Gulf Stream Nandina: Best Compact Shrubs For Year-Round Interest

Gulf Stream Nandina: Best Compact Shrubs For Year-Round Interest

Gulf Stream NandinaNandina domestica ‘Gulf Stream’ or commonly called Gulf Stream Nandina is a gorgeous small shrub that differs from its parent, the cultivar Nandina domestica ‘Compacta’ in its unique ascending growth habit which gives the plant an upward-reaching appearance. The branchlets and foliage are denser and more compact than the ‘Compacta’ cultivar which has a more open, descending, willowy appearance. This new variety is dwarf and compact and branches freely from basal and lateral buds giving a beautifully full, round, erect shape. Growth is moderate to slow and at maturity it reaches a height of 24 to 30 inches with the possibility in ideal conditions to reach 48 inches. This plant will also reach 10 to 14 inches wide at maturity. It is perfect for use along walks or in mass plantings.

Nandina domestica ‘Gulf Stream’ is one of the best compact shrubs for year-round foliage interest (evergreen). New foliage in the spring is dense and has a flush of red color, turning blue-green in the summer before turning red-bronze in the fall and winter.  Gulf Stream Nandina does not bloom heavily, and seldom sets berries. ‘Gulf Stream’ is a tough plant that is very tolerant of urban conditions. It makes a fine informal hedge, or can be used as a foundation planting. It can also be used in containers, or in a mixed border.

How To Make Your Gulf Stream Nandina Thrive

This plant prefers acid to neutral soil, but it will also do well in rich, moist conditions in summer. Don’t let it become waterlogged in winter. Some sun produces the best coloring, but partial shade will not matter, provided you choose a sheltered corner. You can also get great results in pots. Gulf Stream can be invasive in the southern states of the US.

General Gulf Stream Nandina Information

Pests And Diseases

All Nandina species are highly tolerant of poor soil conditions and soil quality, as long as it’s given adequate drainage; when given at least mediocre care, it’s also highly pest and disease resistant. It is an ideal plant for rarely maintained landscapes. The berries are mildly toxic to pets, but birds love them.

Plant Propagation

Cuttings are the more reliable method of propagation.  Cuttings should be taken in summer from semi-ripe wood.  Keep them in a heated propagator until they root. In some areas (not the Pacific Northwest) Nandina domestica will produce runners that can be dug up and replanted.

Garden Uses

Excellent as an accent, in borders, and an edger, in entryways, as a foundation planting, around garden ponds, as a hedge, in mass plantings, around outdoor living areas, and in woodland borders.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Berberidaceae
  • Evergreen: Yes
  • Plant Type: Compact shrub
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 6 to 9
  • Growth Habits: Bushy, clumping, dense, upright
  • Flower Color: White
  • Bloom Time: Summer to fall
  • Flower, Berry Facts: White inflorescences begin to appear in early May, and are approx. 4 inches long. This is followed by a red berry like fruit.
  • Foliage Color & Texture: Very delicate texture with long, slender leaves that come to a very nice, distinct point. Fall & winter color is a very intense red.
  • Height: 3 to 4 feet
  • Width: 1 to 3 feet
  • Sun/Light Exposure: Full sun to light, or open shade
  • Water: Low water needs
  • Soil Preference: Average to moist & fertile is preferred; it is extremely adaptable to virtually any type of conditions & soil.
  • Winter Hardiness: 10 to 15° F
  • Resistant To: Deer, disease, drought, heat, insects, mildew
  • Attracts: Birds, butterflies

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