Posts Tagged ‘dwarf plants’

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Planting | What and Why

January 29, 2014

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Success in the garden depends on choosing plants that suit the location and how much care you can put into your choice. Do this correctly and you won’t have to do it over.

The small beds on either side of my perennial garden entrance have been empty for some time. This past weekend I put in Dwarf Heavenly Bamboo Nandina domestica ‘Nana Pygmaea’ on both sides of the flagstone. This is a good choice for several reasons. Heavenly Bamboo is drought tolerant. The beds at the garden entrance receive little water. As I mentioned in a earlier post, the mature Nandina domestica variety (non-dwarf) in my landscape do not get watered and they have thrived for years.

Please note even drought tolerate transplants need regular deep watering for the first year. And, although my mature Heavenly Bamboos do well without watering, the amount and frequency of water needed will depend upon your location, microclimate, and soil condition.

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Other reasons this shrub is a good choice is low maintenance, cold hardiness is 0 to -10°F, and it is an evergreen. I want the entrance to look good year round with plants that perform well during the cold season as well as the rest of year. As you can see in the photo above, the leaves turn a beautiful reddish hue in winter.

The beds also have well-drained soil and receive full sun. Heavenly Bamboo grows best in these conditions. As soon as I come across two more Dwarf Heavenly Bamboos, I will plant one more in each bed. The shrubs won’t outgrow the space because I did my research. These plants will fill in 24×24 inches and cascade over the edge just enough to soften the walkway.

Here’s a guide on Dwarf Heavenly Bamboo Nandina domestica ‘Nana Pygmaea’.

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No-Fuss Shrub

October 26, 2013

heavenly bambooHeavenly bamboo reminds me of Simon Cowell’s unpopular comment made in past years to some of the hopeful American Idol contestants, “You’re just not memorable.”

Although heavenly bamboos are commonplace in commercial and residential landscapes, most people don’t give these shrubs a second glance. They are overlooked or quickly forgotten. Yet, they do have benefits, the greatest being a no-fuss shrub.

If planted where there is ample space there is no need to prune. Mature size is six-feet high and five-foot wide. Heavenly bamboos require little or no water once established, depending on the zone and soil. This multiple trunk shrub is evergreen. In full sun the foliage brings color and interest to landscapes with red leaves and orange berries which turn red in winter.

But, like all plants there is a downside to heavenly bamboo.

As a member of the barberry family (not bamboo), heavenly bamboo is host to wheat rust which can cause large-scale grain crops to fail. Most of us aren’t growing grain and neither are our neighbors. That being the case, this would not be a consideration when selecting heavenly bamboo. However, the berries are toxic to animals, but this can be solved. Usually, when planted alone  instead of grouped together, berries will not develop. Bud clusters can easily be cut off when they begin to develop. Heavenly bamboo is a host for powdery mildew which can spread to nearby plants, especially those prone to mildew.

My personal experience:  Knock-on-wood, mildew has not been a problem. I trim my heavenly bamboos once or twice yearly only because I want to maintain a certain height. I haven’t watered them in years and other than rain they do not receive moisture from nearby sprinklers. Now, that is drought-tolerate.

In addition to being extremely low maintenance and bringing beautiful hues to autumn and winter landscapes, when paired with commentary plants, as seen in the photo, heavenly bamboos are memorable year round. So next time, give them a second glance.

Note:  Cultivars include Harbor Dwarf (2-3 feet high) and Alba (6-feet high) with white berries.

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