Nandina has so much to offer in the landscape, including glorious foliage and berry color, a tough constitution and an evergreen habit. Few others possess such year-round color and versatility.
Nandina prefers full sun but can also be grown in shadier conditions. It prefers a soil in humus-rich, moist, well-drained soil, however you’ll find it thrives even in heavy clay. Plants will grow faster if watered regularly, however established plants can tolerate extended periods of drought and neglect. Shrubs in full sun that experience some frost produce the best fall and winter color.
Use nandina in shrub borders, as a background plant and for informal hedges or screens. The dwarf varieties are also good in containers. Mass planting ensures a good quantity of the shiny, bright red berries. Do not shear; selectively hand prune to keep plants to desired size.
N. domestica produces clumps of thin, upright, lightly branched stems and fine, textured foliage. It grows 6–8' tall and spreads 3–5' wide, slowly proliferating by suckering. It bears large, loose clusters of small, white flowers followed by persistent, spherical fruit. Initially tinged bronze to red, the foliage becomes light to medium green in summer, with many varieties turning red to reddish purple in fall and winter. Many colorful, compact and dwarf cultivars are available including ‘Firepower,’ a dwarf selection with bright red foliage, ‘Obsession’, which offers a dwarf habit and colorful foliage and ‘Nana Purpurea,’ which produces fiery red winter foliage.
Also called: sacred bamboo, common nandina, heavenly bamboo
Features: white, late-spring to early-summer flowers; fruit; decorative foliage; tough; long-lived
Hardiness: zones 6–9
Sidebar: The colorful berries of nandina persist through winter and attract birds, which then spread the seeds.