Welcome to our new Plant of the Month slot. We hope to showcase a host of gorgeous plants which will really add to the variety in your garden, both in our garden centres and here in our blog, over the coming months.
For our first Plant of the Month we have chosen Nandina domestica, which is commonly known as ‘Heavenly Bamboo’ or ‘Sacred Bamboo’. Nandina domestica is an elegant evergreen plant native to eastern Asia which has a great year-round interest. It is quite a compact shrub, with most varieties growing to 1-2 metres tall, and so is good for smaller gardens or indeed can be planted out in pots. Nandina domestica has pink and red tinged leaves in spring, which turn paler green in summer. The mature plant grows large clusters of delicate white flowers, which attract pollinators. These go on to produce green berries which redden in autumn, when the foliage deepens to fiery shades. The dried flowers make for a beautiful addition to flower arrangements. Nandina domestica is not actually related to bamboo at all, merely the leaves resemble those of bamboo. It is easy to grow and requires low maintenance, benefitting perhaps from a light prune in spring to improve the shape of the plant.
How to Grow
Spring is the perfect time to plant Nandina domestica. It’s best planted in well-drained soil as it does not like to become water-logged over winter. Dig quite a large hole to help with drainage, and you can add some grit to the soil if it’s quite a wet position. It’s good to add well-rotted compost and/or slow-release fertilizer, and this plant benefits from the use of an ericaceous compost/feed. Planting Nandina domestica in a sunny position will encourage good colouring of the foliage. It’s also good to plant it in an area which is sheltered from the wind, to make the most of the gorgeous leaves which you’ll want to showcase throughout the year.
To create a splash, you could plant a number of the same variety of Nandina domestica together, or indeed you could plant a few different varieties near each other for some contrast. Gulf Stream Rubra, Firepower and Lemon-Lime are all gorgeous varieties, differing in the depth of leaf colour and size, though all remain compact. Good companion plants include those on the opposite side of the colour wheel, e.g. blue Agapanthus, or any flowering perennials. The feathery bushy nature of Nandina domestica also works well beside more formally pruned Buxus sempervirens. Overall, Nandina domestica is a great addition to any garden, and we think you will enjoy watching the seasonal changes of this elegant plant over many years to come.