One of the most picturesque and colorful oriental shrubs in indoor culture is nandina home. This is a unique plant with very showy leaves and curly crown, the beauty of which you cannot take your eyes off. The foliage acquires a special charm in the cold season, when its colors change as if at the whim of a watercolor artist. Even the love of coolness does not prevent this plant from becoming more and more popular. Nandina is rightfully ranked among the elite types of indoor plants. This capricious miracle plant is not for everyone, it loves attention and care.
Nandina – “sacred bamboo” and its spectacular color change
Among indoor plants, nandina simply has no competitors. In the ranks of evergreen crops, spectacular watercolors with such carved foliage are a rarity. Unique, elite, capricious, rare, exceptional – whatever you call Nandina, all the epithets will be justified. Here, and in the West, the plant is very fond of being called “sacred bamboo”. And this beautiful name perfectly conveys the special beauty of this luxurious bush in every sense. But it also causes a lot of confusion: neither by the characteristic features nor by the origin of the nandines have anything to do with bamboos, and they received this nickname presumably for their tendency to release root shoots, for their thin stems and the similar shape of complex leaves.
This charming shrub is found in nature only in Japan and China. Therefore, it is not surprising that it is considered one of the most oriental in appearance. Owned by nandina home (Nandina domestica) to the Barberry family.
What Nandina cannot boast of is variety. The Nandina genus is represented by a single species of ornamental shrubs. But the lack of a variety of forms does not at all make this houseplant boring. Firstly, on sale it is represented by varieties that differ in leaf color, flowering and berries. Secondly, even the most humble nandina still seems outlandish perfection.
Nandina home (Nandina domestica) – evergreen shrubs, less often – compact trees, even in nature limited to a maximum height of 4-5 m, and in indoor culture they rarely grow to one meter (dwarf varieties are mainly on sale). Nandina is distinguished by its practically non-branching, straight, thin shoots and compact, shallow root system. Her crown is airy, graphic, stunningly elegant. However, this does not prevent the plant from actively releasing numerous root shoots. Even Nandina’s bark is very picturesque. Changing color from lilac-beige to grayish-brown, flaunting longitudinal grooves, it conquers with its muted dullness. Nandines are grown in the form of an indoor shrub with a dense picturesque crown or in the form of a bonsai.
The main pride of Nandina home is the luxurious carved foliage. Three or twice pinnate, complex leaves of this beauty grow up to 40 cm in length, although it is not easy to see their structure from afar, the crown seems to be so delicate and uniform. Triangular leaves consist of glossy, rhombic, feather-like leaf lobes, the pointed tip of which perfectly emphasizes the grace of the plant. The dense texture of the leaves does not prevent the entire plant from appearing very light and lush. Nandina is perceived from afar as a small-leaved culture, but the proportions of pinnate leaves grow up to 10 cm in length. Elegance is emphasized by the long petiole of leaves (up to 15 cm) and petioles of pinnate lobes reaching 3 cm in length, which give the crown airiness.
The color scheme of the foliage of this extraordinary indoor shrub is mesmerizing. The watercolor show in plants is fully manifested in the cold season, but some “preview” can be observed all year round. Young leaves, with their muted red, brick-brown tone, gradually change color to dark green, as if the red is gradually blurred over time by the base color. Despite its status as an evergreen, nandina changes colors depending on the season. In autumn, a watercolor show begins, during which the leaves are gradually and unevenly recolored into dazzling ruby-red tones, and the “transitional” shades look unusually attractive. In winter, nandina looks like a bright crimson miracle, slowly and unevenly begins to turn brown and yellow. But the change to a brown scale does not mean that the plant will soon shed its leaves: the closer to spring, the stronger the green color appears and the leaves are repainted again, so that then reddish young leaves sparkled against their background. The entire development of the plant is emphasized by the play of watercolor recoloring, and it is this feature that makes the homemade nandina such a unique plant. The already luxuriously colorful nandina has numerous varieties with a variegated, intense red, purple, multi-colored color.
