Dwarf Nandina...Heavenly Bamboo

suzenla(z8 ne LA)February 17, 2004

I planted the varigated, dwarf Nandina last summer...in full sun. The plants were very small and they have not grown much at all. The leaves are a beautiful red now, but the plants are so small. I have not been able to find much on their requirements...as far as fertilizer and such. Any ideas as to why they are not growing and is there anything I can do to boost the growth? Thanks, Susan

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Django(z9 LA)

Its sounds as though you are doing everything right. You acheived the winter color which seems to be the selling point of these cultivars. It is a dwarf variety. It will grow very (nearly imperceptably) slowly. My nandinas seem to thrive on neglect. (They are just lucky that I let them survive, but that's just me.)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2004 at 3:59PM
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I have one in a pot in the back that I do absolutely nothing for. It seems to be indestructible. The color is wonderful. Being dwarf it isn't going to grow very rapidly.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2004 at 10:52PM
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Heres a Michael agreeing with another Micheal. I've a nandina that is growing in a wisteria thicket. The witeria is super agressive, wrapping around and covering the nandina. Does it die? Not a chance. I cleared out around the poor guy over the winter. It has it's nice red leaf on for the winter and is full of the red seed. Just hang in there the plant will be fine. Mike

    Bookmark   February 24, 2004 at 12:23PM
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LMBHouston(9a TX GulfCoast)


I'm not from Louisiana, but my conditions here along the TX Gulf Coast are really similar. I have Dwarf Purple (though the tag on the plant said purple, I don't see no purple on mine) Nandinas outside my front door. There are eight of the scraggly things that "came with the house." Mine are also lucky I've let them live this long. I've just finally said to myself after willing them to die for three years, O.K. - since they just keep on living I might as well take care of them. Now the question is, what can I do with them (besides yanking them out and tossing 'em on the heap) to make my walk more attractive. If anybody knows I'd appreciate the info.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 9:49AM
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I'd like to know the secret - Nandina - such as the gorgeous smaller 'Firepower' - is sure a hit or miss plant - but an incredible color & textural accent when it's doing well (usually in an old Burger King landscape) and thin & unhappy in other gardens. A key is that if it is a survivor in neglected situtations, maybe too much water is not good. But, on the other hand, under consistent watering in a nursery, there stand 1000's of these plants getting ready to go to market, looking beautiful, only to languish when they hit OUR soil. So, what are we doing wrong?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2004 at 12:59PM
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One of the "errors" I see most with Nandina is that they are planted singly or linearly and that isn't necessarily the best way to display them, especially under adverse conditions. The "problem" is that they are resilient plants amd will often survive without ever thriving. I think Nandina is a victim of it's own successful reputation in that respect.

They work well massed together and can have a luxurious tropical-esque effect when arranged that way.

If they've become scraggly they can be pruned, fertilized, and mulched. Although they will grow just about anywhere they need a nicely cultivated well-drained soil to reach their full potential. That'll go a long ways toward keeping them fully leafed out from top-to-bottom and avoiding the "stick" look.

If your circumstances don't permit adding more nandina for dimension to the planting then you can still improve the soil around them and add dimension by planting ground cover at the base or adding any variety of shorter flowering vines to the planting or interspersing some of the shorter ornamental grasses here-and-there to lend interest, wind motion, and dimension.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 1:21AM
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Nell Jean

Michaelbigeasy, I thought I was the only one with a wisteria/nandina thicket. Mine has spirea too and the wisteria keeps trying to reach over and grab the dogwood.

When the nandina reaches 8 feet and the wisteria covers the whole thing, I take pruners and cut the whole mess to the ground except for the one white wisteria that I have marked, and the spirea. I make a new tripod for the white wisteria and for about two seasons, all is well.

I agree with everybody else: dwarf nandina is specially cultured to be tiny and colorful and nandinas don't care to dance alone. They look best as part of a chorus line.


P.S. Lee Ann, your 'Purple' would probably be purple, farther north in winter.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 19, 2004 at 9:14PM
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