Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo)

Noted for its spectacular red berries and excellent foliage color, Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) is an attractive, small, evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub adding multi-season beauty to the garden. In spring, a profusion of tiny, white flowers adorned with golden anthers appear in long arching panicles at the tips of the branches. Rich in nectar, they are of great interest to bees and other pollinators. The flowers are followed by abundant clusters of green berries which ripen to bright red and persist throughout fall and winter, if not devoured by birds. Ornamental and adding winter interest to the landscape, they are held against the bright green lacy foliage of compound leaves with lance shaped leaflets, which emerge purple, mature soft green and turn purple, reddish-purple in fall. Highly popular in the landscape, Heavenly Bamboo is one of the toughest and most adaptable plants, its berry-laden branches providing a pleasing vertical accent.

  • A slow to moderate grower, this rhizomatous shrub enjoys an upright, bamboo-like habit. Grows up to 4-8 ft. tall (120-240 cm) and 2-4 ft. wide (60-480 cm).
  • A full sun to part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in average, moist, well-drained soils. Tolerates a wide range of soils as well as full shade. Best foliage and fruit production generally occur in full sun. For best fruiting, plant several specimens as single plants seldom fruit heavily. Provide a sheltered location and apply organic winter mulch. Drought tolerant once established.
  • Low maintenance, it is generally pest and disease free.
  • Mass in mixed shrub borders, woodland gardens, foundation plantings. Perfect as specimen plant or for informal hedges
  • Propagate by seed or semi-hardwood cuttings
  • Native to Japan, China and India. Plants tend to be invasive in some southern states
  • Leaves and berries are toxic to livestock and other domestic animals. Berries contain cyanide and when consumed in quantity can be toxic to birds.
  • Favorite Nandina domestica cultivars are:
    ‘Alba’ – with white berries and yellowish-green foliage, which turns yellow in fall. Susceptible to cold damage.
    ‘Compacta’ – with a lacy foliage which turns red in fall. Up to 4-5 ft. (120-150 cm) ‘Fire Power’ is a very compact plant to 2 feet tall and wide. It has red-tinged leaves in summer and bright red leaves in winter.
    ‘FirePower’ – A compact variety with yellowish-green leaves in summer, turning orange and red in fall and winter. Up to 2 ft. (60 cm)
    ‘Gulf Stream’ – a slow-growing variety with dark blue-green summer foliage and red winter foliage. No berries. Up to 3-4 ft. (90-120 cm)
    ‘Harbor Dwarf’ – A popular, freely spreading selection with orange red to bronzy red winter foliage. Up to 2 ft. (60 cm)
    ‘Woods Dwarf’ – A rounded variety with dense, crimson red foliage in winter. Up to 4 ft. (120 cm)

Heavenly Bamboos: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties

Heavenly Bamboo is a semi-evergreen shrub grown for its attractive foliage, fruit and flowers.

About heavenly bamboos
Most known for its lance shaped leaves and colorful foliage, heavenly bamboo is a frost hardy, semi-evergreen shrub with attractive textural and colorful characteristics. Nandina blooms in midsummer with small white flowers. Birds are attracted to the clumps of bright red berries. Fall foliage has a bright red color and being semi-evergreen, the color lasts into the winter season. Size: 4-6 feet. Hardiness zones: 6-9.

Special features of heavenly bamboos
Nandiana domestica ‘Firepower’ is the variety most commonly available for purchase at garden centers and nurseries. It begins with lime-green leaves in the spring and that slowly darken to red through the seasons. By fall, the plant is strikingly attractive with bright fire-engine red color, and also bears red fruit clusters into the winter season that are eventually eaten by birds.

Choosing a site to grow heavenly bamboos
Nandina grows best in well drained soil with full sun to partial shade conditions, but is known to have brighter leaf color when planted in areas with greater sunlight exposure. This plant is a common choice in Japanese and Asian garden designs.

Planting Instructions
Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.

Ongoing Care
Heavenly Bamboo is a trouble-free, disease-resistant shrub, requiring minimal care once established. Remember to locate your nandina in full sun for the most dramatic fall color.


