Evergreen bushes are often dense and full, even heavy looking, with their large green leaves. The Moon Bay Heavenly Bamboo is a very different evergreen shrub, with many small leaves that make it look like bamboo. It does not spread like many true bamboos can, and in fact it is related to barberry, although quite different in appearance.
The Moon Bay Nandina is a beautiful dwarf shrub grows just 2 or 3 feet tall, and the same across, so it is small enough to grown in even the smallest garden. It also makes a beautiful container plant, so if you do not have a garden at all you can still grow this plant in a pot on a terrace or balcony. If you need to fill some planter boxes with interesting plants, rather than constantly having to change annual flowers, then this plant is a great choice for that too. It fits beautifully into an Asian-themed garden, among shrubs in any garden, or as part of the foundation planting around your home.
Growing Moon Bay Nandina Plants
The Moon Bay Heavenly Bamboo has finely-divided leaves that are much more upright than in the wild form, and it grows into a naturally rounded clump no more than 3 feet tall. It never needs clipping to be as neat as you like your plants to be, and it has no pests or diseases. It is rarely bothered by deer and needs no trimming to keep its beautiful form. In spring the new growth is a gorgeous yellow-green color, changing to soft green all summer. Then in fall this plant doesn’t pull any punches, and turns spectacular shades or red and orange.
In warmer areas it keeps its colorful leaves all winter. If the temperature falls below 10 degrees, then most of the leaves will fall. It is hardy to minus 10 degrees, although in that case a few branch tips may die. Since it re-sprouts from the base in spring this small amount of die-back is never a problem. This means that unless you live in a very cold area, you can enjoy this beautiful and reliable plant in your garden.
Planting and Initial Care
Prepare the soil well with plenty of organic material before planting your Moon Bay Heavenly Bamboo. Keep them well-watered while they become established in your garden, but mature plants will tolerate moderate drought. However, they will always do better if they are regularly watered, especially during hot spells. Organic mulch is a good way to both feed your plant and conserve moisture in the soil. Apply this in fall in colder areas, to protect the roots, or in spring in warmer regions, where root protection is not necessary.
Trimming and Maintenance
These plants have no significant pests or diseases, and they are normally not eaten by deer. They have good tolerance of urban conditions, and thrive in small gardens with minimal care. This truly is a low-maintenance plant. Because this variety is naturally dense and bushy, no trimming is ever required. After several years you can removing some of the oldest stems at ground level, to encourage sturdy new growth. Do this in early spring before, or as soon as, you see new growth developing. Remove about one-third of the older branches, and repeat this every year or so.
History and Origins of the Moon Bay Nandina
Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica) is a native plant from China, Japan and India. In those countries it is often planted in temple gardens, which is why it is ‘heavenly’. Wild plants can grow to 8 feet tall, and they often spread underground into large clumps. In smaller gardens they are too large, but there are a number of dwarf forms available. We also recommend the Firepower and the Gulf Stream varieties for small gardens.
The patented variety named ‘Moon Bay’ was discovered by William Barr in 1986, among a batch of seedlings growing at Hines Wholesale Nurseries, Houston, Texas. He selected this variety for its unique upward turned foliage, beautiful yellow-green spring growth and its rounded, compact form. It can only be reproduced under license, and our plants are produced by licensed growers, so they are completely different from cheaper seedling plants, which will not resemble this special plant in any way.