Noted for its spectacular red berries and excellent foliage color, Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) is an attractive, small, evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub adding multi-season beauty to the garden. In spring, a profusion of tiny, white flowers adorned with golden anthers appear in long arching panicles at the tips of the branches. Rich in nectar, they are of great interest to bees and other pollinators. The flowers are followed by abundant clusters of green berries which ripen to bright red and persist throughout fall and winter, if not devoured by birds. Ornamental and adding winter interest to the landscape, they are held against the bright green lacy foliage of compound leaves with lance shaped leaflets, which emerge purple, mature soft green and turn purple, reddish-purple in fall. Highly popular in the landscape, Heavenly Bamboo is one of the toughest and most adaptable plants, its berry-laden branches providing a pleasing vertical accent.
- A slow to moderate grower, this rhizomatous shrub enjoys an upright, bamboo-like habit. Grows up to 4-8 ft. tall (120-240 cm) and 2-4 ft. wide (60-480 cm).
- A full sun to part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in average, moist, well-drained soils. Tolerates a wide range of soils as well as full shade. Best foliage and fruit production generally occur in full sun. For best fruiting, plant several specimens as single plants seldom fruit heavily. Provide a sheltered location and apply organic winter mulch. Drought tolerant once established.
- Low maintenance, it is generally pest and disease free.
- Mass in mixed shrub borders, woodland gardens, foundation plantings. Perfect as specimen plant or for informal hedges
- Propagate by seed or semi-hardwood cuttings
- Native to Japan, China and India. Plants tend to be invasive in some southern states
- Favorite Nandina domestica cultivars are:
'Alba' - with white berries and yellowish-green foliage, which turns yellow in fall. Susceptible to cold damage
'Compacta' - with a lacy foliage which turns red in fall. Up to 4-5 ft. (120-150 cm) 'Fire Power' is a very compact plant to 2 feet tall and wide. It has red-tinged leaves in summer and bright red leaves in winter.
'FirePower' - A compact variety with yellowish-green leaves in summer, turning orange and red in fall and winter. Up to 2 ft. (60 cm)
'Gulf Stream' - a slow-growing variety with dark blue-green summer foliage and red winter foliage. No berries. Up to 3-4 ft. (90-120 cm)
'Harbor Dwarf' - A popular, freely spreading selection with orange red to bronzy red winter foliage. Up to 2 ft. (60 cm)
'Woods Dwarf' - A rounded variety with dense, crimson red foliage in winter. Up to 4 ft. (120 cm)