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 Plant Profile – Dwarf Nandina's 
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Post Plant Profile – Dwarf Nandina's
Plant Profile – Dwarf Nandina’s

Most people are familiar with the common Nandina domestica as an evergreen shrub growing with numerous stems from the ground up to 1.5m tall. It has very interesting fern like architectural foliage and the plant is tough as nails. Commonly called the Japanese Sacred Bamboo or Heavenly Bamboo this plant has been used successfully in gardens right around Australia. A point of interest is that they are not actually related to bamboo, but the name has come from similarities in the foliage and the growth pattern of the plant.

Currently in Australia dwarf cultivars which have been derived from the common Nandina domestica have become very popular in the garden and commercial landscape market. Landscape Architects and gardeners in general are impressed with the hardiness and aesthetic look of these dwarf style cultivars – so here is a little more information about these plants.

There are a number of different cultivars on the Australian market and the most commonly grown is simply called Nandina domestic nana. This nana or dwarf form has been grown for many years in Australia and it has bigger rounder leaves which are cupped in shape, compared to the common species. It grows to about 60cm tall x 60cm wide with a dense compact habit. Its best features are the shades of orange to red growth which develop each autumn and winter changing with the season. A similar variety to the nana form is called Firepower which has the same foliage shape and growing height but the foliage turns a hot pink to dark red in autumn and winter.

Gulf Stream is also a dwarf cultivar which has been introduced into Australia and was bred in the USA. This is a taller cultivar growing up to 75cm tall; it is quite compact and dense in habit. The leaves are smaller and have the traditional pointed diamond shape compared to nana and Firepower. Gulf Stream develops orange to scarlet tones on the foliage during winter and autumn, in particular in cooler areas of Australia. Other varieties that you may see on the market here are called Harbour Dwarf growing to approx 50cmx50cm and Moon Bay another taller growing variety similar to Gulf Stream.

For the last few years a comprehensive breeding program in the U.S has been focusing on developing new and improved dwarf Nandina domestica cultivars. During this breeding program two new varieties have been developed and will soon be available within 12 months here in Australia.

People may think these new cultivars will be just another couple Nandina’s to choose from and make life more confusing. However there are significant differences which will make them stand out from the rest, they shoot red new growth all year round. WOW how good is that going to be. This means that in the warmer months from Nov through to March when the nana form and varieties such as Firepower, Gulf Stream and Harbour Dwarf are shooting lime green or orange toned new growth these cultivars will shoot red new growth. This will provide all year round foliage colour contrast along with vibrant red winter colour and a point of difference to other dwarf Nandina cultivars on the market.

I will be featuring these 2 new cultivars at a later date when they hit the nurseries but remember if you need to make a winter foliage colour statement for specimen plantings, mass plantings, formal or informal hedging you can not look past dwarf Nandina’s to do the job. They are low maintenance, frost, drought and humidity tolerant and can be used in coastal plantings.

Nana ... &t=Nandina

Firepower ... ndina.html

Gulf Stream ... ndina.html

Harbour Dwarf ... ndina.html

Moon Bay ... amboo.html

Thu Aug 30, 2012
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