Fargesia robusta is a good choice for a clumping bamboo that can create a narrow screen, being taller, more upright, and more robust than Fargesia nitida and Fargesia murielae. This species has dark green foliage and light green culms, with new shoots that are hairy and rusty red upon emergence from the ground in early spring. The culm sheaths persist and soon fade to a light color, almost white, giving the culms a very attractive checkerboard look in the spring through early summer. This bamboo is more sun tolerant than most other Fargesia, but in a warmer climate it would prefer protection from the hot afternoon sun. We have one growing in full sun that has never shown any sign of leaf burn. It is more compact than one would be with shade (about 10 feet tall), and a slightly lighter shade of green. See this page for a yearly photo progression of F. robusta growing in a local landscape.
Our Fargesia robusta is known as the 'Campbell' type, which was the first introduction of this species into the Western world from Sichuan, China. It has slightly smaller leaves and a tighter clumping habit than the 'Pingwu' type, which is from a later collection and is used by Bamboo Select in creating their Green Screen™ variety.
F. robusta 'Wolong', collected in 1996, has larger leaves than both the 'Pingwu' and 'Campbell' types, and has a glossy sheen which highlights its fine qualities. F. robusta 'Wenchuan' is available now and has similar form to 'Wolong', but the leaf is a little smaller and more evenly arranged, or pointed.
Another intriguing specimen from a later collection is known in Europe as F. robusta 'Robusta'. The name seems redundant, but it is reputed to be very tall and upright, with a larger leaf than the 'Campbell' and purple tones on the branches. Decorative. We have a few that we are developing, keep an eye out for this one.
F. sp. 'Scabrida' has similar qualities to F. robusta, but is even more colorful. With the vigor and height inherent to all types of Fargesia robusta, 'Campbell', 'Wolong', Pingwu', 'Wenchuan', and 'Robusta', are valuable plants for the landscape due to their versatility, and for collectors due to their fine colors and form.