This genus comes from Central and South America where there are about 90 species. Uniquely, the Chusqueas have solid culms and exhibit a whorl of multiple branches at each node, giving them a distinctive look. Leaves are usually small and narrow, and most are clumpers with gracefully arching or trailing culms and branches. While highly ornamental and mostly tolerant of acid soil, many have little heat tolerance and are difficult to establish. Coastal California and much of the San Francisco Bay Area have prime Chusquea climates. Most are newly introduced to the U.S. and hard to find. Shooting is in the spring for most species.
(CHCI) Beautiful tropical bamboo from Chiapas, Mexico, with long narrow leaves, ¼" x 3 ½". Culms grow up to 20' and are shiney dark brown with full sun and light brown with less sun. Has a feathery weeping look early in life. As the plant gets older, it becomes more upright and dense. Requires excellent drainage and tops will die in temperatures colder than 20 degrees for more than 10 days. Returns to same height if roots have been well-mulched. Does poorly in areas where summer temperatures go over 100 in the daytime and remain above 70 F. at night.
(CHCQ) A superlative hardy ornamental, long cultivated in England but new to the USA. One of the most beautiful and colorful Chusqueas, with dark blue-green nodes on lime-green to yellow culms. Mature plants look like tall clumps of giant feathers. They grow 20' tall at high elevations in Southern Chile and will thrive between 0 and 90 F.
(CHCUM) A climbing bamboo with attractive bluish leaves and trailing canes which may reach 1" in diameter, 40' in length, and 10' in height, depending on surrounding foliage, or a large arbor or trellis for support. Makes a very effective canopy; best in a large scale environment. A clumping type, but…this is one of a handful of bamboos that grow new culms from the nodes of existing culms as well as from the root. Hardy to 10 degrees, preferring half to full day of sun.
(CHCW) New to the U.S. and another very striking Chusquea resembling CHCQ. Lime green culms with dark green nodes are tall and upright with weeping branches and delicate green foliage, also resembling giant, arching feathers. It grows to 20' tall with 1½" diameter in N. California and is hardy to 0 degrees.
(CHGI) Another Chusquea new to the U.S., growing about 25' tall and 1¾" inches in diameter with exceptionally long branches at 3-4½ feet. This plant has an airy look, a delightful specimen plant but too open for screening.
(CHMI) A new introduction from southern Brazil, this is a very interesting and delicate looking plant. Widely arching canes with small, delicate branches and leaves create a lacey fountain shape. In the spring, new shoots growing up through the clump are initially black, turning more burgundy color as they gain height. Then the culm sheaths fall, revealing light green smooth canes with slightly enlarged nodes. Grows to 15' tall with 1" diameter canes in Brazil and is cold hardy to 20 degrees. Prefers a half-day of sun, but may grow in full sun.
(CHMU) A new introduction from Mexico, this is a small, deeply weeping, trailing bamboo, with dense foliage. Very thin culms have slightly widened nodes and medium size green leaves, 5" x ¾". Best in bright light to a half-day of afternoon sun. Cold hardy to 22 F.
(CHNI) May be a dwarf form of culeou. It grows from 6 to 10', has stiffly vertical leaves and branches, and thrives between 0 and 90 degrees. It is one of the few bamboos which can grow in very wet soils, as well in typical garden conditions. Needs acid soil to look its best.
(CHSU) One of the most beautiful, graceful and tropical looking bamboos, the sulcata has golden yellow culms with dark green widened nodes and very thin, feathery green leaves, 4-5" in length, on a whorl of short branches surrounding each node. Very delicate and airy with an umbrella shape overall, growing to 8-15' tall and 1" in diameter. Tolerates temperatures down to only 28 degrees and likes half to a full day of sun. Will die back at 20 degrees, but if mulched grows back to same height in one season. Does poorly in areas where summer temperatures go over 100 in the daytime and remain above 70 F. at night.
(CHVA) The largest of the climbing bamboos and the most robust of Chilean bamboos, reaching heights of 80' by clambering up trees and draping them with curtains of foliage. Culms grow to 1 ½" in diameter. Attractive on a large scale with trees or a large trellis for support. This is the largest of a handful of bamboos that grow new culms from the nodes of existing culms as well as from the root. Its temperature range is 10 to 100 degrees.
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