Nandina (Nandina domestica) is probably one of the best all-round evergreen plants for the South. Its dark green leaves, resembling bamboo, may turn orange, scarlet or maroon in the fall. The bright red berries nandina produces in the winter seem to last forever. Add to this that it will grow in almost any type of soil, that it has the ability to flower and fruit in shade, (but prefers full sun), and that it is practically disease and pest free, and you have one great plant to grace your garden.
Nandina is a low maintenance shrub, requiring pruning only once a year to control it's height and keep it from looking leggy. This pruning needs to be done in the winter so not to cut off next year berries. But there is an art to pruning a nandina.
First, prune to the ground about a quarter of the stems randomly throughout the plant. Then prune about a quarter of the remaining stems at one-third the height of the plant. Next, prune about one quarter of the stems two-third of the height of the plant. Leave the final quarter of the stems uncut. By following this procedure, you will be rewarded with a lush, show-stopping plant that will be a focal point of your landscape.
Sue Adee, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service