How To Gardening Plant Portraits Threadleaf heavenly bamboo

Threadleaf heavenly bamboo

By Nancy Norris | November 27, 2023

A miniature lacy shrub

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories, and more from brands. Sign-up for email today!

Common name: Threadleaf heavenly bamboo

Latin name: Nandina domestica ‘Filamentosa’

Plant size: 1-2′

Plant type: Shrubs and small trees

USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-11

Cultural needs: Sun or part shade, moist or dry soil

The shrubby nandina belongs to the barberry family, not actually bamboo, but it mimics the willowy, grassy feel of bamboo. While the threadleaf heavenly bamboo could form a lacy shrub up to 3′ wide, a little bit of pruning shows off its slender legs, creating a nice multi-stemmed tree. Nandinas prefer sun for added orange/red color, and moist soil for optimum growth, but you can cut back on the goodness to get more of a bonsai look.

red bridge with red trolley and a tree on the right side
Nancy Norris photo

Nandinas originate in China but many varieties have been chosen in Japan. The pictured variety is prized among bonsai artists. By summer, sprays of small, white flowers emerge above the foliage but berries never develop, making this plant non-invasive. Cold weather turns the leaves red. The airy texture of this plant will fit almost any area of the railway garden. Its umbrella-shaped growth would be welcome as a canopy over a small building. Elevating this specimen best spotlights the fine, green filament-like foliage, which won’t hide a nearby feature, like the mortared talus in the photo. Growers list this as a Zone 6 plant, but one Zone 6 nursery that sells it claims it to be unreliable in their area and might need protection.


Need more tree suggestions?

Coral bark Japanese maple

Dwarf crape myrtle

Dwarf hardy jasmine

Top Point white cedar

Trost’s Dwarf cutleaf birch

White pygmy cypress

You must login to submit a comment