Bambusa chungii with greyish blue culms in a forest

Bambusa Chungii ‘Tropical Blue Bamboo’

Bambusa chungii or Tropical Blue Bamboo is a highly sought-after bamboo that grows best in tropical or subtropical areas. It’s slightly cold-tolerant and does particularly well in Australia, Southern California, and Florida, though it can grow outside of these areas if the conditions are right.

Quick facts

  • Common name: Tropical Blue Bamboo
  • Botanical name: Bambusa Chungii
  • Type: Clumping 
  • Average height: 20-25 ft (6-8m)
  • Average diameter: 1.5 in (3.8cm)
  • Hardiness: 21°F (-6°C)
  • USDA Zones: 9-11
  • Light requirements: Partial to full sun 
  • Best use: Hedge, privacy screen, windbreak
Map of the U.S. with the USDA Zones 9-11 marked in green on it
USDA Zones 9-11

Bambusa chungii is a strikingly beautiful bamboo species commonly known as Tropical Blue Bamboo due to the dusty blue appearance of its culms. This unique species is native to Southern China and Vietnam.

Tropical Blue Bamboo is a rare species and an incredibly amazing selection for privacy screens and hedges. This non-invasive bamboo can brighten up even the dullest garden!

If you’re looking for a bamboo that’s different from the more traditional green bamboo, or if you’re just looking to add a unique species to your bamboo garden, then Bambusa chungii is a great choice for you! Keep reading to learn more about what it looks like, what growing conditions are best, and how to best take care of it.

What does Bambusa chungii look like?

Bambusa chungii is a gorgeous, medium-sized evergreen bamboo with upright culms. It’s best known for its unique blue look given by the white powder covering the culms.

Tropical Blue Bamboo is a clumping type of bamboo that is nevertheless a very vigorous grower. In fact, it can get up to its maximum height in just a few years!

It also has an upright growth habit, which, combined with its rapid growth, makes this bamboo ideal for use as a beautiful privacy screen, hedge, or windbreak.

There’s no doubt that you’ll adore the lush foliage and impressive tidy look of this bamboo in your garden. Plus, it has incredibly long internodes, which make Bambusa chungii perfect for many kinds of crafts or DIY projects.

Greyish blue bamboo culms in a forest with the text: Bambusa chungii - Tropical Blue Bamboo

What are the best growing conditions for Bambusa chungii?

Bambusa chungii is an incredibly fast-growing plant, which means that it requires a steady supply of food, nutrients, and water. If you want it to reach its maximum height and width, you’ll need to make sure it gets enough water and also give it regular feedings of fertilizer and/or compost.

In the right conditions, Tropical Blue Bamboo develops into large, mature clumps in just 3-5 years. For best results, plant it in full sun (partial shade is okay too).

Despite its fast growth habit, this gorgeous bamboo is a relatively low-maintenance bamboo. Although it needs a lot of water in its early years of development, it becomes relatively drought-tolerant once established.

Without the ideal growing conditions, Tropical Blue Bamboo will grow sparsely and take much longer to mature. So let’s go over the specific requirements in a little more depth.

Light requirements

Bambusa chungii thrives in full sun. It can tolerate partial shade, but don’t expect a particularly impressive growth rate if planted in the shade. It can grow in dappled, partial, or indirect sunlight, but its growth habit will be more sparse and may become pale.

When planting, make sure to position this bamboo species in an area of your landscape that gets the most sunlight, and avoid spots that are shaded by buildings or other trees. In the right light conditions, Bambusa chungii can reach an impressive height of roughly 20 ft after about 2-3 years!

Soil requirement

Because Bambusa chungii is such a vigorous grower, it prefers fertile, well-draining soil. The soil should be moist, but not soggy or swampy.

It’ll grow in most soil types, but if you’re worried about the quality of your soil, you can add compost and mulch. Both compost and mulch will add valuable nutrients and will increase the water-retention qualities of your soil. Before planting, mix compost with the soil. After planting, add a thick layer of mulch and repeat every year.

How to plant Bambusa chungii

Tropical Blue Bamboo is a remarkable species of bamboo and is highly sought after. Whether you grow it indoors or outdoors, as a landscape plant or privacy screen, it will add texture, elegance, and beauty to your space.

