Peggy Hill is a garden consultant. She writes for Smith Lake Living Magazine and her blog about garden shenanigans at

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Nandina Flirt
by Peggy Hill       #Plant Profile

The bright red new growth glows against the older, dark green foliage. It’s also a great contrasting
texture to Yucca ‘Bright Edge’ in the background and ruby grass (Melinus nerviglumis ‘Savannah’)
on the right.
Photo courtesy of Plant Development Services. 

Good looking and oh so easy – no wonder they call this one Flirt. New leaves emerge deep red, transition through burgundy and finally age to green. At times, all three colors are present on the same plant. Normally you would need two plants to get contrasting foliage, but this one does it all. If it starts to green out in midsummer, give it a little fertilizer to stimulate new growth and get the color show started again. A mass planting of this dwarf nandina makes a wonderful, fine-textured ground cover.

Great for beginners, lazy gardeners and everyone else, it is a very forgiving plant. It requires no pruning, and unlike the large nandinas, it is not invasive. The few berries it may produce are sterile. Mine was grown at a nursery in Mobile, so you know it can handle our heat and humidity.

Pictured here with orange narrow-leaf zinnia, its casual look blends easily with annuals and perennials. If your borders need winter interest, this is a great way to get it.
Photo courtesy of Peggy Hill.

Common Name: Flirt nandina

Botanical Name: Nandina domestica ‘Murasaki’

Color: New growth is red and ages to deep green.

Zone(s): 6-10

Type: Evergreen shrub

Size: 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide

Exposure: Full sun to part shade

How to Plant: Even with or slightly above soil level; space 2 feet apart for a quick ground cover.

Soil: Average

Watering: Drought tolerant once established.

Pruning: Not necessary

When to Fertilize: Slow-release fertilizerin early spring

In Your Landscape: Mix it with perennials to provide winter interest, or use it as a ground cover in front of foundation shrubs to add depth.


(From Alabama Gardener Volume XI Issue I.)


Posted: 01/02/12   RSS | Print


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