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Nandina Shrub Creates Red Color Leaves In Winter

The Nandina hails from eastern Asia, where it has been used for hundreds of years in the gardens of Japan and China. It was brought to the United States in the 1800's, and does well in zones six through nine.

It's a very durable shrub and used in either full sun or partial shade. Most varieties are moderately fast growers known for low maintenance. They're a favorite evergreen plant to put in a confined area, or along a foundation.


Domestica Nandina With Berries

Gulf Stream Nandina

Gulf Stream Nandinas In Containers

The Domestica, the old standby, is one of the larger and most popular of this species. It can grow up to eight feet tall and four to five feet wide. During autumn and throughout the winter months is its time to shine, with red leaves and brilliant colored red berries.

The Gulf Stream variety, also known as Compacta Nana, is the slow grower of the family. It matures at three to four feet tall. Its new growth leaves are orange, and turn that typical red in the cold months. It does not produce berries.

The Nandina does well in rich and slightly acid soil. The soil should be well drained.

Some varieties get tiny white flowers in late spring. The flowers turn into green berries. The green berries turn into rich red tones and stand out in any outdoor area. If you're looking for birds, these berries will attract them!

A great feature of this shrub is the option of very little pruning. Herbee and I have had some clients wanting a fall pruning, and others that like the plant to keep its natural look. You can prune the dead leaves and branches off at ground level in mid-to-late winter after the birds enjoy the berries.

A mature Domestica, over the years, may get leggy. This is when you really should do some trimming.

An interesting characteristic of this plant specimen is the different colors in the leaves when placed in the sun compared to full shade. While most varieties prefer lots of sunshine, some varieties, when planted in full shade, will have mature leaves take on a bluish tone.

It is the autumn season that brings this shrub to the main focal point of a garden or foundation. Foliage takes on different hues of red. If there are berries, they also turn red.

There are many different areas in your landscape where this shrub will fit in well. It compliments a variety of different evergreen plants such as Indian Hawthorn and Cotoneaster, or the deciduous Barberry.

Any form of Juniper or Arborvitae are great specimens to show off this family's beauty in the fall and winter. Think about using this plant family as a highlight to your landscape or garden during Christmas and the holiday months.

Most Nandina varieties are less than five feet tall at mature height. Some are considered dwarf.

Some of the more popular compact varieties are the Harbor Dwarf (two feet tall), Compacta (four to five feet tall), Blush Pink (two to three feet tall), and the Gulf Stream (pictured at the top of the page).

And then there is Herbee's favorite:

Firepower Nandina

Firepower Nandina
Firepower Nandina Turning Color

The Firepower is a great wintertime dwarf shrub. The leaves in the fall begin their transition from green to a deep red. The red color remains throughout the winter months. There are no berries.

This is one of the favorite varieties here in South Carolina. If you happen to find a Firehouse, it's very similar. The leaves are said to turn a slightly brighter red than the Firepower.

If you've never used the Nandina in your landscaping, you owe it to yourself to give it a look.

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In.

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Year Around Plants Besides Nandina

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