Nandina Hall of Fame: Greenwood’s Top 5

by | May 18, 2021

Our pick of the best Nandina varieties, whatever your landscape.

Which Nandina is best for my landscape?

Nandina Domestica is a staple for landscapers, and for good reason. A low-maintenance, hardy evergreen shrub, with attractive lacy foliage that turns wonderful shades in autumn, spring flowers and bright winter berries, Heavenly Bamboo ticks all the boxes. As with many favourite plans, there are many varieties to choose from. While they have much in common – their upright grow and bushy habit – there are still choices to be made. What height will work best for frontages, borders, beds and pots? What foliage colour will work best with the rest of the development, or be best for a feature pop of colour? The sheer number of options can be overwhelming.

To save you the time of trawling through names, in this blog we go through some of our favourite big-hitting varieties for different architectural aesthetics. For more information about growing and caring for Nandina, visit our detailed blog post, or let our Southern Nursery Manager, Tom Wozniak, guide you in his Nandina-themed Tom’s Tips video.

5. Nandina domestica ‘Gulf Stream’

‘Gulf Stream’ is a hardworking shrub, deserving of its place in any soft landscaping development. Reaching up to 1.5m tall, Nandina domestica ‘Gulf Stream’ boasts lance-shaped leaves with a spectacular display of colour throughout the seasons. New growth is a burnished bronze-orange colour, and the leaves retain an attractive pinky-red flush once they turn green. Their delicate blush deepens to shades of red and gold come autumn.

A closely related Heavenly Bamboo is Nandina domestica ‘Obsessed’, should you require a slightly smaller shrub for your development’s design (this dainty variety reaches around 0.8m). The leaves emerge a bronze-tinted red, then become a fresh bright green before turning red once more for autumn. In summer, delicate clusters of white flowers add further interest.

The typical bushy habit and glowing autumnal foliage of Nandina domestica is exemplified in the ‘Gulf Stream’ variety.

A close-up of the vivid rosy red leaves of Nandina domestica ‘Gulf Stream’.

4. Nandina domestica ‘Magical Lemon and Lime’

‘Magical Lemon and Lime’ is one of the Nandina varieties with known for its stunning spring foliage. As its name suggests, ‘Magical Lemon and Lime’ sends forth spring shoots in a vivid and cheery yellow-green, which ripens to chartreuse come summer.

This Nandina can withstand temperatures down to -10°C, but may sustain frost damage below -5°C. ‘Magical Lemon and Lime’ grows 1-1.2m tall, and makes a wonderful contrast to more fiery varieties in a landscape.

For the most intense colour and the biggest ‘zing’, ‘Magical Lemon and Lime’ is best planted in full sun. If you like the idea of spring colour, but want Nandina’s traditional shades of red, an alternative variety of similar size to try is ‘Sienna Sunrise’.

3. Nandina domestica ‘Flirt’

For a variation on the commoner hues sported by Nandina shrubs, ‘Flirt’ is a great choice. A dwarf variety which tops out between 0.5m and 1m, this plants packs a flirty punch with its unusual dark blue to green foliage.

The leaves retain their sultry hues all year, with small white flowers standing out in wonderful contrast in spring and summer, followed by red autumnal fruit. The new spring foliage creates another point of interest, being an attractive reddish purple as the young leaves shoot. 

‘Flirt’ is a wonderful choice for adding a touch of elegance and uncommon colour to a development. It works beautifully in containers and frontages or alongside other shrubs in borders (particularly silvery-leafed species, whose foliage creates a striking and complementary contrast).

2. Nandina domestica ‘Twilight’

‘Twilight’ is one of the newer varieties of Nandina, and a truly delightful addition to any landscape. Its leaves are variegated in bronze and green shades with touches of white, and its spring foliage is a wonderful glowing pink. Its small white summer flowers are followed by vivid red autumn berries, making it a true plant for all seasons.

‘Twilight’ reaches 1-1.5m and 0.5-1m in diameter, making it ideal for frontages (whether in a bed or a pot) as well as in borders.

With blushing pink foliage to welcome spring and delightfully variegated leaves, ‘Twilight’ is a new Nandina domestica variety to watch – all year round! 

Perhaps the most brilliant coloured of them all, Nandina domestica ‘Fire Power’ in its full glory. 

1. Nandina domestica ‘Fire Power’

No one could compile a list of Nandinas without mentioning this powerhouse (no pun intended). ‘Fire Power’ earns its moniker through the sheer brilliance of colour displayed by its winter foliage. The yellow-green leaves of spring and summer gradually gain vivid red edging, a startling and beautiful transformation to behold.

First becoming a fiery burnt orange, the leaves deepen to a glowing scarlet that brings life to a wintry garden. Perhaps the brilliance of its hues are due to this Heavenly Bamboo’s diminutive size: ‘Fire Power’ has an ultimate height and spread of just 0.5m. If you want to liven up a landscape, ‘Fire Power’ will always pack a punch.

Who could resist the glorious dramatic glow of ‘Fire Power’ red? The variegation whilst the foliage changes hue is a delight in itself. 

Ask an expert

At Greenwood we pride ourselves on the dedication of our workforce, and the G-Team is brimful of hands-on expertise. They are all fans of Nandina domestica, too – nursery supervisors Marzena Kandora (Fresh Acres) ,
Emilia Tinkler (Highleigh) and Pawel Szczepanik (Aldingbourne) all name it among their favourite plants.

For further advice, please do get in touch – our friendly team are always happy to share their tips and wisdom. Alternatively, head straight to the Tender Tool where you will find these and many other varieties of Nandina domestica grown and supplied by Greenwood Plants.