Nandinas, the so-called heavenly bamboos, are known for three valuable features: their flowers, their fruits and their colourful evergreen foliage. So why would a new variety of these valuable plants abandon two of these assets? Answer: because the third is so impressive.
Of course, just to be clear, they’re not bamboos at all; in fact they’re more closely related to berberis (though with no thorns) and most have white summer flowers followed by red autumn berries. But the best also feature colourful foliage.
The crucial feature of Nandina domestica Blush Pink (‘Aka’) is that the new growth that opens in spring is blush pink in colour and, instead of maturing to green within a month or two, the shoots retain this colour. They become rich red in summer - right through the season - until autumn when these fiery tones develop. Then during the winter they become rich red. It takes a whole year before the leaves become dark green.
Discovered as a sport of the well known variety ‘Fire Power’ on a nursery in Texas in 2004, Blush Pink is hardy all over Britain and reaches a very manageable height of 50-60cm (20-24in), and as much across. It makes a fine container shrub as well as an attractive small specimen for a sunny site.
Order plants of Nandina domestica Blush Pink (‘Aka’) from Ashwood Nurseries, Hippopottering Nursery and from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries.
** Please note the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and are not necessarily those of the RHS **