Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Heavenly Bamboo, Nandina
Nandina domestica

Family: Berberidaceae (bear-ber-id-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Nandina (nan-DEE-nuh) (Info)
Species: domestica (doh-MESS-tik-a) (Info)

8 vendors have this plant for sale.

32 members have or want this plant for trade.

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6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 38 photos.
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34 positives
9 neutrals
20 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative kikuyu On Aug 26, 2014, kikuyu from Adelaide
Australia wrote:

Absolute nightmare. For the sake of the next owners (and/or your future self), please don't plant! I'm trying to grow vegetables in a yard full of kikuyu grass and this junk! As stated, it pops up everywhere. When chopping it, I dropped an inch-long piece of stem on the ground... a few weeks later, it had become a plant!!

I really want to espalier fruit trees where it currently resides, but have no idea how I'm going to remove it. With herniated discs, I can't dig too much so am beyond frustrated.

Negative Spenser On Jul 15, 2014, Spenser from Danielsville, PA wrote:

I planted this 6 years ago because it said NON-invasive. My husband likes bamboo but I have always said NO, so thought this would be a nice alternative. 3 years ago, I noticed a smaller plant popped up about two feet away and this year (after I thought it died because of the extremely cold winter) I had many smaller ones, growing in my lilac, dwarf mugo pine and azalea. I tried to pull them out. Dig them out. Nope, they were all attached by roots to the parent plant, just like regular bamboo. Some of the roots were 4' long to the parent plant. I am now using a brush killer on it. Still coming back but will not give up. We really do not have good soil, clay, stone and slate. So I really don't know why it is doing well.

Positive obiehome88 On May 24, 2014, obiehome88 from Lansdale, PA wrote:

I live in Pa near Phila. and love the Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina). I have 3 in my yard and will get another. I have not experienced them being invasive as I have had 2 for over 6 years now. They are a real accent plant in my yard.The fall berries are exquisite and easy to trim.I do not know why others see them as invasive so perhaps it is my area that is not.

Negative pontyrogof On Apr 9, 2014, pontyrogof from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

In my experience, this plant can be much more invasive than true bamboo, even the runner kind of bamboo. Nandina pops up anywhere like fires in a child's nightmare and it establishes itself with hard woody roots and stems, and you can't even eat it! I don't know where the original owners of my house introduced it, but now it has appeared along the building's foundation, right in the middle of walkways, and even between the boxwoods in a hedge. As is mentioned elsewhere, it is spread far and wide by birds eating the fruit and pooping the seeds. I got a weed wrench to pull it all out, an expensive tool, but worth being able to get all the roots with the trunks.

Positive Kelliq81 On Oct 15, 2013, Kelliq81 from Jonesboro, AR (Zone 7b) wrote:

We are in Jonesboro AR - zone 7B - have them along the fence line to block neighbors stuff - LOVE them. Think we are moving and we're going to dig every other one out to take to new house - that's how much we like them. The foliage and the berries are a winner!

Positive manza On Jul 4, 2013, manza from Long Beach, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

In Southern California, this plant thrives on neglect. It was already planted in our yard when we bought the house over 30 years ago. The plant is still about the same size, although I hacked it in half twice in 30 years. It is growing in clay-ish soil here. I usually don't even water it and we don't get much rain. Could rain or soil type be the factor between those who love it and those who hate it???

Positive originalfatboy On Jun 7, 2013, originalfatboy from Cabot, AR wrote:

No problems here.
I would welcome more aggressiveness, as they are planted as a screen between me and Sanford & Son next door.
Arkansas birds apparently don't care for the berries, which I pick off all I can find anyway, to direct the energy into foliage.

Negative willvan On Apr 15, 2013, willvan from Brunswick, ME wrote:

Just returning from a recent visit to Bethesda, Maryland (Washington, DC area) I saw a lot of this used as landscape plantings, and even collected a few berries.

I'm sure I saw several varieties and specimens in many areas, some looking like they had escaped there. This one reminds me of the problems we have here in Maine with burning-bush (Euonymus) and Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)

Like the worst invasives I have at home, the risk here is multiplied many times when the plant spreads by fruit with seeds eaten by birds. We can always say we can control it, either through digging or chemicals, but we cannot control the birds!

Stick with a native alternatives--there are so many choices in the growing range of this guy.

