The Lemon-Lime Nandina has a lot going for it. To begin with, Nandina shrubs, or heavenly bamboo as they are also called, are very fashionable garden plants, and recommended for easy gardening in many different zones and types of gardens. Secondly, it is the first Nandina to feature the super-stylish color of chartreuse-green. Gardeners are using as the perfect way to brighten areas with a striking but neutral color, that looks wonderful with every other color in your garden. Thirdly, it is compact and low-growing, so it is great for smaller gardens, for edging beds, and beside paths in larger ones. Last, it doesn’t flower or set fruit, so it can’t invade natural spaces, something that older types have been doing, and that has earned Nandina a bad name in places like Florida. All-in-all, you can’t beat this top-rated variety, with so many reasons to love it.
What makes the Lemon-Lime Nandina a stand-out variety is that the leaves emerge in spring a fabulous pure lime green, a vibrant addition to your garden. As they mature, they turn darker green, but the new chartreuse-green growth continues for most of the season, so the result is a bush that has lime green outer leaves and a deeper green interior – a fabulous visual texture that is eye-catching and appealing.
Growing Lemon-Lime Nandina Plants
The Lemon-Lime Nandina is a dense, upright shrub, with many small leaves. It does look a little like a miniature bamboo plant, but in fact it isn’t even remotely related to them. It grows between 3 and 4 feet tall, and it spreads out to become a bush 3 to 4 feet wide. The plant has un-branched stems rising out of the ground, adding new ones as it grows into a denser clump. The stems are covered in large leaves, which are 6 inches long and 10 inches wide, but you won’t see that, because each leaf is divided into about 40 much smaller leaflets. These are on short stalks, and each one is only 1½ inches long and ½-inch wide. The result is a graceful cloud of leaves, creating a wonderful look in your garden.
Uses in Your Garden
With its smaller size the Lemon-Lime Nandina fits perfectly into a bed with other small shrubs, in a small space, or in front of larger shrubs in a bigger one. It is the perfect way to finish the front of a shrub bed, making a great border or edging that is neat and tidy for a more formal garden, but casual enough to look perfect in a more natural one too. For an edging, space plants 2 feet apart. It is also a wonderful and appropriate addition to a garden or courtyard planted in an Asian style, or with that sparse Zen look. It also looks fabulous in planter boxes, alone or with other plants, or in a rugged Chinese pot. In contemporary gardens too, it looks terrific, in the ground, in beds mulched with gravel, or in modern planters and pots.
The Lemon-Lime Nandina is hardy from zone 6 to zone 9, and it thrives throughout all the warmer states. In zone 6 it will lose some or most of its leaves in winter, but re-sprout vigorously once spring arrives, producing leaves from the top of the older stems, and from the base of the plant as well. Quickly it will establish its dense growth, and really look vibrant in pure lime-green for weeks. In warmer zones it is evergreen, and passes the winter a rich green color. Like other Nandina, you can grow this plant in any location from full sun to full shade. The lime leaf color will develop best in sunny spots, but the plant itself will grow well even in completely shady parts of your garden, although it will be closer to solid green. It will always grow better with adequate supplies of water, but once established it has moderate drought resistance.
It grows well in almost any kind of soil and does best with the addition of organic material when planting, plus an annual organic mulch over the root zone. This plant is normally completely free of pests or diseases, and always easy to grow, wherever you are. In containers and planters, use regular pot-plant soil, preferable one designed for outdoor planters. Make sure that all planters and pots have drainage holes, and don’t leave you plant sitting in a saucer of water for long periods.
History and Origins of the Lemon-Lime Nandina
Nandina or Sacred Bamboo is a native tree of Japan, China and India. It is called Nandina domestica, from the Japanese name for it – Nan-ten. It has been grown in western gardens in Europe and North America for over 200 years, but in Asian ones for centuries. The original plant can grow 8 feet tall, and while attractive it is too big for many gardens, as well as producing seeds that can be invasive in some areas. Many new varieties have been bred in recent years, and the variety called ‘Lemon-Lime’ is the result of breeding by Richard E. Davis, a breeder in Locustville, Virginia.
Davis took seeds from a yellow-berried form of the original Nandina, called ‘Aurea’, and raised many seedlings. Among them he found a unique plant – much more compact, with lime-green new growth and only flowering very rarely. This became the ‘Lemon-Lime’ variety, and he patented it is 2014. It is distributed by Plants Nouveau, of Charleston, South Carolina, a company run by two women horticulturists, who select and distribute many fabulous new plant varieties. The demand for interesting new Nandina varieties is enormous, and it far outstrips supply. So our stock of this great plant will be gone all too soon. Order now, while we can still satisfy your needs.