“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars. . .”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(the tiny white buds of a blossoming nandina /Julie Cook / 2014)
I have several varieties of Nandina in our yard, in part because these shrubs are super low maintenance. Nandinas are considered evergreen to semi evergreen plants–depending on the exposure to cold. The shrubs may or may not lose a great deal of leaves in the colder times of the year. The plants produce large clusters of bright red berries which bring a wonderful pop of color to a very dreary winter landscape–plus the berries are a boon to hungry birds who struggle in the frozen winter months scavenging for food.
The Nandina plant is native to Japan, China and India where they are known for bringing luck to any home who has the shrub planted near a home’s entryway. The plants are also known by the name of “heavenly bamboo” as they resemble the growing pattern of bamboo’s woody like upward reaching shoots known as canes.
They offer up volunteers, or new plants, which will sprout up near an existing bush. The new little plants can be dug up and transplanted elsewhere with great success. I’ve even had success pruning the taller plants into a more tree like appearance in which they grow upwards to 8 feet, which is perfect for a spot in the area near a corner of the house which needs some height without the perils which can come from planting a larger growing tree too closely to one’s house–no invasive root system and not limbs crashing down during storms.
The foliage is often used in winter decorations due to the prolific red berries and burgundy tinged green leaves which, in some species, turn a lovely crimson in the fall and winter months. The dwarf varieties, of which the Fire Bush (due to the fiery Fall red foliage) is a common variety, make for a wonderful low growing ground cover shrub.