Nandina (heavenly bamboo)


Compact semi-evergreen shrub. Grown mainly for its abundant berries and attractive foliage that provides a luscious, all-year-round display.

Erect, gently arching stems, with mid-green finely-divided leaves, above which long sprays of white flowers appear in midsummer. However, Nandina really bursts to life in late autumn/early winter. With arching stems of scarlet berries, born against evergreen leaves, that turn from deep green to various shades of red and copper.

Common Names: Heavenly bamboo, chinese sacred bamboo
Genus: Nandina
Species: domestica
Family: Berberidaceae
Aspect: Full sun or partial shade
Average height and spread: 1 to 2m (3-6 feet)
Hardyness: hardy in the UK

Planting and Growing Nandina

Plant in full sun for the best autumn colour, in a moist well drained soil.

Nandina's finely-divided leaves, abundant white flowers and red berries contrast well with other architectural plants in the border. Nandina also makes a a good specimen plant but it can look a little untidy unless pruned correctly.

Taking Care of Nandina

Fairly disease-resistant, pest-resistant and trouble-free once established. Hardy in most parts of the UK but sever frosts may cause some leaf loss.

Apply a nitrogen based fertilizer if leaves begin to yellow.

Pruning Nandina

Prune back during late winter or early spring.

A less leggy and more bushy shape can be created by pruning in a layered fashion. To do this, randomly remove one third of the stems at ground level (usually the oldest stems). Leave one third of stems unpruned and prune the other third to half height.

The plant can be fully regenerated by cutting all the stems down to ground level, if necessary.

Propagating Nandina

Propagate by sowing seed or taking semi-hardwood cuttings in late summer.

Popular Varieties of Nandina Grown in the UK

The following varieties of Nandina are popular English gardens:

Nandina domestica is the most commonly variety found for sale in UK garden centres.

Nandina domestica 'Harbor Dwarf' and N. 'Firepower' are more compact and slower growing varieties, ideal for smaller gardens.