A #BambooExperience: Maine, 1 Year Later

Our customer who bought 2 rufa dracocephala Rufa bamboos, aka Dragon’s Head bamboo, last year is sharing an update on their progress one year after acquiring them. These are her words and pictures:

It has been a year since planting the rufas, in my yard. There was a little growth during the summer months last year, but nothing too huge. Spring had just ended when these plants have growth spurts, so I was hoping that they were using their energy to strengthen their roots and get acclimatized to my yard.

The rufa in the middle of summer.


Once the fall came along, some of the leaves turned more yellowish, but for the most part, they remained green, I gathered the falling leaves from the maple trees around my yard and added it to the mulch as extra frost protection for the plants. We are in hardiness zone 5 which is the limit of survival for this plant, but I wanted to be on the safe side and give it a little more layering.

Some Rufa leaves turning yellow
Adding a layer of leaves for additional frost protection


I’m not sure how much the leaves helped, but it snowed so much over the winter that at one point it practically leveled up at the height of both rufas. But most of the time, they stood out as the only green thing in the entire garden.

A refreshing spot of green in the white winter landscape.
The rufa peeking out from the deep snow banks of the late Maine winter


The spring thaw in March brought hope with the revelation that all was well beneath the blanket of snow. The rufas naturally appeared a bit dry looking around the leaf edges and tips, but they were still standing strong. They were paler because of winter, but still alive and showing very little loss of leaves.

After the spring thaw, the rufas reappeared the same shape and size as in the fall.

But the best was yet to come. As the days lengthened and the temperatures grew warmer, I first saw fresh new culms poking out of the earth around the base of each of the rufas which quickly developed into new growth about a foot taller than the existing growth. It was lovely to see.


All in all, I’m very happy these rufa lived up to their hardiness reputation. This non-traditional evergreen gave me moments of joy and hope during the long winter whenever I fell out of appreciation of the gray and white landscape and yearned for spring. There they were, showing me a spot of green in the landscape as if to say not all was lost or asleep under the blanket of white.

I also was impressed with the growth spurt this spring and look forward to it’s continued growth into full height over the next few seasons.

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