Red foliage plants are always welcome in the garden, for the vibrant coloring and the lift they give to mixtures of mostly-green shrubs. Gulf Stream Heavenly Bamboo has not one, but two high-points in the year, with bright red foliage in the new spring growth, and brilliant red and orange leaves in fall, as the temperatures begin to fall. Unlike more northern plants, that needs real cold to color well, this plant will turn red in fall even in warm areas, bringing valuable color at a quiet time of year.
The original Heavenly Bamboo comes from China, Japan and India, but these wild plants can grow up to 8 feet tall, making them too large for many gardens. They also produce many seedlings, which can be a problem. The variety ‘Gulf Stream’ is much smaller, and it rarely seeds, so it is much more desirable as a garden plant. It was developed by Hines Nursery, in Richmond, Texas. It can only be reproduced by pieces taken from the base of mature plants, and cheaper seedling plants will not have the dwarf character of this great variety.
Growing Gulf Stream Nandina Plants
Gulf Stream Heavenly Bamboo is a small evergreen or semi-deciduous shrub that brings the look of bamboo without the invasive growth of many of those plants. It grows to around 3 feet tall, as a clump of upright branches, spreading to around 3 feet wide. At this size, it is ideal for smaller gardens, or for mass planting in larger ones. It fits well into foundation planting around your home, beneath windows and among other smaller shrubs. It can also be used in shrub borders in the garden, as a specimen in beds, or as a container plant.
The leaves are divided into many small leaflets, giving an open, airy look to this attractive plant. It fits well into almost any style of garden, and it is a valuable substitute for bamboo in Asian-styled gardens, especially in smaller spaces. It looks great next to water, or in front of larger shrubs and trees. It can also be used as a natural low hedge, and needs no trimming to always look compact and attractive. It can be planted alongside a path or driveway for a simple but beautiful border.
In spring, new stems emerge from the base of the plant, and also from the ends of the branches. The new, expanding leaves are a vibrant red color, which slowly turns into an attractive blue-green as summer arrives. Each leaf is divided into many smaller leaves, so the effect is open and airy, yet dense enough to give the plant an effective ‘presence’.
In fall the leaves turn spectacular rich reds and dramatic oranges, and this color is held through the winter. In warmer areas the plant is evergreen, staying red all winter. If the temperature falls to about 10 degrees F the plant will lose most of its leaves, but it is hardy even to minus 10, so it can easily be grown in all but the coldest parts of the country. It will also grow well in Florida and southern California, where the temperature never reaches freezing, and still color beautifully. Small white flowers may be produced in summer, but these are uncommon, and this plant rarely produces any seeds, so it cannot become invasive – a big plus in warmer parts of the country.
Planting and Initial Care
Choose a sunny spot for the Gulf Stream Heavenly Bamboo, as this will give the maximum foliage coloring, but the plant will also grow well in light to moderate shade. When planting, the soil should be enriched with organic material, and keep your plants well-watered during their early years. Once established this plant is moderately drought-resistant, but it always benefits from regular watering during dry spells.
It has no significant pests or diseases, and needs no special care to thrive in most gardens. This plant naturally sends up new branches from the ground, and removing some of the oldest ones by cutting them at ground level will encourage this, keeping your plants dense and bushy.
Adding Gulf Stream Nandina to Your Garden
Gulf Stream Heavenly Bamboo is a plant that belongs in every garden, and once you grow it you will wonder why you never grew it before. We have a good stock available, and these are top-quality plants, so our stock may not last long. Order now, while we still have stock, to enjoy one of the most beautiful foliage plants you can grow. You may also want to consider other varieties, like the Flirt Nandina and the Firepower Nandina.