruning and at a height of 20-35 feet is suitable for many urban landscapes as either a privacy screen or feature plant. It also makes a wonderful container plant for a well lit area, and the stems are suitable as line items in floral arrangements.

Hardy to -5° and easy to grow, green stems of these bamboos may reach 25 feet in dry conditions with little feeding and where rhizomes are contained. Drought tolerant once established, it can survive almost any condition, even high winds and sea salt. With water, fertilizer and no control, the plant may reach 55 feet.

Space plants about 8 feet apart for dense coverage. Feed heavily in spring when new stems start to form. Propagate by division in May or early June, or cut the rooted base of a clump of stems and plant it in rich soil. Control fungal and bacterial leaf spots by spraying. Watch for aphids, cottony scales and bamboo borer.

Planted in Nassau County Extension Demonstration Garden