Saturday, December 15, 2007

Heavenly Bamboo

Nandina domestica

I love this plant. Aptly called Heavenly Bamboo, it provides something different for each season; pink-red leaves in winter, followed by new growth that is almost maroon. Then, white flowers appear in spring, followed by green berries that slowly turn red in summer, contrasting with the blue-green leaves that change again to a light lime green in late summer. Sometimes, you can see all the foliage colors at once, as shown in this photo.

Heavenly Bamboo is not really a bamboo, even though it has cane-like stems. It is not even related to bamboo, but it is considered invasive in some southeastern states. It spreads through underground rhizomes, and by birds eating the seeds. There are no restrictions on Nandina domestica in our region, probably because supplemental water is necessary. It is not drought resistant.

This plant does take a little more care than I usually like to perform. Our soil is a bit too alkaline for it and it can become chlorotic, requiring regular treatment with iron chelate. In addition, thinning the old canes is necessary for it to look its best, rather than just a quick shaping by clipping foliage. However, the constantly changing beautiful foliage, plus the seeds and flowers, makes the extra work worth it.


Yolanda Elizabet said...

A plant doesn't need to have flowers to be colourful. I love plants with foliage in pink/red/maroon and I wonder if it would grow over here too.

Julie said...

This is really a neat plant! I love things with all sorts of colors intertwined!