Where it comes to shorter plants for the foregrounds of your beds, and for neat but exciting edging shrubs to create a great garden look, you can’t pass by the heavenly bamboo, or Nandina plant. These bushes offer a whole range of foliage color and seasonal interest, but the Obsession™ Nandina stands out as the top-pick for vibrant red spring foliage, sturdy compact growth, and wonderful fall reds too.
The Obsession™ Nandina is a small evergreen shrub that looks a little like bamboo, because of its upright stems and divided leaves. It isn’t one at all, but for that attractive and popular look, on a tough but non-invasive plant, heavenly bamboo is a great choice. It grows into a plant which is between 3 and 4 feet tall, and around 3 feet wide, making a dense but light-looking clump of leaves right to the ground.
Growing Obsession™ Nandina Plants
Obsession™ Nandina plants grow by slowly sending up new stems from close to the base, becoming a larger clump over time. The leaves are large, but they are divided into many smaller parts, so the effect is of many small leaves, giving an airy and attractive look. In spring the new leaves sprout from the top of the stems in a brilliant bright red coloring. Colored foliage is great for the garden, because it gives weeks of color, not a few days, as flowers do. Throughout spring the leaves hold that vibrant red, brightening every part of the garden where you plant it. Gradually they change, and by summer they are a rich, glossy deep green, looking cool and beautiful in the hot days.
When fall comes the leaves turn rich shades or red, even in warmer areas where many plants don’t develop fall colors at all. This wonderful display brings a lift to the end of the season, and continues throughout winter. In the coldest zones the leaves may fall, but in most areas where this plant is hardy it will remain evergreen and beautiful right into spring. At that time, the new red growth will emerge. Through the seasons this fabulous easy-care plant will be an ever-changing picture in reds and greens, adding lots and lots of interest, exactly in those difficult spots where color can be so hard to find.
Uses in Your Garden
Plant the Obsession™ Nandina wherever you want a lower shrub in the foreground of larger ones or mixed with other small shrubs in a small bed. It looks great planted alone or in small groups (perhaps of 2, 3, 5 or 7 plants) as accents among other plants or to fill awkward corners. It fits well into almost any style of garden, and it is a very useful and non-invasive 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 is also a fantastic choice for filling long, narrow spaces between paths and fences or walls, or for edging a walkway, driveway, or larger beds. It makes the perfect visual boundary, without blocking the view across the areas at all, and it never needs trimming to stay neat and attractive. For edging, plant each shrub 18 inches to 2 feet apart in a row. They will soon grow together into a single bold line.
The Obsession™ Nandina grows in zone 6 and in all warmer zones. In zone 6, plant in full sun or light partial shade, in a sheltered spot, protected from the cold winter winds. Often in zone 6 it will lose some or most of its leaves in winter. If a few stems should die from winter cold, new ones will sprout from the base. In warmer zones it will remain evergreen. In all those zones it grows well in a broad range of light conditions, from full sun to shaded areas. It will not grow very well planted under low-hanging evergreen shrubs and trees in dark corners, but anywhere else in the garden it will be happy and grow perfectly.
It does not need winter cold to color in fall, and it grows well even in areas where the temperature never falls below freezing. It thrives in ordinary garden soil, doing best in moist soil, rich in organic material. It has no pests or diseases, and trimming is not needed. In fact, we do not recommend you try to trim this plant, as its unique structure will not replace trimmed leaves, except from the tops of the shoots. If you want to keep it a little lower, remove a few of the tallest stems at any time, by cutting them cleanly away at ground level. New shoots will sprout to replace them and keep your plant dense and lush.
History and Origins of the Obsession™ Nandina
The original nandina (Nandina domestica) came from China, Japan and India, where it was often grown around temples, which is why it is also called Heavenly Bamboo. 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 in some areas. In 2005 April Herring and Adriana Garza, at the Magnolia Gardens Nursery, in Magnolia, Texas, spotted a unique plant growing in a tray of small plants of the Nandina variety ‘Gulf Stream’. While the new growth of that plant is a beautiful bronzy-red, this unique plant had new growth that was bright red. They took that plant, made more genetically identical plants in their tissue-culture facilities, and in that way created a new variety that they called ‘Seika’. They patented their discovery in 2011, and this plant is sold under the trade name Obsession™ Nandina.
The Obsession™ Nandina is a great choice for a smaller plant with vibrant coloring, and we know how popular these plants are, because our stocks are always rapidly sold out. So order now, while we can still satisfy your needs, or be disappointed.