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Winter Nandina

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December 13, 2019


Believe it or not but I’m missing our usual cold temperatures today on Southern Gardening.

With our so far warm winter I’m missing the bronzy golds and reds our evergreen landscape shrubs display as a result of cold temperatures. Who doesn’t appreciate winter foliage of Japanese cleyera with the patina of rich burgundy? And what about my winter favorite nandina? Botanically known as Nandina domestica, nandina is also called heavenly bamboo or sacred bamboo and has been used as decorations for home alters and temples in China. Leaves are compound and bisected three ways. They’re a bright glossy green in the summer, but really shine in the winter with a fiery array of reds and burgundies. Nandina domestica flowers in the spring with big panicles of white clusters. In the fall and winter the berries are the main event. The clusters of red berries start upright and as the berries mature the clusters weigh down the canes. If there is one problem it’s the potential for some weedy-ness from the heavy fruit production. Several states have identified nandina as invasive. Because nandina tends to be a slower grower my advice is to buy the biggest plants you can afford. And as with all landscape shrubs plant in well-drained soil and use a layer of organic mulch. A little slow release fertilizer scratched in around the plant each spring will keep your nandina shrubs well fed.

Until next time, I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman enjoying our Southern Gardening.

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