Shitty Neighbours pt 1 – How to propagate Bambusa Textilis Gracilis

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“…and forms an excellent hedge for privacy, noise and pollution (such as smoke, dust, bad jokes and farts)…”

Dear reader, if you are after detailed instructions on how to successfully propagate Gracilis bamboo from cuttings, this is the link you are after: How to successfully propagate Gracilis bamboo from cuttings as I have managed to grow new Gracilis from cuttings after numerous trials. The instructions in this page were not that good and the rate of success was none.

Or you may like to read the entire Vicacinus story and ongoing saga at: this new site dedicated to stupid neighbours.

When dealing with plants, it is nice to know their latin name as they are broken down from the plantae kingdom into orders, families, genii and species. A similar principle can be applied when dealing with certain idiotic, intolerant and repulsive human lifeforms.

I hereby coin the term: “Vicasinus” – meaning stupid neighbour. From the latin: Vicinus Asinus (or Vicinus Plumbeus) – both correctly and adequately describe one of these.

Stupid Neighbour

Vicasinus – donkey next door


VIC·AS·IN·US /vikasinas/
Vicasinii, plural
Adjective: A neighbour performing the act of being an ass.
Noun: A neighbour who acts like a donkey.

I assume that by this point you are most probably asking yourselves, what do stupid neighbours have to do with the propagation of bamboo (and Latin)? Well, since my vicasinus was taking photos of me from his mum’s kitchen window, I suddenly felt compelled to look at ways to remedy a rather obscure, creepy and sinister behaviour. Local council regulation restricts fence heights to 2.0 metres, and since their window sits higher than 2.0 metres above ground, I had to find a better solution than a high fence (mind you, the fence is now 2.2 metres high).

Enter Bambusa Textilis Gracilis – a fast growing, clumping variety of bamboo (also known as a slender weaver for its gracefully thin aesthetic appearance). It grows to around 6.0 metres in height, and forms an excellent hedge for privacy, noise and pollution (such as smoke, dust, bad jokes and farts). It provides shade, peace and tranquillity –  a sense of zen. In addition, such hedges look contemporary and provide a little Asian flavour in your garden.

I’ve built a small raised garden bed around 70cm high and 1.2m wide (with the help of a couple of friends), to stop any unnecessary and unwanted root propagation. Although Gracilis is clumping, it does grow to a diameter of 1.2 to 1.5 metres. My hedge will be 36 metres in length so I will need approximately 30 plants planted at 1.2 metre intervals. Over time they will clump and blend rather nicely into one another.

Raised garden bed

Stone wall with fence and 75mm sleeper retaining wall


Hnawish helping build the stone wall

Hnawish working on the stone wall

To propagate Gracilis, you will first need to find some mature plants as they have the largest diameter culm. I got mine from my friend Ben who runs the local nursery Palms for Brisbane. He cut four mature plants using a curved hand saw and we were on our way. The steps to prepare the Gracilis are as follows:

1) Trim back any leaf nodes with a good pair of sharp secateurs – the leaves will die anyway.

Trimming back leaf nodes

Koray Trimming back leaf nodes

Koray trimming leaves

The leaves make a bit of a mess

2) Use a hack saw or sharp curved hand saw to cut the culm – starting below the joint (where the leaves come out of) and ending above the joint on the other side. The reason for this is that the plant layer where root growth takes place is between this joint and by cutting diagonally across, this layer is exposed.

Trusty hack saw

Trusty Hack Saw used to cut Bambusa Textilis Gracilis

Bambusa Textilis Gracilis

Gracilis culms cut and ready for hormoning

Bambusa Textilis Gracilis

Trimmed leaves will die when placed into the potting mix

3) Prepare pots with potting mix. You could use smaller size pots, but I opted for 300mm pots as I will let the bamboo grow in these to a decent height. Also, you could put more than one single culm per pot and separate them at a later stage.

300mm plastic pots with potting mix

300mm plastic pots with potting mix

4) Get some medium rooting hormone (or honey works too) and apply to the culm where the cut was made. I made sure that the entire surface was well covered with the white powder. The active ingredient in butyric acid. I also applied a little beer to my lips to stop them from chafing.

Root Hormone

Root hormone is applied to the cut surface of the culm

Root hormone is applied

Culm with butyric acid applied for promotion of root growth

5) The culm is now ready to be planted! I stuck the culms into the potting mix at a depth of approximately 5 centimetres. Some of the culms wanted to tip over because of the loose soil – the watering stage was next and helps to compact the soil around the culm and keep it in its place.

Bambusa Textilis Gracilis - ready for watering

Bambusa Textilis Gracilis – ready for watering

So there you have it! 30+ pots of Gracilis planted… now we just play the waiting game and cross our fingers.The above plants were planted on this 8th day of September 2012 (first week of Spring in Brisbane). Ben told me to initially water them once a week and to keep them in a shady position, otherwise the culms may rot away if too much water is applied, and they may dry out too quickly if they are kept out in full sun.

