Nandina (Nandina domestica)

Nandina, also known as Japanese sacred bamboo, is an easy-to-grow evergreen shrub that’s an ideal choice for a low-maintenance garden. The common nandina is a tall, multi-caned shrub that’s ideal for narrow areas in sun or shade. It produces white flowers in spring followed by sprays of red berries. The leaves colour to red in cool climates during autumn and winter.

In recent years a large range of compact shrub form of nandina have been released, so check your hardware or garden centre for varieties to suit your location. Here are a few to get you thinking:

  • ‘Nana’ is a small grower to around 60cm high and wide with green to red leaves year-round but particularly in the cooler months. It doesn’t have berries.
  • ‘Gulf Stream’ is slightly larger (to around 70cm high and 1m wide) with fine leaves and good colour year-round in tones of gold, russet and green.
  • ‘Moon Bay’ has a compact dense habit which grows to 1m high x 1m wide. It starts off with lime-green foliage in spring, changing to red, apricot and burgundy as the seasons change.
  • ‘Lemon Lime’ has year round impact with its low-maintenance compact habit (to around 80cm high and wide). New foliage starts of with lemon tones turning to lime as it ages.
  • ‘Blush’ is a medium shrub to about 60cm high, that is ideal as a border or hedge. Like its name suggests, it has new blush tone foliage in spring and autumn turning red in winter.

Growing conditions

Aspect Nandinas grow in sun or part shade with the best colour in bright sunny locations. They are frost and humidity tolerant once established, but don’t like cold winds.

Soil Plants do best in good well-drained soil but are tolerant of a range of soils. Dig in well-rotted compost or manure such as Seasol Super Compost and add Seasol Plant + Soil Booster as part of soil preparation.

Climate Native to China and Japan, nandina will grow in cool, temperate and subtropical climates.

How to grow and look after Nandina for a beautiful foliage display
How to grow and look after Nandina for a beautiful foliage display

General care

Watering Once established nandinas are drought tolerant. Water after planting. Extra water may be needed if plants are in hot, dry or exposed conditions or if they are growing in containers.

Feeding and mulching Nandina can be fed via your preferred method, either liquid or granular food or a combination of both, depending on your plant variety. Keep plants lush and leafy with a granular fertiliser such as PowerFeed with Troforte All Purpose including Natives during the growing season. If you prefer liquid feeding apply PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives every 2 to 4 weeks during the growing season.

Spread organic mulch around the clump.

Pruning Cut out old wood in late winter to encourage new canes on tall growing nandinas. For shrubs and compact forms lightly trim to keep compact.

Watch for Nandina grow without too much trouble and are rarely troubled by pests or diseases.