Heavenly Bamboo

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Heavenly Bamboo, (Nandina domestica), is completely unrelated to Bamboo. It's common name comes only from it's resemblance to bamboo due to the fine lacy foliage, and the growth pattern of the plant, which is cane like. Nandina is classified as an evergreen, but will lose it's foliage if the temperature drops below 10 degreed F. The canes will die back to the ground at -10 degrees, but will come back readily the next spring.

 

What makes this plant special is the color it provides in the garden, during all four seasons of the year. In the spring, the new foliage emerges as bright bronzed red, and is soon followed by large, six to twelve inch panicles of creamy white flowers.

 

. . As the season changes, the foliage becomes blue green, fading to light green. Clusters of bright green berries replace the flowers. By late summer, the berries will ripen to a bright red.

 

In the fall, the foliage color again begins to change to shades of pink and red, ending the year with bright red leaves and berries. The berries will remain until they are discovered and enjoyed by the local birds.

 

Heavenly bamboo will slowly grow to 8 feet if it is left alone. However, it can be kept at a very compact size by pruning. This makes it an excellent choice for entryways, patios or foundation plantings. Multiple plantings may be used as a screen or hedge. It is also suitable for growing as a container plant, indoors. The flowers of Nandinas attract bees, the berries will attract mockingbirds, cedar waxwings, and robins. Nandina may be grown in partial shade, but the foliage colors will be much more intense if it is grown in full sun, with a little shade in the hottest part of the day. Select a location that is protected from harsh winds.

 

Once established, this is one of the toughest plants, adapting itself to a wide variety of conditions. They prefer a reasonably rich, humus, acid soil, with a pH Range: 3.7 to 6.4. Preferably the soil should be kept moist at all times, but Nandinas will survive a drought quite well. Careful pruning produces denser growth. This is done in the spring, by removing the oldest branches and any weak growth at ground level. You may remove up to 1/3 of the canes.