If you are looking for a bamboo that will provide a dense screen, buffer wind, block sound and tolerate winter temperatures that dip into the high teens, Bambusa multiplex Silverstripe is the bamboo for you. This extremely functional bamboo is also one of the least expensive bamboos we stock, which makes it ideal for long fence lines or perimeter plantings.
The clump of multiplex that our daughter Jenny is kneeling next to was planted in 2002 from a 3-gal size plant with only one single cane. Over the years as the root system developed, new shoots appeared around that first cane to form what soon became a leafy, thick cold-hardy clump of sound-, sight- and wind-buffering bamboo. Looking at how it looks now, it's hard to believe that large clump started with just one single cane. But it did!
Multiplex has been a landscape fixture for decades in many southeastern states. It is often found surrounding the perimeter of old homesteads, especially here in Florida. When we first moved to our property, we planted extensive stands of Green Hedge. Those that were planted in rich, peaty soil grew huge while the ones we planted at the same time in sandy, nutrient-poor soil grew about a third as tall as their rich-soil counterparts. The smaller plants are still healthy, they just grew slower due to the less rich soil.
Below are four pictures of multiplex that show how quickly a 3-gal size plant with just one cane can grow into a large verdant clump.
The one-month-old multiplex above started out with just one cane - the smaller one to the left. The cane on the right appeared shortly after it was planted. Below are two more pictures of the same plant after it has been in the ground for one year:
Notice that some of the new shoots are yellow with green stripes. As the culms mature, they lose the yellow color and turn green. However, sometimes a bit of striping remains lower down on the culm. The young leaves are often striped as well, as can be seen in the forefront of the picture below. That's what gives this particular strain of Bambusa multiplex the name "Silverstripe."
The same one-year-old bamboo seen from afar, below:
Below are two pictures of mature fence line plantings of Bambusa multiplex Silverstripe bamboos. Both plantings started with lines of 3-gal size plants spaced 10' apart. The bottom photo was taken when the stand was about 5 years old. The top photo with our son Toby standing next to the bamboo, was taken when the bamboo and Toby were both about 9 years old. They say kids grow up fast but bamboo grows up faster!