Looking for all season interest in your landscape? Nandina domestica is a semi-evergreen broad-leaved shrub which is known for its interesting display of bamboo-looking foliage. Creamy-white flowers in spring are followed by pink fruit that matures to bright red berries in winter along with colorful foliage that changes from green to shades of pink and yellow on outer branches. Nandina grows to a height of 6-8 feet and width 2-4 feet and is ideal for foundation plantings, woodland gardens, informal and natural settings. Nandina is deciduous only in very cold climates where temperatures fall below -10 degrees. It is semi-evergreen in zones 6-9 and evergreen in zones 8-10. Nandina domestica thrives in full sun to partial shade and prefers to be grown in a moist well-drained soil.
|Nandina domestica (Late Spring)|
Nandina is a low maintenance shrub only requiring occasional pruning once a year to control height and maintain fullness. Several dwarf cultivars of Nandina have also been produced. Two of the nicer varieties are Nandina 'Gulf Stream' which grows to a height of 4 feet tall and 'Firepower' which reaches a maximum height of 2 feet tall. 'Gulf Stream' exhibits mostly green foliage in summer and bronze-red foliage in fall. 'Firepower' is known for its green foliage with red tips in summer followed by bright red-maroon foliage in fall. The dwarf forms do not produce flowers and fruit, and are known for their superior changing foliage. Unlike Bamboo, Nandina (False Bamboo) is considered non-invasive in most areas, but always check your local Cooperative Extension for updated information.
|Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) Winter Foliage|
Nandina domestica is drought tolerant once established, is not susceptible to any particular diseases and is long-lived. It also known to be "deer resistant". Nandina domestica is an all around interesting addition that fits nicely into a number of landscape settings. If you are looking to add continued interest to your landscape give this plant a try and it will supply you with years of enjoyment.
(Update 2017): Research has found that the berries of Nandina may be toxic to some varieties of birds. This plant can still be used for its beautiful foliage and can be purchased in sterile form. If you have Nandina for its interest in the garden, prune off berries once they mature to avoid any harm to wildlife.
As Always...Happy Gardening!
Author: Lee@ A Guide to Northeastern Gardening. All rights reserved 2014.