Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica)

Quick facts and care essentials

• Evergreen
• Climate zones 4-33
• Full sun, partial shade, or full shade
• Regular watering

Fine-textured, narrow leaflets on lightly branched, canelike stems give this shrub the look of bamboo. It grows slowly to 6 to 8 feet tall, 2 to 3 feet wide, with an upright habit that makes it a fine choice for narrow areas or for containers. It's also a good informal hedge. The leaves often turn from green to vivid scarlet during fall and winter. Small, creamy white spring flowers are followed by red berries that last from fall into the next spring. Because not all plants bloom and fruit equally well, buy them when either flowers or berries are present, choosing those that are heavily laden.

Heavenly bamboo does well in sun or shade, but fall color is more pronounced on plants grown in the sun. It prefers well-amended garden soil but will tolerate poorer soils. To control height, prune individual tall stems to the ground in spring; also cut any tattered stems to the ground.