Heavenly Bamboo

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1931

SHARON WALKER

Nandinas are commonly known as heavenly bamboo or “heilige bamboes” and many Nandina varieties do extremely well in the Free State. The most common varieties are the Domestica, Fern flame, Filimentosa and Pygmae. Domestica and Fern flame are tall growing and, depending soil conditions, can acturally grow up to three metres tall. Filimentosa grows to about a meter and the Pygmae variety live well up to their name and stay small. The biggest I have seen were about 70cm tall. Pygmae also grows in a round ball shape. Nandinas are particularly useful in that they can grow in both sun and shade. In our cold winters, they turn a magnificent ruby red colour. Although they can grow in shade, they need sun to turn spectacularly red. Take care not to water Nandinas with limey water, especially the Pygmae variety. The Filimentosa has much finer, thinner leaves than the other nandinas and can be used to create texture in your garden beds, but because it is finer, it is not such a wonderful screening plant. Nandinas have bunches of small white flowers in summer and these then become red berries in winter. These berries are a great source of food for birds in our harsh winter months. If you are a bird lover, please plant a Nandina. They are very attractive plants and well worth having in your garden.