If you are looking for an evergreen, low-maintenance shrub with beautiful fall color, lovely new growth, elegant flowers, and spectacular red berries, then Nandina domestica will surely fit the bill. This workhorse brings a graceful texture to any garden space. Use it to create a focal point, screening, or to add evergreen color to the perennial bed.
Not actually a bamboo, Nandina thrives in sun or shade, moist or dry soil, and is one of the more trouble-free shrubs in cultivation. Nandinas also make good container plants for the patio or entryway.
There are many cultivars of Nandina, but here are a few of the highlights:
Nandina Plum Passion (‘Monum’) - This cultivar has deep purple new growth, becoming green in the summer, then turning reddish-purple in the winter. Grows 4 to 5’ tall and 3 to 4’ wide
‘Filamentosa’ – A very delicate, thread-leafed cultivar, this Nandina grows to 2’ to 3’ tall and wide. Good as a specimen or in mass plantings.
‘Moyer’s Red’- Terrific red winter color on this one. It will eventually get to 6’ tall, with pinkish flowers and glossy foliage.
Genus: Nandina – nan-DE-na - from nanten, the Japanese name
Common name: Heavenly Bamboo (not actually a bamboo, but has a bamboo-like appearance)
Origin: China. Introduced in 1804.
Characteristics: Over 25 cultivars; reportedly over 60 cultivars are available in Japan.
White flowers with yellow anthers borne on long panicles give way to bright red berries which ripen in the fall, often persisting through winter. Graceful, evergreen foliage sports multiple colors through the seasons.
Size: Varies by cultivar, ranging anywhere from 1 foot to 6+ feet in height.
Culture: Hardy to USDA Zone 6. Very adaptable plant. Prefers sun & moist fertile soil, but grows well in shade, tolerates drought, and is one of the most durable broadleaf evergreens. Disease and insect resistant.