But the miracle of the colored crown is not the only talent of the plant. With proper wintering, the plant also blooms. Lace bloom begins in June and lasts only a few weeks. The small flowers are surprisingly original: the white sepals are bent backward, emphasizing the six massive stamens around the pistil. Despite the small size, the flowers are very beautiful. But the size of the inflorescences is even more surprising: the unusual flowers are collected in very large and translucent openwork panicles of inflorescences, the length of which can exceed 30 cm. After flowering, large dazzling berries are tied, gradually acquiring a scarlet-ruby color. Fruits with a pointed top, up to 1 cm in diameter, look like luxurious beads on this plant.
Growing conditions for room nandine
When the beauty of the nandines is extolled, there is no exaggeration. This plant is unmatched. But even out of capriciousness, it deserves the title of an exceptional sissy. Nandina is not just a plant for everyone: it is extremely demanding on humidity, consistently intense lighting and temperatures, even in the warm season. And it can only be recommended to experienced florists who are looking for an exclusive decoration for their collection. The plant’s exactingness to the conditions does not change regardless of the form of cultivation; it is characteristic of both bush nandines and bonsai.
Lighting for nandina and her placement
Indoor nandines need to choose a place very carefully. For this plant, it is necessary to select stable conditions, and the lighting must remain unchanged throughout the year. The photophilousness of the plant requires the selection of appropriate places on the windowsills or the provision of additional lighting. Direct sunlight, with the exception of soft morning and evening, is contraindicated for this beauty, the lighting should be bright, but diffused. In the autumn-winter period, the nandina must be supplemented to maintain the habitual regime of the plant. Nandina responds well to artificial lighting.
Nandina’s home feels great on the western and eastern window sills, near display windows and glass walls; bright halls or lobbies are also suitable for her. But Nandina thrives best in conservatories with controlled conditions.
Temperature range for nandine and airing
Regardless of the season and stage of development, nandina home remains a lover of coolness. Of course, in the summer it is not kept in conditions atypical for rooms, but it is not worth allowing the temperature to rise above 20 degrees. At a temperature range of 18 to 20 degrees, the plant retains a high decorative effect and always only pleases.
During the winter, the nandina is moved to cooler rooms. A comfortable temperature for this plant is considered to be from 7 to 13 degrees Celsius, short-term cold snaps are permissible.
The Nandines love fresh air, frequent ventilation and will happily spend the summer in the garden in sheltered places. It is better to protect the plant from drafts. Nandina can be grown as a garden tub plant.
Caring for nandina at home
Nandinam need care and constant attention. Frequent inspections of the plant, checking the conditions and condition of leaves and substrate, moisture indicators will prevent mistakes and correct the care program in time.
Watering nandine and air humidity
It is not difficult to find the correct irrigation schedule for nandina. The plant is watered so that the top layer of the substrate in the containers dries out between the procedures. In summer, watering should be abundant, but not frequent. In winter, they are reduced, focusing on how the soil dries up. The earthen coma must not be allowed to completely dry out. Particular attention should be paid to the quality of the water: nandina prefers soft, settled water of the same temperature as the air in the room or slightly warmer. It is permissible for nandine to improve water by acidification.
The main condition under which nandina can be grown in living rooms and even in winter gardens is high air humidity. Nandina is preferably grown with a humidifier installed. In this case, it is not at all necessary to use special devices: a pallet or a second container filled with moist decorative stones, moss or expanded clay is enough. At the same time, any contact with the water of the bottom of the pot with the plant and stagnation of water in the bottom of the pots is absolutely unacceptable.
It is better to supplement the installation of a humidifier in the spring-summer period with regular spraying. When kept cool, spraying is carried out carefully. For nandine, use only soft, distilled or purified, warm water and a fine spray.
Top dressing of nandina and the composition of fertilizers
Nandina is fed at home with a standard frequency. Fertilizers for this plant are applied only from March to September. The optimal frequency is once every 1 weeks. In the autumn-winter period, both bush and nandines in the form of bonsai are fed, guided by the instructions received upon purchase or by reducing the dosage and frequency of fertilizers by half.
