This is a genus containing many clumping species of montane bamboo from China. They are very beautiful in form – very delicate looking bamboo though a few do obtain some serious size. Some of the montane species seem to bounce back & forth between Fargesia & Borinda genus, I have no plans to get into the Borinda side as they do not suggest adequate cold tolerance for here. My use of montane is defined as shrubby bamboo that grow on mountain sides where the daytime highs rarely exceed 20C’ish and nights cool off into the single digit C’s, and panda eat them as often as possible. My use of clumping is defined as they have no legs/feet and therefore can not run/spread making them quite easy for the panda to catch.
This mild’ish native climate creates conditions in which soil temps do not get too high and that is what it takes to keep them happy. Due to many sources citing their impressive cold tolerance combined with the non-spreading aspect I have many people wanting me to tell them that Fargesia will make awesome screening bamboo, species that they do not have to even consider thinking about keeping under control. Well, y’all may want me to tell you that but I’m not gonna. They so dislike the heat & humidity of continental middle US beerbelly climates that they just do not perform well enough here for serving as privacy screens. If you live in a slightly milder winter climate then F robusta is indeed a screening option but not in my area. There have been multiple flowerings of several genus members so perhaps a new generation form will emerge that can expand the narrow band of preferred climate for these guys.
I have F murielae & F robusta ‘Wolong’ along with multiple plantings of F dracocephala ‘Rufa’, F denudata and F nitida as I really want them to like me but thus far they mostly flip me off. Having a major drought in 2012 along with absurd heat does not help. The one that I want to love the most is F denudata due to its very weeping form. I think that when properly sited/cared for they can grow into impressive specimens, I HIGHLY advise starting with the largest plant that you can afford/source.