Sacred Bamboo/Nandina Domestica ‘Firepower’
The Sacred Bamboo is not a Bamboo at all, but is related to the shrubby. It is an upright evergreen with reddish-brown new growth, which takes on a purplish hue as temperatures drop in late Autumn. Although the flowers reach some 30cm (12in) long, this plant is grown for the appearance and changing colour of the foliage. The species is native to India and Eastern Asia, but was much used in Japanese gardens from the early years of the 19th century: its Bamboo-like growth habit complements the Japanese style of gardening. Indoors, it will thrive if given lots of water, and kept draught-free and out of direct sunlight. As a patio plant, use the Sacred Bamboo with the traditional blue pottery of the East, or beside Bamboo furniture or screens. The more compact and broader-leaved cultivar N. d. ‘Firepower’ has yellow-green foliage, which turns flame coloured in Winter.
In the UK, well-ripened wood produced after a long, warm Summer will survive the very worst of the Winter weather.
Place patio plants where they will receive lots of good, bright light, but out of the direct sun of midday. Avoid positions exposed to cold winds, which will shred the foliage and destroy the display.
Keep this plant well watered, especially in Summer; moisten well, then allow the surface of theto dry before the next watering. From late October to mid March, keep container-grown plants just moist.
This tough shrub has no need of any additional humidity.
Newly-potted plants will need no additional feed for a year: feed established plants every month through the growing season. Do not overfeed with a lot of nitrogen, as the rich leaf colour may suffer.
Grow this plant in a loam-based compost, adding up to a quarter by volume of well-rotted garden compost. Add a slow-release fertilizer to ensure that the plant has enough feed for the season. Repot and divide overcrowded plants in Spring.
Remove any damaged foliage by cutting back to the base. Keep growth young by pruning the oldest stems to the ground in Summer.
Strong winds: Wind-damaged leaves will dry out and feel crispy: move the Sacred Bamboo out of the wind and cut away damaged shoots.
Strong light: The foliage will bleach and fade if the plant is placed in a position where it is subjected to excessively strong light.