Phyllostachys nigra ‘Megurochiku’, also known as the Black Stripe Bamboo, has olive-green stems with a circumferential black stripe running through the sulcus. This hardy, drought-resistant bamboo species native to Japan can grow quite tall.
- Common name: Black Stripe Bamboo
- Botanical Name: Phyllostachys nigra ‘Megurochiku’
- Type: Running
- Average height: 30-45 ft (10.6-13.7 m)
- Average diameter: 3.0-3.5 in (7.6-8.9 cm)
- Hardiness: 0°F (-20C°)
- USDA Zones: 7-10
- UK Hardiness Zones: H6-H2
- Light requirements: Light to full sun
- Best use: Landscape, ornamental, privacy screen, crafts
Megurochiku is a type of Black Bamboo but despite the name, it does not have a solid black stem. Instead, this bamboo produces olive-green stems that develop a black stripe through the sulcus. This particular bamboo has a slow growth as it tends to produce erect canes that can reach 30 feet and more if the right conditions are provided.
Once established, Megurochiku can be used to form a screen or a hedge. The extensive dark greenish foliage and many culms offer great privacy. Also, the straight canes are durable and can be used for a fence, arts, crafts, and decorations.
What does Phyllostachys nigra ‘Megurochiku’ look like?
Megurochiku has erect canes that can easily grow to 30 feet. Initially, the new culms are glossy dark green with black stripes along the nodal grooves but with aging, the canes will develop a slightly gray/brownish/greenish tinge. With more sunlight exposure, the contrast between the black stripes and the culms will be better defined.
Megurochiku is an exceptionally strong bamboo and will remain upright for most of its life. The culm sheaths tend to develop wavy blades with prominent auricles, oral setae, and ligules.
What are the best growing conditions for Megurochiku?
Megurochiku is a slow-growing bamboo. To ensure healthy and rapid growth, it is vital to provide the right environment and climate. This particular bamboo is drought-resistant and tolerates the sun better than many other bamboo species. It can be grown in either partial shade or full sun. Complete shade will not allow the plant to thrive. Megurochiku thrives in a warm climate but with less humidity.
A minimum of 6 hours of sun is recommended. Thus, it is vital to check out the planting area first to ensure it meets the sunshine requirements. If the right amount of light is not received, the bamboo culms will appear pale and there will be fewer leaves.
Megurochiku is best grown in sandy or clay loam with good drainage. The soil should be assessed before planting for pH, nutrients, and other minerals. The pH of the soil should be slightly acidic (5.5-6.5). If you want to make sure, you can get a pH soil tester – Read more about it here. During the initial growth phase, the bamboo will need extra fertilizer which is rich in phosphorus. If the composition of the soil is weak, then it can be improved with a layer of organic soil.
How to plant Megurochiku
Once the soil has been tested, the bed should be prepared by removing all the weeds in the area.
The soil drainage needs to be assessed as well. If water collects in the area, one may need to construct some type of drainage solution because too much water will prevent the roots from anchoring and attract all types of bugs.
As it is a running bamboo, you need to install barriers to contain the plant. We have written a whole article about this topic.
Once the bamboo has been planted, regular assessment is needed as the plant is usually fragile during the early stages of growth. The best time to plant Megurochiku is in early spring. The first signs of growth will appear in late summer and the following spring, one will see the growth of the culms and leaves.
The growth rate of Megurochiku is slow for a running bamboo. It will take 8-12 years for the bamboo to reach full maturity.
How to care for Megurochiku?
Unlike some other bamboo species, Megurochiku does require a high degree of maintenance. The reason is that this running bamboo can quickly invade the landscape and become a nuisance.
Once Megurochiku starts to grow, one should regularly assess the growth and spread. The bamboo is invasive and thus it requires regular pruning, thinning, and shearing.
The old leaves and stem need to be removed at least twice a year – in early spring and autumn. Also, to restore the size, stems, rhizomes, and leaves, you will need to shear it. To improve the aesthetics of the landscape when trimming, always cut the canes in different rows.
Overall, Megurochiku is quite drought-resistant. But like all bamboo plants, Megurochiku needs regular watering if the rainfall is sparse.
However, it is vital not to apply too much water as it can deprive the roots of oxygen and prevent anchoring. Further, the excess water can cause root rot.
Disease and Safety
Megurochiku is a hardy plant and is deer resistant. However, slugs and mites can be a problem in warm humid weather. Therefore, one must carefully examine the leaves and remove all pests, or they will damage the plant.
In some cases, you may have to use some type of miticide to prevent an infestation from bugs. To prevent slugs and mites, keep the landscape on the dry side, and remove any collected water on a timely basis.
If you want to propagate Megurochiku, just divide the rhizome and plant it elsewhere. But be aware this bamboo can be invasive if it is allowed to grow without checks.