Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Plant of The Day: 'Moon Bay' Heavenly Bamboo

Nandina domestica 'Moon Bay'
    Heavenly Bamboo

Type    Shrub, woody plant
Hardy range    6B to 10A
Height    12" to 24" / 30cm to 60cm
Spread    12" to 24" / 30cm to 60cm
Growth rate    Slow
Form    Rounded
Exposure    Partial shade or partial sun to full sun
Persistence    Evergreen

Bloom Color    White
Bloom Time    Spring

The flowers are showy.

This plant tolerates some drought and some salt.
This plant will grow in dry soil.
Suitable soil is well-drained/loamy, sandy or clay.
The pH preference is an acidic to alkaline (less than 6.8 to more than 7.7) soil.

Leaf Color    Green and purple
Fall Color    Red
This plant has attractive foliage and attractive fall colors.

Fruit Color    Red

This plant rarely fruits.
The fruit is fleshy and round.

Native Habitat
Species native from India to eastern Asia.

Fruit Color    Red

This plant rarely fruits.
The fruit is fleshy and round.

Landscape Uses
-    Container plantings
-    Border
-    Foundation planting
-    Massing
-    Groundcover

Attributes and Features
-    Inconspicuous fruit
-    Fruit is edible by birds

Culture Notes
Nandina in partial shade but will exhibit richer-colored red fall foliage if planted in the sun.  Foliage diseases will be less in full sun.  Although tolerant of drought once established, rich soil and ample moisture will produce a lusher, better-looking plant.  Plants survive with neglect, although regular fertilization encourages growth and thicker plants.  With bamboo-like stalks and delicate, fern-like foliage, Nandina is much-prized for its oriental effect and distinctive appearance. This cultivar maintains red foliage in winter and may be one of the best compact selections.

Nandina is a low maintenance shrub, requiring only one pruning each year to control plant height, if needed.  The tallest canes should be trimmed to the ground or to different heights to encourage growth and to reduce the size.  This will provide for more foliage toward the ground and promote a denser plant.  Recent selections have produced several dwarf cultivars, and although most of these do not flower and fruit, they do produce vividly-colored fall foliage and can be used as a ground cover.

Planting and establishing shrubs

The most common cause of young plant failure is planting too deep.  Plant the root ball no deeper than it was in the nursery.  In most instances, the root flare zone (point where the top-most root in the root ball originates from the trunk) should be located just above the landscape soil surface. Sometimes plants come from the nursery with soil over the root flare. If there is soil over this area, scrape it off.  The planting hole should be at least twice the width of the root ball, preferably wider.  In all but exceptional circumstances where the soil is very poor, there is no need to incorporate anything into the backfill soil except the loosened soil that came out of the planting hole.  Never place ANY soil over the root ball. If a row or grouping of plants is to be installed, excavating or loosening the soil in the entire bed and incorporating organic matter enhances root growth and establishment rate.

Weed suppression during establishment is essential.  Apply a 3-inch thick layer of mulch around the plant to help control weed growth.  Keep it at least 10 inches from the trunk.  If you apply it over the root ball, apply only a one or two inch layer.   This allows rainwater and air to easily enter the root ball and keeps the trunk dry.  Placing mulch against the trunk or applying too thick a layer above the root ball can kill the plant by oxygen starvation, death of bark, stem and root diseases, prevention of hardening off for winter, vole and other rodent damage to the trunk, keeping soil too wet, or repelling water.  Regular irrigation through the first growing season after planting encourages rapid root growth, which is essential for quick plant establishment.