Heavenly Bamboo

    • Hang codling moth traps in apple trees to reduce the number of wormy apples in your harvest this year. Be sure to use a fresh pheromone (attractant).
    • Spray roses every two weeks to keep them healthy and prevent leaf diseases. Neem oil is a safe alternative to chemicals.
    • Earwigs are out and about and hungry. Control them with “Sluggo Plus” or diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the plants, or go out after dark with a flashlight and a spray bottle of insecticidal soap. One squirt will put an end to the spoiler.
    • Thin fruit trees now while fruits are still small. Thin apples to 6 inches apart and peaches to 4 inches apart. On Asian pears leave one fruit per spur.
    • It’s time to put out oriole feeders. You can also attract them with fresh orange halves.

Heavenly Bamboo

Heavenly Bamboo—Nandina domestica—has to be near the top of any list of desirable, attractive, easy-to-care-for, mid-sized shrubs for the home garden. In spite of its name and appearance, they are not related to bamboo and share none of their negative traits.

The delicate foliage, with its bamboo-like appearance, is attractive in every season. In spring the new growth is pinkish, turning to a light green in the summer. Then when the chill of fall arrives, the leaves turn a bright red. They hold on the plant most of the winter with this colorful look. Considered a semi-evergreen shrub, it is never without leaves.

Large clusters of creamy or pinkish-white blossoms appear in late spring, followed by showy red berries that hang on the plants into the winter, until the birds discover them and enjoy the tasty winter treat. In the meantime, they can be used for winter decorations.

There are many different varieties of Nandina, which is what makes it such an interesting and useful group of shrubs. The largest is the common variety, Nandina domestica. It grows to 8 feet tall and about 6 feet wide over time. It is mostly an upright shrub, useful for height in somewhat narrow spaces. But be sure to give it at least a 4-foot bed.

Another fine large Nandina is called ‘Moyer’s Red’. It has the same growth habit as common Nandina, but truly brilliant fall color.

Nandina domestica ‘Compacta’ is similar to the parent shrub, but it only grows to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. This makes it very useful in smaller gardens, as a low hedge, or in courtyards or entryways. Slightly smaller is a variety called ‘Gulf Stream’. The new growth is scarlet, maturing to blue-green in summer and becoming intense red in the fall.

Among the dwarf varieties is ‘Firepower’. It grows to about 2 feet tall and wide and is knows for its brilliant red foliage in the fall and winter. It produces no flowers or fruit. It is an excellent plant to add color in a shaded landscape.

‘Harbour Dwarf’ is a slow grower to only 18 in. tall, 2½ ft. wide. Use it as a mounding groundcover in partially shaded areas. It makes a nice border around a small pond where it will frame the pond without getting too tall.

‘Moon Bay’ is a mid-sized, globe-shaped variety that grows 3 feet tall and wide. Its lime-green foliage turns brilliant red in the fall. It also produces small star-shaped white flowers followed by red berry-like clusters that persistent through the winter.

Heavenly bamboos are hardy shrubs that grow well in either sun or partial shade. Once established, they need only occasional watering, so they are useful in dry shade. In many landscapes they are deer resistant.

They are particularly useful in Asian-inspired gardens. Or, for a real show, grow in glazed ceramic pots beside water gardens and fountains.

Adding its unique foliage color through four seasons, natural rugged vigor and low care needs, this is an excellent landscape shrub.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.