'Fire Power' is a dwarf nandina that can brighten a winter landscape.

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UT Gardens' Plant of the Month for December 2007:

Dwarf Nandina

Submitted by Dr. Susan Hamilton

For showy color in the winter garden, you can’t go wrong with ‘Fire Power.’ This dwarf nandina features scarlet red and orange foliage that makes this shrub a knockout during our coldest season.

Many selections of nandina are on the market, but Fire Power is a favorite because of its showy winter foliage and compact growth habit. This evergreen shrub will be a lime-green color during spring and summer and then turn a vibrant red-orange during fall. The bright foliage lasts all through the winter.

As a dwarf shrub, it grows only one- to two-feet tall and wide. It is a versatile plant in almost any landscape. Grouping, or massing, three, five, or seven plants together is perhaps the most striking and effective way to use Fire Power in the landscape. You can also use it as a single specimen or as a border along a walk. Because of its small size, it can be used in containers as well.

Nandina is a forgiving plant. Fire Power is one of the easiest shrubs to grow, which makes it even more desirable for most home landscapes. It tolerates a range of soil and light conditions and does not require any pruning or pampering. For example, it is not uncommon to find Fire Power planted in parking lot medians where it tolerates drought and heat. Yet, even this low-maintenance plant will perform best when planted in a sunny location with well-drained soil.

Fertilize nandina with an all-purpose shrub fertilizer in the spring as plants begin to break their dormancy, but only if you want to push the plants to grow. Other than that, plant Fire Power in your landscape and enjoy this showy, no-care shrub with year-round color.

Susan Hamilton is an associate professor on the faculty of the University of Tennessee Department of Plant Sciences. She is also director of the UT Gardens, which is a project of the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station. The original gardens are located in Knoxville on Neyland Drive. Additional gardens are located in Jackson on Airways Blvd. Admission is free, and the Gardens are open to the public seven days a week during daylight hours. More information is available online at utgardens.tennessee.edu



Patricia C. McDaniels, (865) 974-7141



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