For nandina, it is advisable to select a complex, universal fertilizer. This crop prefers liquid feeding and does not like long-acting fertilizers. If nandina is grown in bonsai form, then special fertilizer mixtures are used for it.
Pruning and shaping room nandina
No trimming is required for this houseplant, except in bonsai form. The absence of dense branching, thin, straight and graceful shoots will not allow the crown to thicken both when pinching and when purposefully pruned. The release of a large number of young shoots is stimulated by shortening the oldest branches by a third, and by cutting them out with a frequency of 1 time in 3-4 years, they control the size and rejuvenate the bush. The formation of bonsai most often comes down to exposing the lower part of the shoots, limiting the size of the plant by removing the shoots and part of the trunks. It is easier to buy Nandina already formed than to give it style and shape later.
The only necessary measure is the regular removal of old drying leaves, which the plant does not always throw off on its own from below.
Transplant and substrate for nandina
It is necessary to change containers for a plant only when the previous pot is completely mastered. Young Nandins are transplanted annually, but for adults it is enough to transplant once every 1 or even 3 years. In years when the transplant is not carried out, it is imperative to replace the top layer of the substrate with a fresh one.
Nandines are usually grown in large tubs or large pots with equal aspect ratios, increasing the container by a few centimeters.
For home nandina, a universal, loose and light earth mixture is selected. The substrate is perfect for decorative deciduous plants. If you are mixing the soil yourself, you can use equal parts sand, turf, and leafy soil. The culture is undemanding to the reaction of the soil, it feels good in soil with a pH of 4 to 6,5, but a slightly acidic soil is still preferable for it.
The transplant is carried out without exposing the roots, with minimal contacts and removing the top layer of the contaminated substrate. At the bottom of the containers, be sure to lay a high drainage layer with a thickness of at least 6 cm for classic pots and about 1/3 of the height of the containers for bonsains. The root collar of the plant must not be buried in the soil. If necessary, you can limit the volume of the root system by pruning it to a more compact size.
Diseases and pests of nandina
Nandines are quite resilient, but with improper care they can suffer from spider mites or aphids. It is better to fight pests with insecticides.
Among these plants, mosaic spotting is common, which is easy to notice by specific yellow spots on the leaves. Most often, plants are infected prior to purchase. It is better to deal with this problem with a systemic fungicide.
Common growing problems:
- shedding foliage at temperatures above 20 degrees;
- partial or complete loss of leaves in dry air;
- spots on the leaves when exposed to sunlight;
- yellowing of leaves when watered with hard water, lack of iron or magnesium;
- blanching of leaves in insufficient lighting and in the absence of fertilizing;
- stretching shoots and growing weak branches in low light.
Reproduction of nandina at home
It is not entirely fair to believe that sacred bamboo is considered one of the most difficult plants to propagate. Rather, such a plant’s reputation can be attributed to its high value and elite status than to real difficulties.
The easiest way to propagate nandines is by separating the root growth. The plant forms offspring in very large quantities, and during transplantation, several plants can be separated from the mother bush and planted in separate containers.
Slow rooting of cuttings does not mean at all that you cannot grow your nandina from twigs. The main thing is to use semi-lignified shoots, withstand the sections in a growth stimulator and plant them in a light substrate under a hood. Root cuttings of homemade nandina at a temperature of 20 to 25 degrees. The process usually takes at least 1 month.
Nandina seeds are very rare, despite the abundant fruiting of the plant in winter gardens. Sowing is desirable to carry out immediately after ripening and collection of fruits, but although not high, seeds retain their germination capacity for up to 3 years. Seeds are sown to a depth of 1-1,5 cm in loose and light soil. They are also kept under glass in hot temperatures (23 to 25 degrees) and in bright light. Seedlings develop slowly, they are very fragile, they need careful care and high humidity.