Pleioblastus pygmaeus (Dwarf Bamboo) - This dense and quick-growing running small bamboo is one of the smallest bamboos. It can grow to a maximum height of 12 to 18 inches but is often kept much lower. The canes are thin (about 1/8 of an inch) and densely clothed with tiny 1 to 3 inch-long bright green leaves that are minutely hairy on the underside and leaf sheaths.
Plant in full sun (along coast) to light shade. Can handle some drought but looks better with moderate watering. Hardy to 10° F. Invasive if not controlled by some form of root barrier but is a good plant to hold slopes against erosion. It can periodically be mowed to rejuvenate the growth and appearance and can be kept to only a few inches tall by such treatment.
Pleioblastus pygmaeus is unknown in the wild but has long been cultivated in Asia and thought to be originally native to forests of central and southern Japan. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'pleios' meaning "more" and 'blastos' meaning "bud' in reference to the several buds that emerge at each stem node and the specific epithet means "small" or "dwarf" in reference to the plant size. It has also been listed in the past as Sasa pygmaea and Arundinaria pygmae or as it is currently listed in the Kew database, a non-variegated form of Pleioblastus variegatus.
Information about Pleioblastus pygmaeus displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.