Negative leafnobudbehind On Dec 24, 2012, leafnobudbehind from Chapel Hill, NC wrote:

A landscapers dream but a conservationists nightmare, N. domestica needs next to no human help to thrive and multiply. This habit of rapid growth and propagation, however, causes this plant to be a very aggressive invasive. The woody roots and runners are near impossible to pull out so make sure you really want this for a long time before you plant it. The bizarre texture of the stems and leaves give away the exotic origin of the plant, and unless very diligently pruned and managed this plant looks very tacky and, as one user said, "ho-hum", because of it's amorphous tree-like growth habit. In a typical day, I'll see it planted in at least 3 separate instances - the calling card of lazy landscapers who want a quick and easy shrub to plant that will survive almost anything. Some cultivars can be less invasive and have better color, but you're better off just using a hardy native like a viburnum. When these escape into the wild (not IF - birds love the berries and that's an effective dispersal technique), they'll grow into dense stands and crowd out native vegetation.

Final thoughts: this plant had it's benefits, but now it is overplanted and just looks cheap and tacky in otherwise beautiful landscapes. Do our native plants a favor and use natives instead of Nandina domestica!

Positive thymekiller On Apr 16, 2012, thymekiller from Aransas Pass, TX wrote:

My experience with Nandina began near Corpus Christi, TX, where it was a very popular plant. I was surprised at first to find them growing happily as well here in Springfield, MO (zone 6b). They are planted along the foundation in spots at the assisted living community where work, and both the staff and resident enjoy them for their year-round beauty. Yes, they are invasive if you let them be, but as part of my job is landscape maintenance there, I have the opportunity to keep them under control, as well as share them with my co-workers. They grow equally well in sun and shade - they are planted on both the north and south sides of the building. Occasionally they DO require pruning, and I just cut out the tallest canes until I have the height I'm looking for. I just planted a woody root cutting in the shade of my back yard today, and I'm looking forward to enjoying it for years to come.

Positive JMSWilson On Mar 5, 2012, JMSWilson from East Tennessee 6b/7a, TN wrote:

No spreading by root or seed (only one plant seeded in 25 years!) in the fields, forests, and mountains of East Tennessee. I went out just now and checked the beautiful red berries on my plants. Most of the seed doesn't look viable. Must be the weather here in zone 6b/7a.
Nandina looks good both in formal settings with boxwoods, and in informal settings with tall winter grasses and yucca. I use the evergreen Berkmans arborvitae (very slowly growing to 10ft. in 20 years) and Nandina (to 6ft.) to "tie together" the formal and informal areas around my house. Trim a Nandina stem by 1/3 and another by 2/3rds to make a fuller bush-especially nice behind a yucca (almost overhanging it a little). Don't trim the Nandina behind the Berkmans arborvitae or next to the boxwoods, however...the leggy bamboo-like stems give great contrast. Use New Guinea impatiens at their feet in summer for a fuller, different look.
Nandina also look great right next to the house (in shady, drier areas) where nothing else seems to want to grow. I've got a tall one hiding the electrical meter by the gutter on the southeast side of the house. In summer the leaves are green, but in winter shades of green with red...with bright red berries that last all winter! Pretty and tough-what wonderful plants! I could use some more-anyone in Cosby, Newport or Knoxville TN giving any away? I've transplanted 4ft. Nandinas before, and can do it again! (Hint, Hint! :D)

Positive mmosley On Feb 9, 2012, mmosley from Pine Bluff, AR wrote:

Grows well here in southeast Arkansas. Beautiful red leaf coloring during fall & winter that transforms to a fresh green color during summer with occasional flowers. Isn't really invasive here. It stays in its own area & has for over 10 years & counting. Just be sure to give it a space of around 5'x5' if planning to put it in the ground. Handles wind, drought, unusually cold weather, heavy rain--& it makes a nice privacy screen up to around 6 feet tall--probably taller if i'd stop pruning it from time to time.

Neutral phoenixfarmer On Jan 24, 2012, phoenixfarmer from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

I want to plant this in the area of my chickens. I understand that this plant has poisonous parts (berries?) Birds eat the berries, right? Any anticipated problem with the chickens?

Positive warnock31510 On Dec 26, 2011, warnock31510 from gibson, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I've had a lot of experience with this plant from early childhood, into commercial landscape maintenance & now as lazy, retired gardener. It always grew on older homesites in GA, is still used by landscapers & is often featured in gardening magazines. Why? Its evergreen, has 2 seasons of color, is disease & insect resistant, is drought tolerant and survives most neglect. What more could you ask of a plant? Proper pruneing is a great help. Once a year in late winter prune 1/3 of the trunks back to 6", 1/3 to the height you want the plant to be and the other 1/3 about half way between the two previous cuts. This will give you a plant with full leaf from top to bottom. Left unpruned it begins to resemble a small tree with bare trunks at the botton defeating its great screening potential. In the winter the red berrys make great additions to holiday decorations as well as adding color to an otherwise bleak winter landscape. Any seedings that come up are very easy to remove as any weed. Please don't put nandina in the same category with fruitcake!