From China and Japan, nandina is a true survivor. Old plants are often seen growing in cemeteries, overgrown gardens, on abandoned homesites, where they fruit and flower for decades with absolutely no care. Nandina takes sun or shade, tolerates drought (although well-drained soil is essential), and has no serious pests. Semievergreen or deciduous in the Upper South; leaves drop at 10F and stems are damaged at 5F, but plants usually recover quickly.

Nandina belongs to the barberry family but is reminiscent of bamboo in its lightly branched, canelike stems and delicate, fine-textured foliage. Remarkably upright, its growth is slow to moderate, reaching 68 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It spreads slowly by stolons to form large clumps. Can be divided in fall, winter, or spring. Leaves are intricately divided into many 1- to 2 inches., pointed, oval leaflets, creating a lacy pattern. Foliage expands pinkish and bronzy red, then turns to soft light green. It picks up purple and bronze tints in fall and often turns fiery crimson in winter, especially in sun and with some frost. Pinkish white or creamy white blossoms in loose, erect, 6- to 12 inches clusters at branch ends in late spring or early summer. If plants are grouped, shiny red berries follow the flowers; single plants seldom fruit as heavily. Berries supply winter food for birds; clusters cut for holiday decorations last a long time. Birds will also spread the seeds, so plants may appear where you didn’t plant them. Resistant to damage by deer. Good for screening, containers, and planting in narrow beds. Nandina will not scratch cars or people. Selections include the following.

Blush Pink

  • (‘AKA’).
  • To 2 feet tall and wide.
  • Foliage emerges bright pink in spring, turns red in fall and winter.
  • No berries.


  • To 45 feet tall, 3 feet wide.
  • Very lacy looking, with more canes and narrower, more numerous leaflets than the species.

Fire Power

  • To 2 feet tall and wide.
  • Red-tinged summer foliage turns bright red in winter.


  • (‘Murasaki’).
  • To 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide.
  • New growth is bright red fading to dark red and green.
  • Hardy to -10F (-23C).

Gulf Stream

  • Slow-growing, dense mound to 3312 feet tall, 112 feet wide, with blue-green summer foliage and good red winter color.
  • Does not sucker.
  • No berries.

Harbour Dwarf

  • To 23 feet tall.
  • Rather than forming a discrete clump, it spreads by rhizomes to make a good ground cover.
  • Foliage has orange-red to bronzy red winter color.

Moyers Red

  • Standard-size plant with broad leaflets.
  • Brilliant red winter color in regions that get frost.
  • Flowers are pinker than those of the species, and berries ripen a month or two earlier.


  • (‘Nana Purpurea’, ‘Atropurpurea Nana’).
  • To 2 feet tall, 23 feet wide.
  • Coarse foliage is purplish green in summer, purplish red to bright red in winter.
  • Leaves typically show cupping, curling, and color streaks.
  • Much overusedand out of place in most gardens.
  • A nice gas station plant.
  • Not known to flower or fruit.


  • (‘Seika’).
  • To 34 feet tall and 34 feet wide.
  • Hardy to -10F.
  • Red new growth.

Plum Passion

  • Grows to 45 feet tall and 3 feet wide.
  • Narrow leaves are deep purplish red when young, deep green during summer, and reddish purple in winter.

Sienna Sunrise

  • Slow grower to 34 feet tall, 212 feet wide.
  • Foliage is fiery red when new; it matures to medium green by summer, then picks up red highlights again in winter.

Woods Dwarf

  • Slow, dense grower to 112 feet high and wide.
  • Foliage turns crimson-orange to scarlet in winter.

N. d

  • leucocarpa (‘Alba’).
  • Similar to the species in size and shape, but berries of this selection are creamy yellow and the light green foliage lacks the typical reddish bronze tinge.

Nandina grows best in rich soil with regular water, but its roots can even compete with tree roots in dry shade. In alkaline soil, leaves may appear yellow with green veins due to iron deficiency. To reduce height, use hand pruners, never hedge shears. Maintain a natural look by pruning each stalk to a different height, cutting back to a tuft of foliage. Renew neglected clumps by cutting one-third of the main stalks to the ground each year for three years.

