Thursday, July 7, 2011

FAQ: How should I prune nandina plants?

My nandina plants look straggley and need to be pruned, but I don't know how. Can you help me?

I assume yours are not a newer, compact variety of Nandina domestica. If you were to cut all the canes back by two-thirds in late spring, they should re-grow and look decent by the end of summer. But since it is now July, they may not have enough time and vitality to re-grow if you remove all the foliage. I suggest that you select about one-third of the canes and cut them back by one-half to two-thirds. They should begin to re-grow and fill in at a lower level within the plant by the end of summer. Next year, cut back the ones that were left un-pruned from this year. By the end of the second growing season, your nandina should be rejuvenated.

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3 comments:

NellJean said...

Mama had a yard man once who cut down every nandina in any garden he worked, muttering "Fit only for graveyards." I'm not fond of it myself, except for the red berries in winter.

Sometimes I cut mine this way: 1/3 of the canes to ground level, 1/3 two thirds off and 1/3 one third off.

There is a huge one that I sometimes cut away all foliage except a little tuft at the top and thin the canes so it looks like a little grove of bamboo. When I tire of it, I cut it to the ground.

A. Joseph Marshall said...

Are Nandina berries ok for birds to eat?

Joseph
Savannah Real Estate Services
www.sellingsavannahnow.com

John Marshall said...

Nandina berries may be slightly toxic to cats and some grazing animals, but with no severe consequences.