Positive virginiarose On Oct 4, 2011, virginiarose from Southeast, VA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is the most beautiful shrub I own and they first came to my attention at a house we rented about 10 years ago. Two were at the front near gutter drain and there were seedlings and I easily pulled them up. Here at my own house I have not had that problem because I have mulch around them and I know nothing about the roots being a problem because I have dug up a few and I did not think anything of it, just another bush. If you live south of Virginia you might want to reconsider, but as for me I love this shrub and recently planted two more. Great winter color and neo orange berries.

Positive BryanGatesRealtor On Aug 23, 2011, BryanGatesRealtor from Jacksonville,FL
United States wrote:

I have seen this plant do everything that was mentioned. When I first moved into my home it was growing uncontrollably and had runners and new growth shooting up on the opposite side of my house from where the original plants were. It was very difficult to remove and get under control. I did take two specimens and plant them next to the gate leading to my backyard but I left them grow tall. The previous owner had tried to keep them as a hedge. The growth slowed down and when they approached 5 feet they almost completely stopped spreading. (I transplanted them about 9 years ago and they are almost 7 feet tall now. The maximum height is about 8 feet from what I've seen.) It seems that cutting them short makes them spread, whereas letting them grom tall and occasionally cutting off any runners keeps it under control.

Positive Tresgen On Apr 14, 2011, Tresgen from Seagraves, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have a picture or two of my mother standing in front of their house, which she had sent to my father when he was stationed in the Pacific Theater during WWII. Behind her are some Nandinas. It's all these years later, I've inherited the house, and the Nandinas are still providing lovely foliage and beautiful berries. They're especially lovely in the rare snow we get here in Texas. I've never found them to be invasive; but can vouch for their extraordinary hardiness. I think of them as my "heirloom Nandinas". :)

Positive pasogardener On Mar 19, 2011, pasogardener from Paso Robles, CA wrote:

I too am surprised at all the negatives. This is my absolute all time favorite plant. I've used in three different homes with great results. The variations of color over each season are wonderful. Red berries in winter/spring. Flowers in spring/summer. Good fall color. I generally cut back once plant reaches desired height, but I prune by removing entire stalks. In that way, my plants remain full from bottom to top. I don't think they resemble regular bamboo at all, which is very invasive and messy. I have never found Nandina to be invasive, but maybe our central California coast is different. For me, they require minimal care and provide fantastic results.

Negative merman1122 On Nov 21, 2010, merman1122 from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Almost impossible to get rid of. Here in the Arizona low desert it proliferates even in full shade. Grows without watering it for months. Roots burrow into and under foundations causing damage. Only positive is it does turn a nice shade of red in the fall. I also have regular bamboo growing and this is nothing like bamboo which is easy to get rid of by not watering. Don't be fooled by the name. Choose something else.

Negative kkoehler On Oct 11, 2010, kkoehler from Charlotte, NC wrote:

We have four of these flanking the front porch of our rental home. Seems like every four weeks I'm having to trim it despite the itching and rash I get from doing so. I've concluded I am allergic to this plant. If you have sensitive skin, it may be advisable not to have this plant in your yard. I agree with many of the negatives here about Heavenly Bamboo from my experiences since moving into this home. This stuff grows tall like most bamboo. If I don't trim ours every so many weeks, it gets 6 feet tall.

Positive tvksi On Sep 15, 2010, tvksi from Paris, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

Happy in Paris with Nandina. I think there are 5 tall ones on the south, length of house with taylored solid evergreen ground cover. They are tall, bare multi-trunked spreading out at the top and look quite atractive. We/I trim them up every few years and hardly ever water them. They are so independant I forget they are there for months at a time. None of my neighbors have any and they have been here since the house was built about 35 years ago.

They sucker a lot and I imagine they all have heck-of-a root system, I'll be leaving them there and just enjoy them. Since i am now aware of their agressivness, Iwill try to remember to remove blossoms before they go to seed.

