Nandina is one of the best evergreen shrubs for a garden with all year round interest. It is also known by its 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 because it has a lovely light form, delicate leaves which are pointed on branches with an arching habit. It does look a little like a bamboo in that the stems are bamboo like in appearance.
Heavenly Bamboo has colour; the leaves take a red tint when they open, and deeper reds in the autumn. In a good summer, as Nandina like it hot, they will flower white as in the image left, and profusely if happy where it is growing, 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 Nandina, the heavenly bamboo, is that when it has the lovely autumn colour it keeps its leaves as an evergreen, unlike so many shrubs which are attractive in the autumn, such as Acers, which drop their leaves. Although classified as evergreen, it may loose some leaves in a cold winter.