How to Care for Nandina Shrubs

A common shrub throughout the warmer areas of the United States, heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica and hybrids) grows 6 to 10 feet tall and about half as wide, although smaller cultivars are available. This semi-evergreen shrub sports showy white flower clusters in the spring and persistent, bright red berries in the fall and winter. Nandinas are easy to grow and make good additions to shrub borders and foundation plantings. They're hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6b through 9b.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Pruners
  • Organic mulch

Instructions

    • 1

      Site heavenly bamboo in full sun or partial shade in soil that stays moist but not soggy. Nandinas are not particular as to the type of soil or its pH. The foliage takes on a reddish tint in full sun.

    • 2

      Feed nandinas each spring with a fertilizer formulated for shrubs. Follow package directions carefully as too much fertilizer will damage the shrub. Always apply fertilizer to moist soil.

    • 3

      Mulch over the root zone with 2 to 3 inches of organic material such as bark chips or straw. This discourages weeds and helps keep the roots moist.

    • 4

      Inspect the shrub occasionally for signs of insects or diseases, although nandinas are rarely bothered by either.

    • 5

      Prune nandinas early in the spring when the shrubs begin to leaf out. First prune away all winter-damaged wood, then cut back the old canes at staggered heights. Nandinas become leggy and bare on the bottom if left unpruned.

Tips & Warnings

  • Individual nandina plants rarely set fruit well. Always plant multiples for the best display.
  • Heavenly bamboo can be invasive, both because of its tendency to sucker and because birds distribute the seeds. Plant it where it can spread out or be prepared to thin the planting regularly.
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