Nandina Domestica- Finding the Best Nandina Plant


Nandina domestica, heavenly bamboo, is a popular shrub with red berries. Nandina domestica belongs to the family (Berberidaceae) and is widely used in borders, as a hedge, or as a specimen plant. Find the best heavenly bamboo plants with facts and information on growing and caring for them.

Nandina Facts and Information

Heavenly bamboo is delicate looking, but is tough. It is a leafy, 5-7’ unbranched, multi-stemmed shrub that is evergreen in warm parts of its hardiness range. It grows in USDA Zones 6 or 7-9. The dainty green leaves are tipped bright red in winter. In spring and early summer, the stems bear loose upright clusters of small whitish florets. In fall, beautiful drooping clusters of bright round red berries decorate the fall landscape. They may persist until blooming begins the following spring. It has a medium to fast growth rate with star-shaped white flowers.

Nandina domestica is a native plant of China and Japan. The species is popular in the South, where the berries color well and last a long time. However, more compact and disease-resistant cultivars with even better winter color are replacing the species.

Heavenly bamboo is excellent in shrub borders and in container. It will succeed in bright shade and compete well with tree roots. Cut stems of nandina can also provide attractive, long-lasting greenery for bouquets and flower arrangements.

Growing Nandina domestica Plants

A young container grown plant will transplant easily in spring or fall. They thrive in well-drained but moist fertil soil, but will tolerate other situations. It fruits best when grown in full sun but will still produce berries if it has at least 4-6 hours of sun, or all day filtered light. To keep the plant compact, cut crowded or gangly canes back to the ground in early spring.

Nandina Varieties

Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’ (Firepower heavenly bamboo), is a great variety that is exceptional. This variety has superb red color from fall into winter. It makes a nice mounded plant that is excellent in grouping, borders, and containers. It grows 30” by 30” in Zones 6-11 and requires full sun, with no pruning needed.

The foliage of ‘Harbor Dwarf’, a graceful 2-footer, is touched with pink or bronze in spring and turns orange-bronze in fall. ‘Nana Purpurea’ is similar, but its foliage is reddish purple in winter. ‘Alba’, a white-fruited variety, makes a handsome companion for a red-berried nandina.

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