Magazine article Sunset

Nandina Is a Do-It-All

Magazine article Sunset

Nandina Is a Do-It-All

Article excerpt

IN TERMS OF STAMINA and garden usefulness, nandina simply excels. It's quite drought tolerant (many do well on rainfall alone), is relatively hardy, grows in sun or shade, and makes a fine filler in bouquets. This month, it shows off another attribute: it begins to blush with redness in upper leaves or (depending on variety) all over.

Winter leaf color and plant height (1 to 6 feet) are two variables you can use to select from among the 15 or so varieties on the market. Expect dramatic winter color from these five: 'Gulf Stream', 3 feet high; 'Harbour Dwarf', 2 feet; 'Moyers Red', 5 feet; 'Nana', 1 foot; and 'Umpqua Warrior', 4 feet.

November is the ideal time to plant. The shrubs are sold in 1-gallon cans (costing $4 to $8) and 5-gallon cans ($14 to $28).

Nandinas do well in sun or shade. They color best in sun but need some shade in hot-summer climates.

CHECK THESE STRENGTHS

It's almost as though this native of Asia were engineered to face some of Western America's toughest garden challenges. Last winter's big freeze showed nandina to be quite hardy. Temperatures must drop below 5[degrees] to 10[degrees] to kill it, and even then plants sometimes recover.

Nandinas are generally deerproof (a deer has to be very hungry to munch one). …

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