"Upon finding that I work as a professional bonsai artist, many people will remark that they once had a bonsai, but it died and with some regret, they gave up".
Based on the Bonsai Basics section of the hugely successful Bonsai4me.com website and an e-book of the same name, 'Bonsai Basics: The Foundations of Bonsai', written and developed over the past 15 years is out now!
All copies are signed by the author.
Nandina is a genus of just 1 species. Rather than being a bamboo, Nandina domestica is an evergreen shrub with alternate, pinnate leaves held on upright shoots that emanate from a central 'trunk' from mountain valleys in India, China and Japan. Nandina is grown for its elegant structure and leaf colour though in some climates it is regarded as an invasive weed. In its native habitat it can reach heights of around 2 metres and spreads itself by suckering.
There are a number of varieties of Nandina domestica suitable for bonsai cultivation including N.domestica 'Firepower' which has yellow and red leaves as opposed to the plain green leaves of the species.
Notes on bonsai cultivation
Position Full sun. Minimum growing temperature 7°C, frost hardy to -2°C. Nandina can be cultivated indoors on a sunny windowsill.
Feeding Every two weeks throughout the growing season, feed monthly when inside during the winter.
Repotting Every other year in Spring in basic soil mix.
Pruning Nandina will readily grow back when trunk-chopped; taking approximately 6 weeks to leaf out again. Try to avoid cutting back shoots to the same point continually to avoid creating an unsightly bulge on the trunk.
Propagation Cuttings in summer, division of suckers.
Pests and diseases Trouble free though can be affected by viruses, which can distort foliage growth.
Styles Twin-trunk, clump, single trunks.