Nandina domenstica

Nandina domenstica

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Nandina domenstica is an evergreen shrub, or semisempreverde, native to Asia; it has a roundish shape, the stems are erect, poorly or not at all branched, and they bear large pinnate leaves, consisting of small oval or lanceolate leaves; overall the foliage has a very elegant and delicate appearance, as does the whole plant. Each individual stem carries leaves only in the upper two thirds, while the base is bare; the compact appearance of the plant is due to the fact that from the root system new suckers constantly sprout, which therefore contribute to keeping the lower part of the plant thick. The leaves are thin, slightly leathery, light green; during the winter months they take on an orange or red color.
It is common to find a variety with a red-bronze color, even in the new vegetation. In spring it produces small white flowers, with yellow anthers, gathered in large clusters, followed by red berries that remain on the plant even during the winter months.

Nandina origin and curiosity

The Nandina, also called "Bambщ Sacro" has its origins in Asia where it is still widely cultivated today. In fact, in the East it is considered a auspicious symbol and for this reason it is planted in sacred temples and used to decorate altars. It was William Kerr, a Scottish nobleman, who imported it to London from Canton in 1804, and from that moment on he made in his heart the English who began to cultivate it in their gardens. The name "Nandina" was assigned to her by a botanist svedere (Carl Peter Thunberg) a student of Linnaeus who distorted the name by which it is called in Japan, or "Nan-Ten".

Common name

Botanical name Nandina domestic
temperatures Minimum temperature -5 ° C
Exposure Full sun, half shade
Leaf color Yellow, red or green
Flowering period Spring
Color flowers White
Color fruits Red corals
Fruiting period Seed, graft
Height Up to 2 meters


Nandina domenstica plants are rustic shrubs, which do not suffer from the cold, and can also withstand very harsh temperatures for prolonged periods of time. The ideal exposure for this type of plant is that in a very sunny and bright environment, so that it can receive direct sunlight during the coolest hours. Being a hardy and resistant plant it can withstand a cold climate, but, if cultivated in pots, it must be sheltered in a sheltered environment or protected on the arrival of the first winter penalties.


The young specimens of this plant variety must be watered regularly during the hot season, always waiting for the soil to be well dry between one watering and another. Plants that have been living for a long time can be satisfied with the water supplied by the rains, although it may be necessary to intervene with light watering during the summer, in the event of prolonged drought. A different argument must be made for plants grown in pots, which require a greater water supply, since they cannot exploit the natural moisture of the full ground.


The plants of this particular ornamental variety prefer loose, soft and very well drained soils, as they can be affected by the dangerous stagnation of water that can be formed. These are undemanding shrubs, which can also be adapted to the common garden soil, without the need for particularly rich soil.


The multiplication of these plants generally occurs by seed, in autumn; It is also possible to propagate nandina by removing some suckers from the base of the plant, ensuring that each sucker has some well-developed roots. It is also possible to proceed with the multiplication through semi-wood cuttings in the autumn season, taking care to protect the new plants in a sheltered place so that they can develop and gain strength before the final planting.

Pests and diseases

Nandina domenstica plants, although rustic, can be affected by aphids, especially during the spring months; with the summer heat under the leaves mites can nest.
Another problem is that related to fungal diseases that can arise due to excessive humidity and which can irreparably compromise the health of the plant.

Nandina's hedge

Nandina is usually used in the garden as a hedge, in pots or in the open field. If you grow Nandina in pots the growth could be slower and more irrigation and fills may be needed.
The ideal would be to cultivate it on the ground, digging holes and planting the purchased seedlings, taking care to respect an average distance between the various plants of at least 50-60 cm; this requirement is due to the fact that it is a shrub that reaches a fairly high height. In order to have a beautiful Nandina hedge, the soil, in addition to being well drained, must be exposed to the sun or in partial shade.
An abundant flowering will ensure a beautiful production of red berries that will remain on the plant throughout the winter making your garden magical during the Christmas holidays.

Nandina variety

The most widespread varieties of Nandina in the market are essentially four: the Nandina domestica "Alba", characterized by cream-colored berries instead of coral red and green leaves, the Nandina home "fire Power" with a compact and low habit, it has gibbous leaves and typical autumn colors.
This variety needs a more shaded exposure than the others. There Nandina "Atropurpurea Nana" with a more compact habit than the others and young leaves with a purple-reddish color.
Finally the Nandina "San Gabriel" or "Filamentosa", more rare to find than the previous ones, characterized by very narrow leaves, similar to those of bamboo. This variety does not bear fruit but the foliage takes on a beautiful purple color in autumn.

Nandina domenstica: Toxicity

Nandina is characterized by the toxicity of all its parts which contain hydrocyanic acid. This acid is very poisonous and could be fatal if swallowed. The plant is considered non-toxic to humans, however the berries are very toxic to domestic animals and grazing animals.
There berry toxicity It is due to the presence of alkaloids such as nanthenine, a molecule that blocks the effects of animal-negative MDMA. The berries are not toxic to the birds that instead, feeding on them, contribute to the dispersion of the seeds of the plant through their excrements. In any case, even for birds, an indigestion of Nandina berries can be fatal.