Red bamboo stems

Red Bamboo Plant “Fargesia Jiuzhaigou”

This bamboo got its name from the red color of new culms. The red bamboo plant, also known as Red Dragon, needs enough sunlight in order to get red culms. Later they become a mellow yellow color.

Quick Facts

  • Common name: Red Dragon
  • Botanical Name: Fargesia Jiuzhaigou (pronounced: ju-zie-go)
  • Type: Clumping
  • Average height: 9-12 ft (2.7-3.7 m)
  • Average diameter: 1 inch (2.5 cm)
  • Hardiness: -20°F (-30°C)
  • USDA Zones: 5-9
  • Light requirements: Prefers mostly sunny environments, but not intense sunlight
  • Best use: Privacy screen, ornamental
USDA Zones 5-9 highlighted on a map
USDA Zones 5-9

What are the characteristics of red bamboo?

This plant is a very popular clumping bamboo that is sought after for its bold-colored stalks and light feathery evergreen leaves that look divine in any garden.

This bamboo species is highly ornamental with new culms starting out a bright red color. They will grow mostly upright because Red Dragon has very tiny leaves, which don’t weigh much. Therefore, the thin culms will not fall over too easily. The leaves start out with the red tone but turn into a light green.

Unfortunately, stalks do change to a yellow color as the plant ages.

Where to grow Red Dragon Bamboo?

This is one species of bamboo that does well in containers. Many people who grow red dragon in a container experience the brightest and most vibrant stalks.

It’s also extremely cold hardy, so it’s a good option for people who are looking for a bamboo species that will grow outside in the winter.

Besides its decorative uses, it is probably most known for its use as a screen, privacy fencing, or hedge.

Fargesia Jiuzhaigou is a clumping plant so you don’t have to worry about using control barriers. One thing you should note is that clumping bamboo plants don’t fill in screens or hedges as quickly as runners. So, if you want to use Fargesia Jiuzhaigou you should be prepared to wait a couple of years for them to properly fill in or you should be willing to buy more plants.

Buying the extra plants with clumping varieties can get costly, but it is one of the most preferable ways to make a good screen without putting in a barrier.

This bamboo loves the sun so you can plant it in the sun without worrying. So, plant it somewhere where it gets enough sun, preferably morning sun, not the midday sun. However, high levels of heat and humidity aren’t preferred. This means that very humid and hot areas, such as the Southeast of the US aren’t good locations to grow Red Dragon.

Red Bamboo Plant Care

The leaves will curl up in the heat of the sun or under extreme weather, but this is normal behavior for a Fargesia bamboo. They will uncurl when they get shade or when the weather gets better.

Water regularly and increase watering frequency during summer.

If you want to plant this bamboo species in a container, make sure to use a large enough planter. You have to expect to replant or to divide the plants every few years.

Red bamboo plants are easy to grow and to take care of. If this is your first experience with bamboo, you want to check out our general plant care tips!


  • Where do we buy rare bmboo species for the PHILS. Red and violet bamboo

    • Hi, I assume you mean the Philippines. I am sorry, but I am focusing on the US on my website. So, I cannot give you an answer to your question.

  • Hi
    Is it ok to plant in a large container and ‘not’ drill holes for drainage as I know Bamboos are extremely water hungry.

    • Thanks for your question, Chris. I would always drill holes because bamboo doesn’t like to grow in swampy conditions (except for some species, red dragon isn’t one of them). It will just lead to an unhealthy, maybe even dying, plant if it’s in a waterlogged container all the time.

  • Hi! How many stalks should I plant in a 2-1/2’ x 1’ planter?
    And will it take years for it to grow to make a screen?
    I live in California.
    Thank you!

    • It’s really your own preference. You can set the clumps closer to each other or further away. They, however, only grow a few inches outward every year. So, I’d recommend spreading them out rather densely. When you buy a plant, you’ll get a bundle of culms that you can divide carefully. If I want a screen faster, I’d buy 2-3 plants for 2.5 ft. It will still take around 3 years until the plant is established fully. You’ll still have a screen according to how dense you plant the culms but it won’t reach its max height within the first 2-3 years.

      • Thank you, Natalie.
        I am now thinking that I got short-changed and received a different bamboo plant. I ordered a Red Dragon, but the leaves are not feathery and the bamboo is green in color. When they grow out of the ground, is the color of the Red Dragon bamboo already red?
        Thank you, again.

        • Hi Gigs, new shoots come out green but then the culms turn red. With age they tend to turn yellow-ish brown. So, it still COULD be that you have Fargesia Jiuzhaigou. The plants need sun for getting the red color. I hope I could help a bit!

          • Thanks again. Natalie. I’ll be patient as it is a new plant and is about 2 – 2.5 feet tall. The stalks are thinner than pencils. I really hope my patience will pay off.
            If you feel that at that height It’s at already, some of the stalks should have already turned reddish in color, please let me know.
            Thank you!

          • I am not sure. You know what, your best bet is sending a photo to the store you bought it from and ask them. I would assume that there should be some red culms in there if you have 2-2.5 ft tall plants unless you haven’t gotten any sun. Also, keep in mind, that you are probably only halfway to your max. height (container height is around 4 or 5ft give or take).

  • Hi. I live in Denver CO and this is the second year of my red dragon. It seems to have wintered over well (in a container) and the stalks have some red. However, there are also many of last year’s leaves left on the stalks but dried and brown. I have a few new green leaves starting to sprout. How can I encourage new growth and what about the old leaves? Thanks!

    • Hi Francine, the dry leaves will fall off eventually. I am not sure how long it has been warm at your location but usually the new shoots and leaves emerge now (spring). So, maybe wait a bit. You can also add a little bit of (organic) fertilizer if you want to encourage the growth even further.

  • Hi
    What kind of fertilizer should I use for red dragon in the ground and what time of year do you recommend fertilizing?


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

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