Smith County Master Gardener
This little fellow should only grow to about 18 inches high by 24 inches wide. We really love nandinas and have several cultivars in the garden. We noticed it right off one wintery cold day while viewing the garden. Its rosy blush just lights up and begs attention in an otherwise dreary winter garden.
Other varieties of Nandina in the garden are Harbor Dwarf, Compacta, Firepower, Nana and Gulf Stream. They all contribute greatly to our landscape and we really appreciate their easy behavior. They are perhaps the easiest perennial we grow. They require nothing other than to cut back old canes every few years as needed.
Nandinas have gotten a bad rap lately because the old Nandina domestica with its clusters of red berries has become a nightmare in the wild, where birds have dropped seeds. Every seed comes up and in a couple of years the bushes become so large that you can hardly move them. They grow rampantly throughout the woodlands and many states have banned the sale of that particular nandina.
Fortunately, the dwarf varieties do not make berries and cannot take over the world. They have beautiful evergreen or shades of reds and purple, and now pink foliage. In summer the foliage is green, yellow, pink and all colors in between.
Nandinas are the easiest of easy plants to grow. They will grow in full sun, where they will color up best, or in a fair amount of shade. They love East Texas and are fairly drought tolerant once they are established. The smallest cultivars make great ground covers and look great in very narrow beds.
Dee Bishop is a Smith County Master Gardener. She writes about plants found in the Tyler Rose Garden.