Nandina Domestica Richmond

Nandina Domestica Richmond commonly known as Heavenly Bamboo is a spreading evergreen shrub which has mid green lance shaped leaves which will turn a striking hot red colour in autumn months, making an impact when planted in groups. In the months of June and July the Nandina Domestica Richmond will bloom upright panicles of white flowers tinted with pink. Closely followed by red glossy berries, a favourite with birds. Being such a stunning colour the Nandina can be planted in many, if not all planting locations, garden types and planting schemes where it will natural fit in and provide all year interest.

Nandina Domestica Richmond care

The Nandina Domestica Richmond thrives in a sunny, warm area of the garden with moist, well drained soil, sheltered from strong cold winds. Generally easy to grow and suitable for all gardeners, with minimal pruning in spring, simply cutting back any dead or damaged branches or any which begin to mishape the plant from its natural framework, all of this will encourage a healthy, bushy growth.

How to Care for Heavenly Bamboo

Heavenly bamboo is a beautiful plant you can grow in your garden or inside of your home. This is a gorgeous bush known for its beautiful foliage, tender flowers and striking berries. It can provide so much color in your garden, even during the winter. If you wish to grow a Heavenly bamboo it is important to know what to provide to your plant so it can grow healthy.

Heavenly bamboo plants don’t ask much to thrive. They can grow strong and healthy even with a minimum of care. However, it is always good to pay some attention to your plant. This will be very rewarding since your Heavenly bamboo will grow strong and healthy. It will also reward you with gorgeous flowers and colorful berries.

Heavenly Bamboo Care Requirements

You can grow your Heavenly bamboo in almost any type of soil. However, make sure that this plant thrives in a rich, well-drained soil. In case that the soil in your garden is alkaline, make sure to add some iron to make it suitable for growing Heavenly bamboo plants.

Heavenly bamboo can be a bit demanding when it comes to the exact spot where it’s placed. It prefers some shade and it likes to be sheltered. However, keep in mind that it produces better foliage color and berries in the sun. This plant is excellent for corners in the garden. It will look great when planted against a wall where it can cast shadow patterns.

This is an evergreen plant that grows slowly. In order to make it thrive, you need to provide it with regular waterings. It should also have some protection from too hot sun. Other than that, there are not many things that this plant requires to grow and thrive.

In the spring, it is important to prune your Heavenly bamboo plant (see below). This is also a good time to apply some balanced fertilizer and treat your Heavenly bamboo with some mulch of rotted leaves. Later in the spring, give your plant some bonemeal. In the winter, it is important to apply mulch consisting of rotten compost or leaves.


Heavenly bamboo can live if the temperatures drop to 10 degrees but will probably become defoliated. Keep in mind that these plants are drought and frost resistant. However, if a spring drought happens when the blooms are dropping and the small fruit are being set it may cause the lost of that year’s crop of berries. This is one thing to keep in mind.

If there is not enough moisture, the small green fruits will dry and drop off. It is therefore important to water your Heavenly bamboo regularly during the blooming time if the weather is dry. If you do this chances are that you will be rewarded with plenty of berries.

Pruning Your Heavenly Bamboo

Pruning is important for shaping your Heavenly bamboo. It is also useful when you want to keep your plant healthy and strong. Keep in mind that a Heavenly bamboo becomes leggy if you allow it to grow above 5 feet in height.

If you wish to emphasize elegance and want to have a plant with airy, graceful canes, you should shape your shrub to be narrow and slender. This can be achieved with careful pruning. You need to reduce the number of stems by simply cutting some off at the ground level. This is the best way to carefully silhouette your Heavenly bamboo.

On the other hand, if you wish to have a thick bush or a strong hedge, it is best to encourage new bushy growth. However, it is important to monitor the growth and not to let your plant grow above five feet in height.

It is best to do pruning early in the spring. Do it when the berries begin to drop but before the new growth starts. This is the point when some of the old, tall canes should be cut out completely. This will encourage new growth from the base, which will promote strength and make your Heavenly bamboo healthier.