Once the plants begin to catch on, water them twice weekly – they will appear dead before they come back to life again. Once the roots starts to develop, the plants become extremely thirsty and need regular daily watering for two months. You will then be able to add fertilizer into your potting mix – the plants don’t benefit from the nutrients until the roots have established. From what I am told it will take between 2 to 3 years for a plant to reach its full height. It is currently spring in Queensland, Australia, and the plants are thriving all around me. The bamboo will pause its growth pattern during the colder months but shoot up during the warmer months. I will touch base again in a few week’s time and post an update on the growth of the Bambusa Textilis Gracilis…

Events to date:

  • 8th September 2012: Gave the Gracilis its ‘life watering’ so as to compact the top soil around the root.
  • 15th September 2012: Gave the plants a good watering.
  • 19th September 2012: Checked the potting mix this afternoon and it seemed very dry, I gave the pots a good watering. Culms are starting to lose their greenishness.
  • January 2013: All planted bamboo culms have dried up and not given any roots… I will be doing a follow up blog post when I get the time and make sure it works this time…

If you wish to read more about the Shitty Neighbours saga, you may do so here:

Shitty Neighbours part 2 – The Donkeys are at it again

If you want to successfully propagate Gracilis Bamboo from cuttings, this is the article to read: How to successfully propagate Gracilis bamboo from cuttings. I have finally managed to propagate Gracilis bamboo from cuttings after numerous trials.

12 thoughts on “Shitty Neighbours pt 1 – How to propagate Bambusa Textilis Gracilis

  1. rob

    I absolutely feel for the blogger.
    Also, I think it’s a great detailed post with a lot of ideas and good photos etc (the stone wall has given me some ideas)

    I am in a similar sort of situation.. well, with a twist.

    A couple of years ago my neighbour (qld) built a 7m high deck/roof + granny flat, and planted bamboo along the entire fence.
    I now live next to 4 dogs and 7 people who rent separately from the owner (2 parties.. it’s all council approved).
    I have their deck right off my living areas where the renters smoke/fight/drink/eat constantly.
    The bamboo went from 1m to 12m in about 2 years.
    This is on my northern side.. so now I’m living in a fridge and my solar panels get nothing.
    (looking at your photos, it looks like you are planting on their northern side too?)

    But yeah, I did the right thing and have approached the owner of this crazy bamboo before going to the council.
    Together, we gave it a haircut. He also got the tenants to move out the most troublesome of the 4 dogs.

    Things are still a bit prickly as I’m locked in my house avoiding smoke.
    I ended up in hospital via ambulance last winter with asthma (my lungs are permanently scarred from having chronic near-death asthma for 40 years)
    I let him know it’s an issue but there’s no law against killing your neighbours it seems.
    My pool needs to have a certificate/fencing to stop my kids dying, but it’s ok for me to start a pizza oven and send 100 local kids to hospital or worse.

    In winter it’s worst because of thermal inversion.
    Cold air blankets pollutants to the ground.. which is why launceston was once the most polluted australian city.
    one wood fire can pollute more than a car does over an entire year.

    Anyway, I really feel for your war.. trying to get peace and quiet etc.
    Sounds like they aren’t approachable and reasonable.

    I wish people could talk to each other to resolve differences.
    It’s hard when they are ex convicts or renters who don’t care for a relationship.
    good luck

  2. Brenda

    Thanks for this blog.
    Around 2.5 years ago I planted six Gracilis along the fence between our bedroom and our neighbours house. They have boomed and are 6 meters tall and fabulous. I noticed around 4 weeks ago one is starting to die and couldn’t figure out why as I had spoken to the neighbour and told her to just cut off any shoots that come up or let me know and I’d do it. She tells me this morning that she poisoned one like it was no big deal. I just can’t believe the stupidity of some people. We’ve had to put up with their weeds and passion fruit vines growing into our yard and up our roof. We have to cut these back weekly and would never poison them. She get two shoots and poisons the whole plant!
    Anyway, love your blog and thanks for the info.

  3. Tralee

    snipping and poisoning. sounds like you have a game player. Please can you upload current photos? I’ve just bought my first pot of this (in WA) and am about to embark on the journey. How far have you grown in 6 months?

    1. e-regular Post author

      Yeah I have a fantastic neighbour! I’ll add some new photos this weekend… They are definitely a different plant once in the ground. The culms have started shooting up like crazy and they are much larger in diameter (about one inch) than when they were in the pots. With all the rain we’ve had recently, it has helped a lot.

  4. Natasha

    I would love an update on how this has gone for you. We are looking to do this ourselves in the next week or two.

  5. Ian

    Well done, panted the same back in March last year for the same reason, the bamboo is just over 3m now and has not stopped growing! I have been feeding them nitrosol and they love it, also used so e plain old grass fertiliser which is in granular form, looks like it has done the trick! Can’t wait for the next month or so to see how tall it gets, fingers crossed it should be up to 6m. If it does I have blocked them out, looking at some other varieties for other parts of the garden, have a Timor black and need something else to block another view point he has.
    Your blog is great, keep it up.

    Well done


    1. e-regular Post author

      Hi Ian,

      Thanks for your comments, they are very much appreciated. It is unfortunate we have to go to such lengths to have privacy. Why can’t idiots be neighbourly, respectful and tolerant? They most certainly need a hobby, or go back to their inbred, redneck village. I sure hope your bamboo shields you from prying eyes … mine just started shooting up about 4 weeks ago – they are now about 2.5 metres high but I need more plants.


      1. e-regular Post author

        Update on my bamboo – one of my bamboo plants has now been poisoned with roundup, and since I complained to the police, two culms were snipped, and one was snapped back…

        Keep your ears and eyes peeled – more to come…


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