Negative NurseExternER On Aug 1, 2010, NurseExternER from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

This plant is miserable! It is a highly invasive plant. I have decided to dig mine up because in a 2-year period the plant has doubled in size from when we moved in. In order to get rid of the bush is is necessary to dig up every bit of the root system. And leave no trace of the roots, plant, leaves or berries behind. They will grow! First I chopped down the shrub with hedge clippers and a machete. Then I dug an 18 inch trench around the outer part of the plant until I was no longer digging roots up. Then I had to break up the center portion with a pick axe into manageable chunks. The root system was like a ball of hard, dry wood. It would have been best if I could have found a backhoe! I have been working on this project by myself for about a month. I still have about a quarter of the plant's roots mass to get rid of, then I can start getting the smaller roots left over. I live in the N. Florida/S. Georgia area. This plant is horrible. It's also a very tacky looking plant. Actually, in my quest to conquer this thing I've discovered that the plant is a bunch of individual weed-like plants with intertwined roots. Don't plant this in your yard, it will take over, guaranteed! It's choking everything else out, not to mention that it IS poisonous. My dog has gotten a hold of a few twigs from it and it has made him very sick and puked.

Negative Jackie5_0 On May 1, 2010, Jackie5_0 from Summerville, SC wrote:

PURE EVIL!!!!! Super invasive!!!
The previous owners of my house planted this along the fence toward one side of my backyard, then they abandoned the house for 5 years. By the time I bought the house it had spread ALL OVER. It had made its way to the other side of the backyard, and into my neighbors yards. It actually started moving my heat pump and broke up a brick and mortar garden (all of this was on the far side opposite where it was originally planted)
It is a nightmare to get rid of!! I have probably spent more the 50 hours pulling it all out. The thick, deep root nests were worse then what I had seen with bamboo. An axe would bounce rite off them barley doing any damage.
I still have bits of it popping up, and even worse some of it must have gotten loose while I was pulling it out and now it's been popping up in my front yard. No weed/brush/vine killer has effected it. I had even tried root rot which did nothing.
A lot of sites and garden centers dont say anything to indicate how invasive this plant is, they really need to give people a warning.

Neutral celts On Apr 25, 2010, celts from Tuscola, IL wrote:

Truly, one of the most beautiful shrubs for fall--took my breath away when I found it in a garden center in southern Kentucky and lugged 3 large specimen home. I kept 2 for central Illinois and gave my sister and friend one for central Indiana---theirs is just now starting to throw out sprouts from old wood, and one of mine is as well. I will keep my eyes on the other and pray for growth.

Negative jktx On Apr 19, 2010, jktx from Austin, TX wrote:

INVASIVE exotic. Unfortunately, this has been a very popular plant in the nurseries in central Texas because this plant grows well here and is evergreen. The problem is that it grows too well and, aside from being over-used, is extremely invasive. PLEASE DO NOT use this plant. IT IS SPREADING throughout the woods in our area. Please choose a noninvasive exotic or--better yet--a native plant instead.

Positive gailhurn On Feb 7, 2010, gailhurn from Marble Falls, TX wrote:

Will Heavenly Bamboo, Nandina grow in full sun in Central Texas?

Positive lehua_mc On Jun 11, 2009, lehua_mc from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

Wow, for all our Oregonian concern about invasive plants, the Nandina is not a hot topic at garden parties. It's more of a must have for our dark shady under canopy areas. While there are some very large mature plants in some gardens (yards), they function as a shrub should, with an average whack back when the mood strikes. For its evergreen, open, lacy and changing nature, I still think there are regions where it can be enjoyed!

Negative grovespirit On Mar 28, 2009, grovespirit from Sunset Valley, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Invasive! Not only does it spread by roots, but also by seeds. Takes over local ecosystems. It crowds out native plant preserves, because birds spread it by eating the berries.

It's also quickly becoming one of several overused, boring landscape plants that makes your landscape look cheap and ho-hum, because so many people are planting it.

Neutral Malevettech On Nov 17, 2008, Malevettech from Columbus, OH wrote:

I have done alot of research on this plant. I know about its invasive habits. I have had it for 4 years in my garden. It is not evergreen in this zone (5B), and may die back to the ground. Mine is about four feet tall now and staying in a nice tight clump. It is a very nice plant for late fall color. It may keep its leaves untill january depending on the weather. I have only had it die back all the way once. I was not able to find a source in my area, but on a vacation to WV I found it a at home depot. I have been very happy with it and woud like more, but will not be in WV again for a long time.

Positive RichNV On Nov 7, 2007, RichNV from Henderson, NV wrote:

This plant grows very welll here in the hot desert in the shade / morning sun. I have even seen it in full sun conditions, but does it not look as good. I have them planted on the north side of some palm trees, so it gets shade and also helps to partly hide the palm trunks. Great winter color and requires little water. In NO WAY is it invasive in the desert soil.

