Nandina domestica, commonly called heavenly bamboo, is a broadleaf evergreen shrub that is ornamentally grown for its interesting foliage and its often spectacular fruit display. It is native to Japan, China and India. This is a rhizomatous, upright, evergreen shrub that typically grows to 4-8’ tall and to 2-4’ wide. In St. Louis, it is semi-evergreen to deciduous, and typically grows shorter since the stems often will die to the ground in winter. Although it belongs to the Barberry family, it is commonly called heavenly bamboo because its erect, cane-like stems and compound leaves resemble bamboo. Tiny whitish flowers with yellow anthers appear in late spring in loose, erect, terminal clusters. Flowers are followed by sprays of spherical, two-seeded, red berries which persist from fall to spring, providing winter interest. Plant form, foliage, fall color make this an interesting ornamental for the landscape. Group or mass for best effect. Shrub borders or open woodland gardens. Foundations. Good in informal settings. Can be used as an informal hedge in warm winter climates where it remains evergreen and does not die to the ground.
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
- Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for 2-3 months.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Fill a pot witha mixture of half potting soil and half sand or vermiculite. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the container and leave it to drain.
- Put the pot in a warm, sunny area.
- Water the pot regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet.
- The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.