Although Tropical Blue Bamboo isn’t particularly difficult to grow, it does require some care and regular feeding to support its vigorous growth.

Bambusa chungii can be planted in dry or rainy areas, but it’s not ideal for climates where the temperature can drop below 21°F (-6°C). Even a few hours below this temperature can severely damage the bamboo and stunt its growth, so make sure to consider your climate before planting. Generally, it’ll do best in USDA plant hardiness zones 9a to 11.

The best time to plant Bambusa chungii is in Spring. This will give it enough time to grow new shoots before it slows down when the weather cools again. The earlier in the season you plant tropical bamboo such as this one, the faster the growth of your plant. Simply dig a hole where you wish to plant it, mix in some compost or fertilizer, and cover the root ball or cutting with soil and water thoroughly.

If you’re planting Bambusa chungii for a privacy screen or windbreak, leave at least 6 to 8 ft between plants when planting. Since it’s a clumping type of bamboo, it won’t spread aggressively. You don’t need to bother about containing it, unless you are planting it close to another building or your neighbor’s yard. Either way, you can easily cut out excess shoots to keep Bambusa chungii in check.

How to care for Tropical Blue Bamboo

Tropical Blue Bamboo is a very unique plant and luckily it’s pretty easy to maintain! In its first few years, it’s important to water regularly. However, once it’s established it can thrive with less frequent watering.

Bamboo shoot growing out of the ground

Similarly, it’s particularly important to feed your bamboo regularly in its early years to ensure a fast and healthy growth habit. We recommend using a slow-release fertilizer rich in nitrogen, which will ensure your bamboo gets all the required nutrients for its growth. Bambusa chungii is a hungry plant, so feeding it will ensure it grows into a large, mature plant in just a few years.

Make sure to read our article about bamboo plant food here!

To properly care for your Tropical Blue Bamboo and achieve your desired look, you’ll need to prune it each year. Take the time in early Spring to remove any dead and damaged culms to let in more light and show off new culms.

Watering

You should water Bamboo chungii thoroughly, especially in its first few months and years. However, make sure that your soil is well-draining! Bamboo won’t grow well in soggy or swampy conditions. During hot or dry seasons, make sure to water the bamboo thoroughly at least once a week.

Although Bambusa chungii becomes more drought-tolerant once established, it still needs water to grow and survive. If you notice the leaves of this bamboo wilting or turning yellow, it could be a sign that your bamboo needs more water. An easy way to confirm this is by digging into the top few inches of the soil and checking the moisture content. If the soil feels dry, it’s probably time to water. Likewise, if the soil feels soggy, wait to water until it drains.

Pest and diseases

Another advantage of Bambusa chungii is that this bamboo is virtually disease-free. However, it’s prone to fungal spots and certain pests. In particular, you’ll need to keep an eye out for pests like bamboo borers and aphids. Aphids can damage bamboo plants seriously and can spread diseases from plant to plant.

Aphids on succulents

When dealing with pests, there are a few options.

You can use insecticidal soaps to deal with most pests, while organic pesticides such as neem oil can be very effective against soft-bodied pests such as aphids. You can prevent pests and diseases by providing your plant with enough water, food, and ventilation.

Make sure to learn about and watch out for these bamboo pests and diseases!

Propagation

There are a couple of ways to propagate Bambusa chungii. You can either use root divisions or take cuttings of sections of young rhizomes. However, it can be quite difficult to propagate this bamboo, so the best method is to carefully divide the root balls or rhizomes.

Wait to divide the roots until after the first year of growth to encourage your bamboo to get properly established. Take your cuttings or divisions and grow them in fertile, well-drained soil with adequate lighting.

Uses of Bambusa chungii

Bambusa chungii is an amazing species for landscaping with many possible uses. It has a tidy appearance, lovely, bright leaves, and an upright growth pattern that makes it perfect for privacy screens, windbreaks, or hedges. You can plant this bamboo in a row to create a stunning privacy screen in just a few years in ideal conditions!

Regardless of your desired look, Bambusa chungii will make a stunning addition to any garden. Its blue appearance is incredibly rare and unique and will ensure many compliments from friends and neighbors. It also has long internodes that can be useful for a variety of crafts.

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Woman (Natalie) and man (James) in front of bamboo

We are James and Natalie – newly-weds & nature lovers!

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