Positive Mombird On Oct 6, 2007, Mombird from Dana Point, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I am so surprised at the number of negatives on this plant. It almost sounds like we're talking about 2 entirely different plants. Here in So. Ca, I have grown this plant in 3 different homes for nearly 30 years and I love it! Especially some of the newer cultivars like gulf stream and Sienna sunrise, which are full and lush all the way to the ground, with beautiful shades of orange and red. I have never SEEN a runner, nor
a plant over 4 1/2 feet tall. Perhaps it's our lack of extreme humidity and heat, I don't know.

Positive Opoetree On Aug 10, 2007, Opoetree from Oak View, CA wrote:

We have had this plant growing in our front yard for twenty years. It has withstood drought and hard frost conditions. The foliage is amazingly lovely and the plant requires little care...I almost feel that it has been neglected -- but, you could not tell from the way it grows on dependably year after year.

Negative renatelynne On Jul 30, 2007, renatelynne from Boerne new zone 30, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Hard to get rid of once you have it. Grows like a weed. Completely invasive in Texas

Positive victorgardener On Jul 7, 2007, victorgardener from Lower Hudson Valley, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

Notice all the comments on aggressiveness come from the warmer areas. Not at all aggressive here and makes a wonderful 4 season shrub. The ugly legs are the one downer, but as Deb said, it can be addressed with proper pruning to different heights. Love this plant.

Negative chantilly On Jun 2, 2007, chantilly from Hamilton, TX wrote:

Although I have to agree that this plant can and in some ways does look quite pretty (at times), it's a major thorn in my side right now. We just bought our house in January, and nandina is the shrub of choice in the flower beds on both sides. Trouble is, it's so huge and overgrown in both areas that I don't know what to do with it. I'd like to plant other things in at least some of those flower beds, but so far I've had no luck getting rid of what I've got. I read all the suggestions for getting rid of the runners and such, but does anyone have any input on getting rid of the mature plants? The root system is akin to a small tree, and I simply don't know how to get enough of it up to kill the darned things.

Neutral frostweed On Dec 27, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Heavenly Bamboo, Nandina Nandina domestica is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.

Positive DebinSC On Nov 23, 2006, DebinSC from Georgetown, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I've always had these in my yard. Yes, they tend to multiply, but can be controlled without alot of effort, at least that has been my experience. If they are too tall or leggy, you can hard prune in very early spring (Jan. is good). Seems to work best in 1/3s, i.e. a 3rd of the shoots tallest, a 3rd medium, a 3rd short.

Positive greenbud On Jul 13, 2006, greenbud from Houston, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love the foliage. It almost has a Japanese garden look to it. From now on I will cut off the berries, which I haven't been very impressed with the appearance of anyway. The foliage offers year round interest - beautiful colors. Low maintenance, takes pruning very well, root suckers pull up easily (most of the time). I have several as foundation plants mixed with daylilies, dwarf crepe myrtle, azaleas, dianthus, petunias, white-veined dutchman's pipevine, Ligustrum (one trimmed up as a topiary and one limbed up as a small tree) caladiums, dwarf burford holly, a cleyera shrub and a gardenia shrub. I love it.

Positive CarolesJungle On May 24, 2006, CarolesJungle from Naples, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant always looks beautiful in my yard. It can be trimmed to fit some weird little spot where you cannot find just the right plant to grow. It sends out a few runners but easy to cut off if you do not want the the new plants.

Positive Kvickr On Apr 23, 2006, Kvickr from Fruita, CO (Zone 6b) wrote:

I grow it in a pot in Colorado and it has done very well. I bring it into the house in October for the winter.

Negative gooley On Mar 30, 2006, gooley from Hawthorne, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

It looks like a bamboo, sort of. It isn't. It's pretty. It's planted almost everywhere I have been here in Florida. The Gainesville Regional Airport, 15 miles from me, has (last I checked...I hope they've gotten rid of it) it as a major feature of its landscaping. I've seen it in big decorative pots in Stuart, which has a nearly frost-free climate and a mess of other invasive plants already (Australian-pine, melaleuca, Brazilian pepper...). It's become a CLICHE' plant, and the birds defecate out its seeds where they like (the red berries seem to be popular bird food), so it's become an invasive pest as well. Heck, you're better off planting a REAL bamboo: not all varieties spread invasively by roots (whereas this plant can), and real bamboos very rarely set seed (and usually die after they do). Just say no to N. domestica.

