Heavenly bamboo, also called nandina, is a widely grown shrub that, despite its name, is not really bamboo at all. Although its foliage resembles that of bamboo, heavenly bamboo is actually a member of the barberry family. Tough and highly adaptable, this evergreen to semi-evergreen shrub is prized by landscapers for its ability to flourish in just about any soil, light and weather conditions. However, when planting heavenly bamboo, you'll get the best results when you give consideration to its favorite conditions.
While heavenly bamboo does well in shade or sun, you'll get the prettiest foliage colors when you plant these shrubs in mostly sun, perhaps with some shade during the hottest part of the day.
If possible, choose a planting site with rich, acidic soil that drains well. Mix in plenty of peat moss or compost for best results.
There are many varieties of heavenly bamboo, each with a different projected mature height. Know your variety's mature height when pairing it with a planting location. For example, wood's dwarf nandina grows only to about 18 inches high, while nandina domestica can reach a mature height of up to eight feet.
While you can successfully plant container-grown heavenly bamboo at any time of the year, if you are transplanting these shrubs, do so during fall or winter. To plant, dig a hole no deeper than the root ball, but approximately three to five times wider. Gently remove the shrub from its container, and place the root ball in the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is level with the ground. Refill the hole with about one third of the soil, packing it around the root ball. Fill the remainder of the hole, and water the soil in. Add additional soil and pack in around the top so that it is level with the plant's root ball. Top with a three- or four-inch layer of mulch.