Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’

Dense, clumping (non-invasive), gold-striped stems, pink new growth, green foliage, wandlike habit. Modest height, great as soft hedge/screen.
height 15–35ft
width 5–10ft
tolerates Cold, Heat, Moist Soil, Pots
Moderate – High
Bamboo adds a lush look to any garden and will need regular irrigation to look its vibrant best. These plants are tough; once established, they usually won’t die without irrigation, but they might start to look defoliated, droopy, and dry. Regular watering will give them their signature lushness!
exposure Part Shade – Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Planting Mix, In Pots: Potting Soil, Tolerates Heavy Soil, Tolerates Sandy Soil
fertilizing All Purpose
origin S China
8, 9, 12–24, H2

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

Avoid particularly windy spots.
Clumping Bamboo does not have the escape artist qualities that can give running bamboo a bad reputation. These bamboos will make a slowly expanding circular clump and do not need a bamboo liner. If you would like to have a long line of bamboo, such as along a driveway, you will want to plant multiples spaced evenly. If you plant it along a fenceline, clumping bamboo may end up forming part of its clump on the other side of the fence.
Bamboo looks best when the old shoots are thinned out annually; this also invigorates the bamboo and encourages it to send out new growth. You can also prune up the ‘branches’ to expose the canes, or prune the tips of those branches and thin them to get a staggered bonsai effect. You can also top bamboo if it gets too tall, or if you’d like to have it look more formal like a hedge. However, some people feel this ruins the natural plume silhouette.
Remember that Bamboo is a grass, and that will help you understand how to care for it, from watering to pruning and fertilizing. It likes food and water in order to look vibrant and appreciates nitrogen. Fertilize during the growing season from March through October. A yearly addition of compost and mulch in the fall is a great way to keep your bamboo looking lush and clean.
Pruning off the lower branches will expose the culms and give your plant a lighter look. You can also selectively prune out branches higher up to give it a more treelike bonsai look.

Special Interest

Many bamboos, including this one, are edible. If you’d like to taste some succulent bamboo shoots, choose an edible variety and blanch them. You can do this by covering emerging shoots in a thick layer of mulch. Once they poke through the mulch, dig back to ground level and cut the bamboo there. You can also fill a bucket with mulch and cut a hole in the bottom. Guide the bamboo shoot through the hole as it emerges from the soil and cut it off below the bucket when it emerges from the top of the mulch.

When bamboo blooms it is synchronized among plants of the same type worldwide over a couple of years. The reason for this is still a bit of a mystery, but it likely has to do with the plant’s production through division, which essentially means that the worldwide population is one cloned plant. Often after bamboo blooms it becomes ragged or dies completely, needing to be replaced. Luckily blooming bamboo are exceedingly rare.