Karr bamboo is not only incredibly beautiful but
mild-mannered too -- and a must-have plant for creating
that special corner of paradise. You may be thinking,
"Are you kidding me, bamboo?" Yes absolutely
-- donít forget that it is only a grass.
know that Alphonse Karr is a clumping bamboo known
botanically as Bambusa multiplex, with canes or culms
that are bright golden yellow with irregular or random
green stripes. For the Japanese Garden, or Tropical
Garden, nothing can compete with its look and texture.
bamboo is not the most-cold hardy but many
horticulturists and nursery staffers recommend it for
zone 7 and warmer. They report severe damage at zero
degrees, but able to make a spring return from the
ground. Ours got a little burned at 18 degrees but still
looks very showy.
Karr forms a natural vase shape with a slow outward
spread, allowing you to maintain its size to fit your
location. As it grows you can determine the density of
your clump by removing or thinning culms -- or let it
grow to be impenetrable.
gardeners are under the impression you simply stick a
bamboo in the ground and then run for cover. Like any
other plant, bamboo has cultural requirements to get
established and then to look its best.
grows best in fertile, well-drained soils that are
slightly acidic. Similarly to planting a holly, dig the
hole twice as large as the rootball but no deeper. You
want to plant at the same depth it is growing in the
container. Alphonse Karr grows best in sun to part sun
and the brighter light just seems to add to the radiance
of the bright golden yellow culms.
Karr bamboo only grows a short distance before sending
up new canes. On clumping bamboo new growth begins in
early summer with onset of high temperatures and
rainfall. New shoots will continually sprout out right
through frost. During the second season these canes will
develop side branches and leaves.
a clumping bamboo it excels as a screen or hedge. We use
it as specimen planting at the entrance to our Judge
Arthur Solomon Camellia Trail where it is simply
unbeatable. Here it is in close proximity to large deep
red camellia blossoms. In another area it flanks columns
at what was our historical entrance.
our garden we have about 70 different bamboos from all
over the world. We have exotic snakeskin bamboo, ghost
bamboo, zigzag bamboo and various black bamboos that are
ever so striking. We have bamboo brought to the country
by great plant explorers like Frank Meyer, Floyd McClure
and David Fairchild. But the Alphonse Karr bamboo, named
for a French writer and newspaper man who lived in Nice,
is among the showiest in the garden, drawing attention
from all who visit. It will do the same for your garden,