Chusquea gigantea is an amazing giant bamboo. It is thought to be the largest and the hardiest among the Chusquea variety. This species is wind-resistant and very valuable for its beautiful, solid canes.
- Common name: Giant chusquea bamboo
- Botanical name: Chusquea gigantea (previously: Chusquea aff. culeou, Chusquea breviglumis)
- Type: Clumping, semi-runner
- Average height: 20-25 ft (6 – 15 m)
- Average diameter: 1.0-1.5 in (3-5 cm)
- Hardiness: 0°F (-18°C)
- USDA Zones: 7-9
- Light requirements: Full sun to partial shade
- Best use: windbreak, privacy screen, container, clay soil, woodwork, crafting
Chusquea gigantea is a clumping bamboo introduced from Central and South America. This variety produces slightly open clusters making it more vertical and very effective screening bamboo.
It is a rare bamboo species, sought after by many bamboo enthusiasts. If you are a lover of big bamboos, this variety will be a perfect option for you.
What does Chusquea gigantea look like?
Chusquea gigantea is a beautiful evergreen bamboo. It grows quite tall but slightly smaller in temperate climates. It has straight and solid culms that are strikingly attractive with bright yellow-green color and distinct nodes.
The culm sheaths of Chusquea gigantea have a red tint and are coated with small white hairs. It looks a lot different from many other species’. Chusquea gigantea sheaths seem quite short and tight against the culm. They tend to crack or split as the culm grows but don’t fall off very readily.
Although Chusquea gigantea has a clumping rhizome system, the culms grow well spaced and in a grove of thick canes with prominent nodes. The root structure of Chusquea gigantea tends to be much deeper than other bamboo species.
What are the best growing conditions for Chusquea gigantea bamboo?
Chusquea gigantea is a very quick-growing bamboo species. Even in heavy clay soil, it can get up to 13 ft (4 m) tall just after two growing seasons. Chusquea gigantea thrives in both containers and in the ground.
You must mulch the soil to keep the plant happy. Ensure you water it correctly to avoid damaging the roots.
Chusquea gigantea loves to be in full sun or light shade. If it’s planted in a container, give it some sun in the morning and mild shade in the middle of the day. Especially if it’s a really hot climate.
You should know that this bamboo does not tolerate hot soil for too long. If you intend to plant Chusquea gigantea on the ground in an extremely hot climate, you may need to mulch the soil heavily and water it frequently.
As with most bamboo plants, Chusquea gigantea grows best in moist, fertile, humus-rich, well-draining soils, and it withstands most pH levels. This species of bamboo has been proven to thrive even in heavy clay.
You may need to add a layer of mulch when the temperature is exceptionally cold. This is especially important if you’ve just planted your bamboo.
Planting Chusquea gigantea
Once planted, Chusquea gigantea will take about two growing seasons to reach about 13 ft (4 m) tall. Although this species is a clump-forming bamboo, it also tends to spread quickly. The clumps are growing quite long which could be considered as “semi-runner.” So, you might want to leave more space around each plant.
Over a 10 year growth period, the clump may extend up to 13 ft (4 m) wide. Under optimal conditions, it could even expand to that width within half the time (5-6 years).
If you want to make sure, this bamboo doesn’t grow out of it’s garden bed, install bamboo barriers. It will prevent them from spreading too far.
This bamboo does best when planted in isolation. It is an impressive-looking solitary specimen due to its bushy appearance. You can simply plant it where you can show off its beautiful canes and giant nature.
If there is an excessive amount of vegetation around it, you will not get to appreciate the structure of the culms, sheath colors, and beautiful straight branches. You’ll need to remember this when choosing a location for this bamboo plant.
How to care for Chusquea gigantea bamboo
Chusquea gigantea does not require much maintenance once established. All you have to do is ensure you regularly water your bamboo and mulch the soil adequately. Mulching is required if your plant is exposed to excessive heat or wind.
Guarantee that bamboo in containers do not dry out in winter. The foliage is vulnerable to wind scorch. In extremely cold weather, encase containers with bubble wrap or move them to an area that has frost-free conditions.
This bamboo requires regular watering to survive the initial phase of growth. If you plant it in a container, ensure the soil is well-draining. You don’t want to kill your plant with overwatering.
As this bamboo matures it’ll be able to survive little or no watering. But for optimum results, still, ensure you water it regularly. This applies more in summer.
Disease and safety
Generally, Chusquea species are hardy and disease-free. Although, pests like slugs may appear in wet weather and damage new shoots. Ensure you remove them to prevent this.
Another way to encourage plant health is to remove dead, damaged, or weak stems in spring. Cut off flowering shoots to prevent more from blooming.
You can either decide to plant the seeds or rooted culms in spring. It is important you plant during this season so that the food reserves in the rhizome are used to produce a good flush of fresh canes in summer.
Uses of Chusquea gigantea bamboo
One of the most amazing features of Chusquea gigantea is that the canes are completely solid. This species is cultivated and harvested for its eye-catching canes, which are used in the manufacture of furniture and flooring aesthetics.
This makes it a very useful species for timber production. Its tough canes are frequently used in construction projects such as building greenhouses and outbuildings. It is also used for smaller crafts like bamboo door mats or decking.