Neutral rebecca30 On Jan 28, 2006, rebecca30 from Cary, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I am considering purchasing Heavenly Bamboo (nandina comestica) from the local Home Depot in my area. I wanted to know what may be good companion plants with it? Azaleas? Junipers? Any suggestions? Thanks.
Rebecca- Fuquay-Varina

Neutral Pashta On Jan 13, 2006, Pashta from Moncks Corner, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not experienced the wide spreading habits of this plant, but I do know it grows very quickly in the sun, and becomes unkempt very quickly. Im sure when its well trimmed it can look nice, but mostly I just think its unwieldy and ugy. Im going to prune the snot out of mine this spring and see what happens. There are several around the house, all of which are small disaster areas. I dont want to kill it, becase I hate killing any plants in general, but I really dont like it, and its taking up prime real estate in the yard. Hopefully pruning it hard will let it grow out a little better, or at least attain a better shape.

Negative escambiaguy On Nov 29, 2005, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is weedy and just plain UGLY !

Negative MotherNature4 On Nov 22, 2005, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Yes, it is beautiful, but please don't plant it in central or southern Florida. It tries to take over the world. I should have added that you don't need to plant the seeds. The birds will take care of that for you. Also, they sucker from the roots and spread all over the place.

Positive snagglebuddy On Sep 19, 2005, snagglebuddy from Riverview, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I love this plant because the foliage changes color, something that rarely happens here. I have not tried starting by seed. They are beautiful and do not overpopulate here.

Positive GFT On Aug 20, 2005, GFT from Biloxi, MS wrote:

One of the older ornamental shrubs, Nandina is frequently seen in the deep south. The elegant, delicately formed stems and foliage belie the plant's hardiness; beyond a reasonable amount of light and water and the occasional pruning for shape it requires very little care at all. You should, however, think of this as permanent planting. Although it can be eliminated, you will find that it takes a concerted effort over the course of several years.

There has been considerable comment about the invasive nature of the plant. My mother had nadina in her yard from the 1950s until her death in the 1980s; I have had it in my own yard for well over ten years. Circumstances differ, of course, but I have never found it in the least invasive. It can, however, grow to be a very large plant; unless you enjoy frequent prunings I would not recommend placing it under windows, etc., for given enough sun and water it can very quickly grow quite tall and block the window entirely--as it tended to do outside my mother's kitchen.

Neutral CaptMicha On May 3, 2005, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Nandina can be very beautiful with their rainbow shades of foliage, scarlet berries and lacy leaves. I've not had the experience of it being invasive, yet. They were planted by the builders of house when we moved in three years ago. I haven't noticed any seedlings, volunteers or suckers. I also hadn't noticed any birds or animals consuming the berries.

These seem to be very popular in landscaping but are best planted where they can be easily controlled--NOT left alone in the woods to wreak havoc if they are invasive plants. Aliens often replace native plants that just can't compete.

Positive jestelleoan On Mar 10, 2005, jestelleoan from Tyler, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I live in The Piny Woods of East Texas and I have had this plant for 20 Years. It does not send out roots but the birds love it so it is spread out into my woods. But I would not call it invasive. It pulls up very easily and you can replant it if you want more. It is beautiful in sun and shade, it is evergreen and the berrys are wonderful at Christmas. Please plant it where it can grow to its full height and you will be very happy with it. They grow best in the woods where they are left alone. Joan

Positive doss On Mar 8, 2005, doss from Stanford, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

While treehugger has an important point - if this is threatening natural habitat in your area, it shouldn't be planted - I have had a batch of it that has been in my garden since I moved here 30 years ago that has never sent runners and I have never found a single seedling. It stays put here. If it gets too large it can be trimmed easily and grows back without looking "scalped". Thinning it is also easy and if you want a screen, leaving it thick works too. I have it in full sun and full shade. While less vigorous in full shade, it is a good screen plant there also. I have planted Iris, daffodils, clematis, Dahlias, Azaleas and annuals along with it with no problem. Curious that people have so many different experiences.

Positive susan_simpson On Dec 24, 2004, susan_simpson from Vincennes, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I bought several of these "clearance-type" a year ago. Thought they were dying, looked really bad the first year, but this year they are beautiful, green as well as red leaves, the shape of the plant is rounded and "full". So far I am very happy with them and hope they survive the 10" snow we just had that has completely covered them (outside my backporch door). That snow is really unfamiliar in the area, I might add.....the Wabash River in southern Indiana.

Negative TREEHUGR On Dec 23, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Class I invasive. FLEPPC dot ORG Listed as a problem for all southeastern states and Texas. invasive DOT org
It surely is beautiful, though--too bad.

