Phyllostachys vivax ‘Aureocaulis’

Chinese timber bamboo

(2 customer reviews)


Phyllostachys vivax ‘Aureocaulis’ is a spectacular giant evergreen bamboo reaching 10m+, with butter yellow culms randomly striped with green and reaching an impressive 13cm diameter. The butter yellow culms are beautifully and randomly striped with green.

This is a very cold hardy plant that needs space, root barrier, sun and good irrigation – foliage looks its best protected from drying winds.


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Origin: China
Genus: Phyllostachys
Species / Cultivar: vivax (form aureocaulis)
Common Name: Chinese timber bamboo

Plant Biography

Phyllostachys vivax originates in China, and it can grow to impressive heights of 8 – 10 meters. Some growers have even reported heights of 15 – 20 metres in height, however this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt and realize that in most UK gardens these heights are unachievable. Phyllostachys vivax ‘Aureocaulis’ is rated by most bamboo growers as the best and most ornamental tall to giant growing bamboos for colder climates. It can easily withstand temperatures down to -15 degrees, and it can tolerate even lower temperatures for short periods of time.

The specific epithet “vivax” of the species hints at its long life, due to the fact that bamboo plants usually live for up to 100 years before they flower. Sometimes, randomly it will flower and continue to grow. This behaviour has been identified recently in several species of Phyllostachys.

In China, the young shoots of the Giant timber bamboo are eaten raw or cooked. Shoots are harvested in spring, when they are about 4 inches above the ground.

Phyllostachys vivax 'Aureocaulis'
Soil: Well drained
Soil that does not show much signs of moisture, either visibly or when handled.
Growth Rate: Fast
Expect to see prolific growth, especially during growing season.
Water Requirement: High
Likely to require supplementary watering in warmer months, even once established.
Humidity: Medium
Easygoing in regular home conditions, keep away from cold draughts and heat sources.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Full Sun to Part Shade
Enjoys direct sun most of the day, but tolerant of fewer sunlit hours or light dappling.
Eventual Height: 8-10m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Hardy
Survives unprotected in an average winter. May need protection in extreme long frosts.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.
Lifecycle: Perennial
This plant is persistant and does not die off after flowering. It will return each season indefinitely, if provided with suitable growing conditions.
Care and size Guidance

Care and size Guidance

Phyllostachys vivax Aureocaulis grows even without summer heat it can reach massive proportions – 13cm thick culms that can reach over 10m. This is a plant that needs space, root barrier, and good irrigation, but is unsurpassed as a specimen bamboo in larger gardens.

Plant in well drained soil and rich in nutrients and plan from the start to enclose the area with root barrier to prevent the bamboo from escaping. Though it may look well behaved in the first few years after planting, it can quickly take over the garden.

New canes push every spring, thicker and taller than the existing ones. For this, the bamboo required copious amounts of water and feed to be able to sustain such rapid growth. In the span of a week or two the new canes will reach their ultimate height and start to unfold branches and put on leaves. Every year after that it will continue to add foliage to the existing branches.

Fun fact

When you visit The Palm Centre, you will find close to the entrance a clump of various species of Phyllostachys, among which P.vivax stands out with its striped canes. The urban legends say that, in summer evenings and in the middle of the night, the new canes push so fast from the ground, that you can hear the bamboo growing.
Tips for gardeners

Tips for gardeners

Cut the thinner canes yearly in spring, just before the new canes start to emerge to allow the energy of the plant to focus on growing new vigorous canes.

Trim the lower branches to expose the canes to a height of about a meter from the ground in younger plants. As the bamboo matures, the bottom part of the canes will naturally be bare. A series of spot lights placed strategically in between the canes will enhance the dramatic effect of the care canes.

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2 customer reviews for Phyllostachys vivax ‘Aureocaulis’

The Palm Centre were true gems in getting me the bamboo, in a couple of days, and it is nearly 4m, plenty of straight, healthy stems, of good thickness already, one with a beautiful wide green striping going nearly all the way up from the soil to the midst of the leaves in the tallest culm – so happy, thank you for your fantastic service xxx

Natalie G.

We have wanted some good sized Chinese Timber Bamboo for some time now, and we were even more delighted than we expected when they arrived! Beautiful, well grown , healthy plants! Excellent communications from The Palm center re possible problems during shipping as they are around 4 meters tall. They arrived in good condition, and are now gracing our garden with great style.

Lisa R.