Fire Power Nandina (Nandina domestica ‘Fire Power’)

Fire Power Nandina

Despite its common name and appearance, heavenly bamboo, Nandina domestica, is not a bamboo, but a relative of Berberis. With its long season of interest and compact habit, Nandina domestica ‘Fire Power’ is perfect for a sunny spot in a small garden, and can also be grown in containers.

I. Appearance and Characteristics 

Firepower Nandina is a dwarf cultivar of heavenly bamboo and an excellent choice for small yards and tight spaces. Once established, it also tolerates drought well.

If you are looking for beautiful foliage in all seasons, this is a great option. It is lime-green in spring (with tinges of red), light-green in summer, bright red in fall, and it will remain red in winter in zones 8 and 9. It is planted in the spring or fall.

Firepower Nandina can be used in a number of different ways in the landscape. It can be grown as a single plant or as a groundcover. It’s also a good choice for foundation planting and as an edging plant or in a low hedge.

Firepower Nandina is toxic to pets.

II. How to Grow and Care

Sunlight

Heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ likes ample sunlight and is suitable to grow in partial shade or full sun. Insufficient light will cause the stems and leaves to be slender, and the plant shape will be loose. However, too much light in summer will also cause the leaves to burn. It should be provided with 7-9 hours of light in the daytime. When planting in your garden, it is best to choose a place with sufficient light and some shadows in the afternoon. If it is used as a potted plant, you should pay attention to shade it in summer and put it in a sunny place in winter.

Temperature 

Heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ likes a warm, moist and well-ventilated growth environment. The most suitable temperature for its growth is 15 to 25 ℃, in which 25 ℃ can promote the flowering and bearing. When the ambient temperature is lower than 8 ℃, heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ will stop growing, and below -10 ℃, it will cause its leaves to fall. Therefore, it is better to move heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ indoors for maintenance in winter.

Heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ is tolerant of waterlogging or drought. It is best to keep the ambient humidity between 60% and 70%. Too low humidity will cause bottom leaves of heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ to turn yellow and fall off. If planted indoors, you can spray water in the room to maintain high air humidity.

Watering

Heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ likes to be moist but is afraid of standing water. When it grows vigorously in spring and summer, you can water it once a day. When the temperature is high in summer, you can spray the leaves every day to increase the air humidity. In autumn, you can gradually reduce the amount of water. plant growth stops in winter and watering should be less. It should be noted that summer watering should be carried out in the morning or evening, and in winter can be carried out at noon.

Soil

Heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ prefers slightly acidic or alkaline sandy soil which is fertile, well-drained and rich in nutrients. It is recommended to mix humus soil, sandy soil and garden soil in the ratio of 2: 2: 1. This can not only provide the humus and nutrients needed for its growth, but also ensure the smooth drainage of the soil. As a pot plant, it is recommended to lay a layer of coarse sand or broken pottery on the bottom of the pot to help drain out excess water.

Fertilizing

Heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ is a fertilizer-loving plant. When potting, first put a layer of soil at the bottom of the pot, then add organic fertilizer, and then cover with one more layer of soil before planting. When planting directly in your garden, you should also carry out organic fertilizer in the planting pit. In the growth period of heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ in spring and summer, water-soluble fertilizer is recommended to be applied 1-2 times per month, mainly with phosphorus and potassium fertilizer, and less nitrogenous fertilizer. In fall, the growth rate of plants gradually slows down, which can reduce the times of fertilization. Apply organic fertilizer once before entering the winter, and there is no need to fertilize in winter.

Planting Instructions

Heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ can be transplanted in any season except in summer, generally recommended in spring. You should pay attention to protect its roots when transplanting or changing pots. It is best to wrap the roots with soil to avoid damaging the roots during transplantation and help to survive. Properly cut off the old, larger branches and leaves to avoid excessive water loss and promote their germination of new branches. Pay attention to watering after planting.