1/12/05 update. According the the data sheet on this, the berries are dispersed by birds and other critters. What does this matter, you ask? The plant may not grow aggressively in your yard or perhaps you have a way to control it by cutting the underground runners. However, there is no one to cut the underground runners in the wild 5 miles away where a bird dropped seed that germinated many months later. In other words, the plants are doing damage and the damage is not happening in your yard. Please take the warnings seriously, and try to come to terms with the fact that it's best to say goodbye to these.

The following cultivars reportedly do not produce the berries in ***the nursery environment***; nana, harbour dwarf and firepower. If you ask me, why take the chance? This stuff is forming dense groves in the Florida Caverns State Park's habitats and is crowding out the endangered red columbine and oak-leaf hydrangea which is rare to find in the wild.

Please resist the temptation, there's only about a hundred million other plants you can use.

Positive pokerboy On Aug 14, 2004, pokerboy from Canberra
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

A great foliage plant. It's foliage goes redder in winter. It's a very drought tolerant plant. Very attractive. Thrives in Full sun. I cut back the canes more than 3 years old on my 8 plants and then the reshoot, stronger, healthier looking plants. It's a very tough plant. pokerboy.

Neutral DonMobile On Apr 29, 2004, DonMobile from Mobile, AL wrote:

It is not agressive in Mobile, AL. I have trouble keeping it growing in some places, especially low light. It seems to do well even when it gets dry as long as it gets a lot of sun. It gets hot here & is very humid. It makes a good low growing hedge because it does not grow tall in this area. I trim it about every 2 years and it grows back fuller but I do not have any problem with it growing tall. The thing does not excite me that much but I got a bunch with the house and it looks just fine.

Positive hotlanta On Mar 13, 2004, hotlanta from Lilburn, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I like nandina very much. The berries in the fall and winter (and well into spring), and the leaves, add much needed interest to the bland gardens. They do self-propagate very easily, but with diligence, one can keep nandina under control. I transplant it to areas that need "something" and it fills in perfectly. Nandina is very drought tolerant. In fact, I never think about having to provide water to them during the usual hot and dry Atlanta summers.

Positive Drphil On Oct 31, 2003, Drphil wrote:

I've had the plant for two years now (bought as a 1 foot twig!)and planted it by our pond in Luton, UK. It has grown to height of 6 feet has flowered, and associates well with other taller plants at the side of the pond (e.g. Pheasant Berry). A cracking plant that appears to be fully hardy in our garden.

Positive suncatcheracres On Jul 31, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

Every home I have ever lived in in the Coastal South has had some type of nandina in the yard, and I have never, ever, noticed that it was invasive. It may be that our plants were mostly in the shade, or in the back of borders, where they were never much fertilized, or that they never had any water other than rainwater. Or that the soil was quite sandy. But whatever the conditions, year in and year out, this was always an attractive, airy looking, evergreen shrub with beautiful fall and early winter red berries my mother cut for Christmas decorations.

The ones from my childhood grew quite tall and made attractive screens from too close neighbors in New Orleans, but through the years I've noticed many new, smaller, "dwarf" varieties with more intense colors. And I always thought the plant lived up to its common name of "Heavenly Bamboo." I've also noticed that nandina is planted a lot in rental houses with small yards, as a no-care, evergreen, indestructable, general purpose landscape shrub, and I am very surprised to find this plant getting such a bad reputation now.

So perhaps it still has a place in a difficult situation, say a small strip between a concrete driveway and a fence, or in a somewhat shady location, where it is difficult to grow most plants, and it would provide a green, softening efffect. Or in the very back of borders, under shade trees, without a lot of fertilizer or water. I just can't imagine a Coastal South landscape without a place, somewhere, for this beautiful plant.

Positive knightspassion On Jul 30, 2003, knightspassion from Raleigh, NC wrote:

Heavenly bamboo is not aggressive in my North Carolina Piedmont garden. My nandina is in quite heavy shade in a woodland garden area and looks very nice with my other evergreen shrubs and trees e.g. euonymous and maples. It thrives even under drought conditions under maples that suck up all the water. I would not use this plant in a bed or in the sun since it could create a problem under good growing conditions. It seeds itself somewhat readily, and birds spread seed as well, but not anything that can't be kept up with in the shade if you don't want new plants. In our area, we use the foliage and red berries to decorate with at Christmas. The plant is easy to keep looking nice by pruning the tallest cane(s) yearly.

Negative htop On Jul 30, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This variety spreads through underground runners and seeds. There is a variety that is noninvasive, but I do not know the variety's name at this time. I wished I had known this fact before planting this variety.

