Nandina is one of the best evergreen garden shrubs with all year round interest. It's common names Heavenly or Sacred Bamboo, even thought it is not a bamboo, or in any way related to a Bamboo. This means it is safe to grow and not a garden thug. It is known as Heavenly Bamboo because it has religious associations in China where it is used to decorate alters and it is also very popular in Japan.
I am always surprised that Nandina is not more widely grown as it is a lovely well behaved shrub. It makes a great addition to the garden; it has a lovely light form, delicate pointed leaves on branches with an arching habit. It looks a little like a bamboo in that the stems are bamboo like in appearance.
One of the best things about growing Heavenly Bamboo is it's all year round colour and interest. When the leaves open they take a red tint which deepens to a ruby read in the autumn. Nandina like it hot and in a good summer with some heat they will produce white flowers as in the image top left, and profusely if the shrub is in good growing conditions followed by bright red berries as in the central image. The colourful nature of the shrub is shown in the image far right. Nandina has a lot going for it and not a difficult shrub to grow, despite its delicate appearance.
One of the real benefits of growing Nandina, the heavenly bamboo, is that when it has lovely autumn colour, it keeps its leaves as an evergreen. So many shrubs which are attractive in the autumn, such as Acers, drop their leaves. Although classified as an evergreen, it may lose some leaves in a cold winter.