Pruning

Heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ needs to be carefully pruned to maintain beautiful plant shape. During the growth period of the plant in spring, the branches sprouting from the bottom of the plant should be cut off. Cutting branches properly is to enable more light to reach the center of the plant. You can cut off 1/3 of the longer branches, not only to maintain the beautiful plant shape, but also to avoid nutrient consumption, and ensure adequate nutrition for blooming and fruiting. In the winter dormancy period, dead branches, infected branches, and overly dense branches should be cut off.

Propagation

There are three common ways to propagate heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’: sowing propagation, division propagation, and cutting propagation.

Sowing: The seeds of heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ can only be sown after experiencing post-maturation (Post-maturation: the seeds are not fully developed when they are harvested, and the physiological and chemical reactions inside the seeds need to be completed under certain conditions before they reach maturity), which is more difficult so it is rarely used. You can try division propagation and cutting propagation.

Division: Division propagation of heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ can be carried out in spring and fall. Cut off extra branches and leaves when dividing plants. Use a pruning shear or knife to divide the whole plant from the base of the root into several parts. Each part has 2-3 stems and thus can be planted individually in your garden or flowerpot. After 1-2 years of cultivation, the plants will bloom and bear fruit.

Cutting: The cutting of heavenly bamboo ‘Fire Power’ can be carried out in spring and fall, most often in spring. Cut a 20 to 30 cm section of a 1-2-year-old branch, keeping the top buds and a few leaves on the branches. After treating the base of the branch with rooting powder, insert it into the sandy soil with a depth of about 10 to 15 cm. Water well after cutting and keep the relative humidity of the air at 80-90%, and it will generally germinate root in 40-50 days. Note that after entering summer, shade the seedlings with a shading net to prevent sun burnt.

Potting and Repotting 

If you are looking to start a container garden, heavenly bamboo is an excellent choice, also if you want to grow the plant but live in a region with cold winters.

Plant Firepower Nandina in a potting mix in a pot large enough to accommodate the entire root system plus about 6 inches to allow for future growth. Make sure the pot has good drainage holes. Remember to keep the soil consistently moist. Heavenly bamboo will need to be watered more frequently when grown in a container versus a garden.

When grown in a container, a heavenly bamboo plant should only need repotting every two to three years.

Overwintering 

Firepower Nandina does not require any winter protection when grown in garden soil. Potted plants, however, might need protection if you are at the lower range of the plant’s hardiness range. Wrap the container in burlap and bubble wrap so the roots don’t suffer cold injury during freezing temperatures. In cold climates, bring the plant inside after the first fall frosts and keep it in a bright spot for overwintering.

Pests and Diseases

The heavenly bamboo is prone to mealybugs, whiteflies, and cottony cushion scale attacks. Nonetheless, it can handle low infestations without using a pesticide. Another concern is bacterial leaf scorch.

If you find severe infestations from cottony cushion scales or other bugs, we recommend using a horticultural oil when plants are dormant during the fall to winter. Also, keep an eye on powdery mildew on your heavenly bamboo Nandina.

It is a fungal growth that looks like white powder on the foliage. To prevent this from happening, provide your heavenly bamboo with enough sun and spacing for air circulation.

III. Types of Nandina Domestica

The dwarf variety fits into a small space; it lacks dark red fruit. Yet, there are larger cultivars available.

  • Nandina domestica ‘Moyer’s Red’ grows up to six feet in height with the same width. It also has light-pink blooms.
  • Nandina domestica ‘Richmond’ reaches five feet tall and wide. This species has a unique foliage color from late spring to fall, with excellent deep red fruit production.
  • Nandina domestica ‘Gulf Stream’ has coppery foliage with orange tints in spring and changes to bluish-green.

Fire Power Nandina (Nandina domestica ‘Fire Power’) Details

Common name Fire Power Nandina
Botanical name Nandina domestica 'Fire Power'
Plant type Perennial
Hardiness zone 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
Growth rate Medium
Height 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
Width 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
Sunlight Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
Soil condition Clay
Leaf color Gold/Yellow