Botanical name: Nandina domestica
An evergreen, multi-trunk erect shrub, nandinas are popular landscape plants for shady areas in North Texas. Although called Heavenly bamboo, nandina is not bamboo, but a member of the barberry (Berberidaceae) family.
Nandinas are tough and adaptable plants to a variety of soil and environmental conditions. They tolerate sun, partial shade, and complete shade with interesting visual appearance during all seasons. Note: winter color may be less dramatic in heavy shade.
Size: 6 to 10 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide. Dwarf varieties grow to 2 to 3 feet tall and 18 inches wide.
Flowers: tiny clusters of pink to white flowers
Bloom time: spring
Leaves: 1 to 2 inch oval leafets. Young leaves may be pink turning to light green as they mature.
Other: red berries in winter
Pests and Disease: none
Growing in North Texas
Nandinas tolerate most Texas growing conditions. Plant them in early spring or early fall in cleared beds amended with 4 to 6 inches of compost. Fertilize three times during the growing season with a primarily nitrogen fertilizer, a 3-1-2 ratio or nitrogen only, if a soil test shows your soil is high in phosphorous. Keep soil moist, but not waterlogged.
Warning: Nandina domestica is considered an invasive species. According to Texas Invasives, a partnership of state and federal agencies, “Nandina has naturalized and invaded habitats. It colonizes by spreading underground root sprouts and by animal-dispersed seeds. It can persist as a seedling for several years before maturing. It can displace native species and disrupt plant communities. Berries can be toxic to cats and some grazing animals.”
“Texas Gardening Guide”; Dale Groom; Cool Springs Press; 1997; pp 334-335.
Texas Invasives: Nandina domestica
Florida Plant Data: Nandinas
“Nandinas are Excellent Landscape Plants”, Dr. William Welch – landscape horticulturists Texas A&M University
Keywords (tags): shade, perennial, flowering, shrub