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How to prune nandina bushes

Updated April 17, 2017

Nandina domestica, or heavenly bamboo, is a tall, evergreen shrub that resembles bamboo with its long single canes. It presents attractive dark green leaves for most of the year, which take on a reddish hue in winter and bears long-lasting red berries through fall and early winter. Nandina grows well in zones 6 through 9, requiring little maintenance, but can quickly become leggy without regular pruning.

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  1. Select a third of the canes of your nandina plants for pruning in early spring. Choose the tallest canes that tend to bloom toward the top and remain bare at ground level. Select half of the canes in more severely leggy plants.

  2. Cut away the selected canes around 3 inches above ground level using secateurs.

  3. Fertilise pruned plants lightly with an all-purpose fertiliser to promote new growth.

  4. Cut back a third of the unpruned canes from the previous year in the following spring.

  5. Repeat this process each year so that a third of the plant is setting new shoots each year and the nandina as a whole has thick, healthy foliage year-round.

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Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs

About the Author

Nikola Goddard has been writing since 2009. Her how-to and self-help articles center around health, fitness and green living and appear on various online publications. Goddard studied English literature at Beckfoot Grammar School. She is now pursuing a career as a freelance writer and has several blogs specializing in weight loss.

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