Well, the Christmas icicle lights along with the lighted animated reindeer are once again boxed and packed away. As I look around all I see is the shriveled up efforts of my gardening days past. Most landscapes are just dormant but to the average person they look very dreary this time of year. And it’s hard to find beauty in any garden unless of course you are in Florida or Hawaii. I don’t know about you, but I’m not that lucky! So how do you add color to a dismal looking garden without planting annuals? You can plant trees or shrubs that will provide interest with berries or colorful leaves this time of year. however, one of the best shrubs to provide color during the winter months is the Nandina.
The standard Nandina Domestica has been around forever and is evasive and leggy. However, there are so many new varieties, I could write a book on them. The new varieties have taken all the best qualities and then improved on the worst. The new varieties of Nandina are more compact, have even more vibrant color and will grow from 1’ tall to over 6’ tall. Some have a variety of winter color from yellow to orange to almost purple.
Compact Nandina will get about 3-3 1/2’ tall and about 3' wide and is evergreen. In spring and summer new growth is green, red, orange and yellow and remains so throughout the spring and summer. Nandina Compacta has brilliant winter color and may produce red berries.
Gulf Stream Nandina is an upright compact shrub that will get 2.5’- 3’ tall and about 3' wide. The new leaves are green with a tinge of rosy red that will become brilliant during the fall and winter months.
Flirt Nandina is a dwarf variety that will grow 1.5’- 2’ tall and about 2’ wide. New leaves have deep red color and will have brilliant red in the fall and winter and like most Nandinas. it grows in full sun or partial shade.
Blush Pink Nandina is a newer version of ‘Firepower’. The new leaves are a stunning pink and continue to show pink throughout the growing season leading up to a spectacular fall and winter color. It willgrow to about 2’ tall and 2'wide.
Obsession Nandina is an upright growing shrub that will get about 3’ to 4’ tall and about 3’ wide. This nandina will have brilliant new red foliage which is richer than the standard Nandinas and will turn to a bright green with red tinged leaves throughout the seasons.
Most Nandinas are drought tolerant, deer resistant and will grow in most soil types. They will grow up to Zone 6 and on occasion produces white flowers in the spring and red berries in the winter. These berries are great to add to your Christmas wreaths or arrangements. Very few plants will give your winter garden this wonderful shot of color in shades of red, orange, yellow and purple. And when planted in full sun the winter color is even more brilliant. So if you are interested in adding beauty to your dormant garden then no other plant will perk it up like the brilliant colorful leaves of the Nandina.