I heavily mulch around the plants and pull any new sprouts from seeds before they have time to root deeply. Any unwanted sprouts from runners must be pulled up hard enough to locate the point at which the runner has originated at the base of the "mother" plant. Then, it can be chopped off (I use a long nose shovel or a heavy duty pruning shear). Every year, I cut off the berry clumps before they mature and fall to discourage seed sprouting. Stray seed sprouts can be killed with Roundup. Stray runner sprouts can be killed with Roundup if the runner has been severed from the "mother" plant. Any manner of removal of new sprouts is difficult when they are intermingled with other plantings. These are beautiful plants, but this variety takes a lot of work to keep them from taking over the beds.

The berries can be mildy toxic to cats and other grazing animals.

Neutral Bug_Girl On Apr 21, 2003, Bug_Girl from San Francisco, CA wrote:

I did not find it to be invasive, but that was because it died right away. When I bought it at our old house, in San Francisco, I did not know it was invasive or I would not have done it. The berries are very beautiful.

Negative jkom51 On Jan 25, 2003, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Be certain you really, really like this plant and want to keep it forever. It is extremely difficult to get rid of, as even the smallest piece of root will resprout.

Positive smiln32 On Jul 30, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant has gorgeous red berries in autumn and all through winter, which adds lots of color in an otherwise drab environment. It can also be used as a hedge once the plants reach a fairly decent size.

Negative Terry On Aug 31, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A relative of the Barberries, the common name of Nandina domestica is in reference to its delicate, bamboo-like foliage. It starts out maroon, turning green as it matures. Inconspicuous flowers in early summer turn to red berries that remain on the plant through the fall and winter months.

In the right setting, it's a lovely shrub. In a mixed border, or in the wrong setting, it's invasive and aggressive, spreading by underground runners and getting too tall too quickly. We've removed several LARGE shrubs that were planted in front of windows, and effectively blocked all light coming into the room; two years later, we're still finding new sprouts that keep popping up.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Atmore, Alabama
Irvington, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Smiths, Alabama
Dewey, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Queen Creek, Arizona
Surprise, Arizona
Cabot, Arkansas
Jonesboro, Arkansas
Malvern, Arkansas
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Canoga Park, California
Carlsbad, California
Concord, California
Crockett, California
Dana Point, California
Elk Grove, California
Garden Grove, California
Grass Valley, California
Lake Nacimiento, California
Long Beach, California
Martinez, California
Oak View, California
Perris, California
San Diego, California
Venice, California
Woodland, California
Washington, District Of Columbia
Bartow, Florida
Clermont, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida
Eustis, Florida
Hampton, Florida
Hawthorne, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (3 reports)
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Naples, Florida
Niceville, Florida
Old Town, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Riverview, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida (2 reports)
Umatilla, Florida
Clarkston, Georgia
Colbert, Georgia
Conyers, Georgia
Dallas, Georgia
Gibson, Georgia
Hinesville, Georgia
Lilburn, Georgia
Thomaston, Georgia
Kurtistown, Hawaii
Pukalani, Hawaii
Santa Claus, Indiana
Vincennes, Indiana
Bloomfield, Iowa
Lawrence, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Independence, Louisiana
Pollock, Louisiana
Slaughter, Louisiana
West Monroe, Louisiana
Baltimore, Maryland
Brookeville, Maryland
Mount Victoria, Maryland
Towson, Maryland
Valley Lee, Maryland
Biloxi, Mississippi
Laurel, Mississippi
Lena, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Ridgeland, Mississippi
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Purdy, Missouri
Springfield, Missouri
Henderson, Nevada
Hawthorne, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Belen, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Brevard, North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Concord, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Fuquay Varina, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (2 reports)
Rowland, North Carolina
Sunset Beach, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Jenks, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Cheshire, Oregon
Grants Pass, Oregon
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Mill City, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Troutdale, Oregon
Danielsville, Pennsylvania
Lansdowne, Pennsylvania
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Richland, Pennsylvania
Schwenksville, Pennsylvania
Spring Grove, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Wrightsville, Pennsylvania
Blacksburg, South Carolina
Bonneau, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina (3 reports)
Clarksville, Tennessee
Cosby, Tennessee
Crossville, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Ridgely, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Bayside, Texas
Boerne, Texas
Coppell, Texas
Dallas, Texas
El Paso, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)
Georgetown, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Humble, Texas
Hurst, Texas
Jacksonville, Texas
Midland, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Odessa, Texas (2 reports)
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Sanger, Texas
Seagraves, Texas
Tyler, Texas
Victoria, Texas
Chesterfield, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Manassas, Virginia
Midlothian, Virginia
Portsmouth, Virginia
Freeland, Washington
Kalama, Washington

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