- Nandina features delicate, canelike stems and light foliage. The oval, pointed leaflets reach up to 2 inches in length, according to Pima County Cooperative Extension. The wide range of leaf colors results in its common use as a landscaping plant. The young leaves start off pink, and then gradually turn a soft, light green. The leaf matures during the summer and fall months to a dark shade of green. Winter months turn the leaves red, especially after a frost. Light-pink flowers appear in early summer, forming clusters at the end of branches. Shiny, red berries appear in September, often lasting through the winter.
- Nandina grows at a slow-to-moderate rate, according to Clemson Cooperative Extension. Depending on growing conditions, the plant grows 12 to 24 inches per year. Location, soil fertility, light and water availability affect its growth rate.
Ideal Growing Conditions
- Clemson Cooperative Extension recommends nandina for border, specimen and foundation planting. While nandina grows in many locations with little care, the plant thrives in moist, fertile soil with a pH range of 3.7 to 6.4. Locations shielded from harsh winds protect the lacy, open leaves. The foliage color variations depend on the amount of sunlight the plant receives. Nandina grows well in partial shade, but full sun allows the leaves to turn red in the winter.
- Nandina's fleshy root system allows for quick recovery from transplantation in the cooler fall months. Temperatures falling below 10 degrees cause the plant to lose its leaves, according to Clemson University. At 5 degrees, the stems die back to the ground. Nandia's perennial nature allows it to recover quickly in the spring.
- Pruning helps control the height and leggy growth of nandina. Sue Adee of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service recommends a specific pruning style during the winter promoting lush growth and berry production during the next year. Randomly choose 1/4 of the stems throughout the plant and cut them back to the ground. Prune another 1/4 of the stems to 1/3 the height of the plant. Cut half the remaining stems to 2/3 the plant height. Leave the remaining stems uncut.