What’s New, Bamboo?

The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory has more than 150 tropical plants in its permanent plant collection. Until recently, many of the plants were original to the conservatory since its opening in 1995.

Removed last month, the yellow groove bamboo or Bambusa vulgaris “vittata” made way for another bamboo species. Why? There were a few reasons…

Bamboo 2013 (64)

Bambusa ‘vittata’ is a timber bamboo in its native region. Timber bamboos grow very tall, very straight, and the stems (or culms) are thick-walled, making them extremely useful for building purposes. The height of timber bamboos can easily reach over 70 feet. As a spreading bamboo, new culms sometimes grown several feet from the previous ones; creating unwanted growth in an already limited area.


Over time, pruning the larger culms became a necessity. The canopy needed to be opened up to allow for sunlight and airflow, and the larger culms were growing into the overhead structure of the Conservatory. It became apparent that the best thing to do was to remove the yellow groove bamboo.

Removing the bamboo required the professional services of Bartlett Tree Services as they cut each culm, one by one, over the course of a day. Frederik Meijer Gardens’ Horticulture staff dug up the roots and tended the soil before new bamboo was planted.


The new bamboo, Bambusa multiplex or “Thai Beauty,” was chosen by Horticulturist Lucinda Grover for its clumping growth habit. This means the new culms will not spread outward, but emerge from the base of the plant. Native to Thailand, this bamboo’s leaves are small, giving a more graceful and airy appearance. “Thai Beauty” only reaches around 35 feet and features culms in a deep olive green color.

See if you can spot the“Thai Beauty” bamboo as you enter the Tropical Conservatory during your next visit!

Bamboo 2013 (55)

One thought on “What’s New, Bamboo?

  1. Pingback: A Look Back at 2013 [Part III] | Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

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