The secret to an attractive garden is to fill all the spaces in your beds, including those in shady areas. That isn’t always easy, because the choices for shady spots are much more limited. For that reason, heavenly bamboo really is a blessing. These easy to grow plants thrive in areas of partial shade, or even light full shade, as well as growing in full sun, so they are very, very versatile. Not only that, they come in a range of sizes and foliage forms, from simply green to red, and now, with the Twilight Nandina, in stunning variegated patterns of white and green, with pinky-bronze new growth in spring. This adaptable plant grows easily, and brings brightness to dull spots all year round – what’s not to like?
The Twilight Nandina is a small, evergreen plant which has small leaflets on slender stems sprouting from the ground, giving it a similar look to bamboo. It grows into a dense mound of leaves and stems reaching 3 or 4 feet in height over time, and about 3 feet across. The leaves are large, but they are divided into many small leaflets, looking like small leaves. Each leaflet is different – some are pure green, others have white spots on them, others are streaked and splashed with white, and some are pure white, especially in winter. The overall effect is bright and sparkling, bringing lightness to darker corners, and adding interest to areas with perhaps too much heavy, dark green foliage. In spring the new leaves are flushed with a soft pink, tending towards bronze, which gradually turns white and green as the foliage matures. On older plants sprays of white flowers may be produced in spring, adding another touch of interest. Berries are not made, so this plant is not invasive.
Growing Twilight Nandinas
Use the Twilight Nandina wherever you have areas that need foliage to complement larger shrubs, or to fill spaces. Use it alone, or plant it as a continuous edging along beds. It looks just as effective that way edging a lawn, a driveway or a path. This is a much more dependable and durable way to edge beds, instead of the traditional annual flowers. With its bamboo-like appearance, it is ideal for Asian-style gardens, where it gives the right look, but avoids the terrible invasive nature of many true bamboo plants. Clumps of this plant gradually become wider over time, but they are never invasive or a problem in any way – and they are very, very low-maintenance. This is also a lovely plant for an attractive container, placed on a patio or terrace, or to use in planter boxes, alone, or mixed with other shrubs and flowers. Wherever you use this beautiful bush, you will love it.
Planting and Initial Care
The Twilight Nandina can be planted in full sun, partial shade or light full shade, such as beneath deciduous trees or on the north side of buildings. Wherever you put it, it will grow happily. It does best in moist soil, with plenty of organic material added, but apart from in extremely dry, sandy soils, it will grow happily in almost all garden conditions. Once established it easily tolerates normal summer drought periods, and it has no significant pests or diseases. Over time the plant will become taller, and the lower areas may lose foliage. If you prefer not to have this look, remove a few of the tallest stems every year or two, cutting them off at ground level. This will encourage new growth from the base, keeping your plants compact and bushy right to the ground.
History and Origins of the Twilight Nandinas
Nandina, also called heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica), comes originally from China, Japan and India, where it is often grown in temple courtyards. Wild plants are plain green, with some pink color on the new leaves, but they can become too tall for many gardens. Over the years a wide range of small, more colorful varieties have been developed for gardens. The variety ‘Gulf Stream’, is one of them, and it was among some plants of that variety that ‘Twilight’ was discovered. In 2010 Neil Marek was caring for some plants of ‘Gulf Stream’ in a tissue-culture laboratory at Magnolia Gardens Nurseries in Magnolia, Texas. He spotted an unusual baby plant, which he removed and grew to full size. It had beautiful variegated green and white leaves and he called it ‘Twilight’. In 2015 he was granted a patent on his discovery, and this plant is now available – and meeting with rave reviews. Our plants are produced under license to be exactly like that original plant, and the demand is huge. Order now, as our stocks are quickly being shipped out.