Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo)

  • TropPlant Accession Number (TPAN): 0150
  • Botanical Name: Nandina domestica
  • Common Name: Heavenly Bamboo, Scared Bamboo, Nandina, Nanten (Japanese)
  • Cultivar: N/A
  • Family: Berberidaceae 
A blurry photo of Nandina domestica
Photo by Matthew Gaston

  • Native To: Japan to the Himalayas (India)

Landscaping Information

    • Plant Type: Shrub, Rhizomatous 
    • Texture: Fine
    • Form: Upright-Narrow
    • Height (on average, in landscape use): 2'-8'
    • Height to Spread Ratio: 2:1 to 4:1
    • Growth Rate: Moderate
    • Landscape Values: Accent, Background, Border, Color, Edging, Facer, Filler, Foundation, Framing, Mass, Sculptural Form, Space Division
    • Outstanding Quality: Foliage Color, Seasonal Color,  Form/Silhouette, Foliage Characters
    Nandina domestica along a wall
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Nandina domestica 
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Botanical Descriptions

    • Flowers: 0.25"-0.5", white to pink, determinate conical inflorescence. Bright yellow stamens. No notable fragrance
    • Fruits: Red to Violet berries, 0.25", persist on the plant for many months unless disturbed, toxic to humans. Learn more about toxicity here.
    Nandina domestica leaves and fruits
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Nandina domestica leaf
    Photo by Matthew Gaston
    • Foliage Color: Young/immature: Bronzish Red to Reddish Bronze. Mature: Dark Green to Blue-Green.
    • Leaflet Tip: Acute
    • Leaflet Base: Acute
    • Petiole: 0.25"-1"
    • Stipules: N/A
    • Margins: Smooth
    • Leaf Arrangement:  Alternate
    • Leaf Shape:  elliptic to lanceolate
    • Leaf Type: Twice to Thrice Pinnate, Odd-Pinnate
    • Leaf Texture: Smooth, glaucous, firm, hardy
    • Leaf Special Notes: Three times pinnate leaves provide a spray of small, fine leaves. Colors mature to a deep, bluish-green in the tropics. Leaf color differs in temperate climates where the plant becomes semideciduous to completely deciduous. More red hues are present in cooler temperatures. 

    Nandina domestica new leaf exhibiting red foliage
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Nandina domestica  with new leaves
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Bark and Trunk: Light Brown to Dark Brownish Gray, Rough, furrowed bark
    Nandina domestica stem
    Photo by Matthew Gaston


    Horticultural Information

      • Light Preference: Semi-Sun, Full Sun
      • Light Tolerances:  Shade
      • Soil Preferences: Slightly Acidic, Moist, Organic
      • Tolerances:  Acidic, Regular Watering
      • Water Requirements: Does best when kept wet and moist, but not waterlogged. Tolerates moderate conditions
      • Notes on Maintenance: Can be cut down to the base and new, colorful growth will sprout. The plant exhibits most vibrant color when in full sun, while shade keeps its leaves dark green. A popular foundation plant for its form and color. Looks best when allowed to grow into its natural form, but pruning is required to keep the plants from getting too tall. Some can grow up to ten feet, but this height is often not designed for the landscape. Nandina are resistant to many pests. 
      • Propagation: Division of rhizome is easiest, but graphing and seed are possible.
      • Minimum USDA Hardiness Zone: 6a
      • Weed Risk Assessment Score (WRA): 9, High Risk

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