Make your garden vibrant by growing Nandina: The Heavenly Bamboo Plant

Nandina, also known as the heavenly bamboo plant, is a versatile and attractive addition to any
garden, adding colour and texture. Known for its stunning foliage and easy maintenance,
Nandina is a popular choice among gardeners in South Africa. In this guide, we’ll explore how to
grow and care for Nandina, focusing on three main varieties: Nandina Domestica ‘Dragon Flame’,
Nandina Domestica Obsession, and Nandina Domestica Blush Pink.

Understanding the heavenly bamboo plant

Nandina is an evergreen shrub that thrives in a range of conditions. It is renowned for its vibrant
foliage, which changes colour with the seasons. This plant isn’t just beautiful; it’s also pretty
easy to care for, making it perfect for both newbies and seasoned gardeners alike.

Choosing the Right Nandina Variety

Nandina Domestica ‘Dragon Flame’

Nandina Domestica ‘Dragon Flame’ is known for its striking red leaves, which look their best in full
sun. This variety can handle colder weather, so it’s a great choice for various climates in South
Africa. Just make sure to plant ‘Dragon Flame’ where it gets lots of sunlight to show off its
vibrant colour.

Nandina Domestica Obsession

Nandina Domestica Obsession has lovely green leaves with creamy white edges. It needs a bit
more shade than the ‘Dragon Flame,’ so plant it where it gets morning sun and afternoon shade to
keep the leaves from scorching and to maintain its beautiful look.

Nandina Blush Pink

Nandina Domestica Blush Pink shows off a soft pink blush on its new growth, giving a delicate
touch to any garden. In hot areas like Gauteng, Limpopo, and the Northern Cape, be sure to
provide some afternoon shade to protect its leaves. It does well in well-drained soil and needs
regular watering, especially when it’s dry.

Planting and care tips:

Soil preparation:

The Nandina loves well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter. Before you plant, mix in some
compost or well-rotted manure to boost the soil’s fertility and drainage. Nandina can handle
different soil types, but it really shines in slightly acidic to neutral pH levels.


Location: Pick a spot that matches the sunlight needs of your Nandina variety. ‘Dragon Flame’
loves full sun, while Obsession and Blush Pink prefer partial shade.
Spacing: Make sure to space your Nandina plants about 60-90 cm apart for good air circulation
and growth.
Planting Depth: Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep. Place your plant in
the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface, then fill in with soil and water
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Watering and feeding:

Watering: The heavenly bamboo plant will need regular watering, especially during the first
growing season. Once it’s established, it becomes quite drought-tolerant but still benefits from
occasional deep watering during dry spells.
Feeding: Feed your Nandina with a balanced fertiliser in spring and midsummer to encourage
healthy growth and vibrant foliage. Just be careful not to over-fertilise, as this can cause weak,
excessive growth.


Pruning is key to keeping your heavenly bamboo plant in great shape. Trim away dead or
damaged stems in late winter or early spring. For a bushier look, cut back one-third of the oldest
stems to the ground each year to stimulate new growth.

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Growing Nandina can bring year-round beauty and interest to your garden. By choosing the
right variety and following proper planting and care techniques, you can enjoy the stunning
foliage and low-maintenance charm of this remarkable plant.