How to Propagate Heavenly Bamboo

It is very easy to propagate Heavenly bamboo if this is what you wish to do. The best and quickest method to propagate these plants is by transplanting the shoots or runners. These will come easily from an established plant. Established Heavenly bamboo plants have runners that are up to one foot long. These are great for transplanting your Heavenly bamboo. It is best to do transplanting in the fall.

On the other hand, it is possible to start your Heavenly bamboo plants directly from seed. This is a very satisfying project you can do if you have time and want to see your plants grow from seed. To start your Heavenly bamboo in this way, simply gather the berries after they have turned dark and before they fall. Place them under the light mulch around the parent plant. This is all you need to do: the new plants will grow and care for themselves until they are large enough to transplant them. This transplanting should be done in the fall.

However, if you wish to start a large quantity of Heavenly bamboo seeds, make sure to sow seeds carefully and then cover them with about one inch of loose soil. When done like this, the seed will germinate in about five to six weeks.

Young plants will greatly benefit if you apply some shallow mulch of old compost and if you feed your new plants with some bonemeal. Always make sure to transplant in the fall. Provide the same care to your new and old plants. This process will give you a good number of Heavenly bamboo plants in a relatively short time.

Photo credit: guzhengman Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) via photopin (license)

Revelstoke Mountaineer, Aug. 13, 2015 by Emily Spiler, Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society: Take a look out your back door to check for this invader. Knotweed is an incredibly invasive perennial, and is classified as “noxious” under the BC Weed Control Act.

There are four different species of knotweed found in BC: Bohemian, Japanese, Himalayan, and Giant. Originally brought over from Asia, this bamboo-looking plant wreaks havoc in backyards. Gardeners in the region likely share this plant unknowingly, and it has been nicknamed ‘False Bamoo.’ Knotweed has been found throughout Canada and B.C., including the Revelstoke, Shuswap and Columbia Regions.

This invader grows extremely large and fast — with reports of it growing over six centimeters per day (the stems can grow up to five metres in height!) Knotweed roots can grow up to three metres deep and 20 metres across. If stem or root fragments are left behind or mowed it can re-sprout, making it difficult to eradicate. Knotweeds can thrive just about anywhere, but habitats that are particularly high risk include along ditches or stream banks where plant material can be carried downstream.

Why is Knotweed so terrible?

Knotweeds are a serious ecological threat to our native biodiversity and habitats. Knotweeds grow in extremely dense patches, making it nearly impossible for anything else to grow. It can suppress other desirable or native species by hogging essential resources needed for growth such as space, sunlight, water, and nutrients. They have the potential to disrupt habitat for native species such as salmon, impact the food chain, and increase soil erosion.

Additionally, many social and economic impacts can result from a knotweed infestation including property or infrastructure damage, reduced visibility along roadways, and reduced access to water bodies affecting recreation. Knotweeds are known to grow through cement and can damage your foundation, driveway and septic system.

How do you get rid of Knotweed?

Getting rid of knotweed will take hard work and dedication, but it is possible. Many organizations discourage manual removal or digging because any small fragments can re-grow into several more plants. One of the most effective treatments is to use a specially-selected herbicide that will attack knotweed’s deep root-systems, and applied by a certified pesticide applicator. If any plant material is removed, it should be brought to the landfill for deep burial. Disposal should be done carefully and responsibly in sealed bags so that plant material is not spread while being transported.

To prevent the spread of knotweed, learn how to identify this plant and avoid purchasing or sharing it in gardens. You can also report infested areas using B.C.’s “Report-A-Weed” app on your phone. To keep Revelstoke knotweed-free and protect our natural resources, spread awareness, and keep an eye out for this invasive plant!

Watch Knot on my property! for more information about the dangers of Knotweed.

More TIPS for knotweed management can be found at: Knotweed TIPS

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention, management and reduction of invasive species in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. CSISS is thankful for the generous support of the Columbia Basin Trust, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

To learn more about invasive species in the Columbia Shuswap region please visit:

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