April 10 2024 0Comment
Obsession™ Nandina

Nandina Varieties That Thrive In New Zealand

Are you looking to add vibrant foliage and a hedge effect with a natural shape to your garden landscape in New Zealand? In this guide, we’ll explore two Nandina varieties that excel in the unique climates of NZ, providing valuable insights for experienced home gardeners, landscape architects, and professional landscapers.

Choosing the Right Nandina Variety for Your Garden

Selecting Nandina varieties well-suited for your local climate is essential to ensure optimal growth and visual appeal in your garden. Let’s dive into the characteristics of some top Nandina varieties thriving in New Zealand.

Understanding Nandina Domestica: Sacred Bamboo

Nandina domestica, known for its resilience and striking foliage that changes colour through the seasons, offers a range of cultivars that adapt well to the New Zealand environment. Although they’re called “sacred bamboo,” they aren’t a true bamboo at all. In fact, they’re dicots in the barberry family Berberidaceae.

Of course, all nandina varieties aren’t equal. Some are much better adapted to tolerate the conditions of New Zealand, including the below two varieties.

Blush™ Nandina (Nandina domestica ‘Blush’)


Blush™ Nandina is a medium-sized dwarf Nandina that exhibits red new growth in spring and autumn, transitioning to vivid red foliage all over during winter. It is 20% smaller than Nandina domestica ‘Nana’, making it ideal for fences, borders, or hedging.


60-70cm high x 60-70cm wide.


Suitable for low hedges, shrubs, or as a feature plant.


Thrives in full sun to moderate shade and can tolerate drought and frost. Adaptable to free-draining to heavy clay soils.


Tolerates a variety of soils, from free-draining to heavy clay.


Recommended for both North and South Island regions in New Zealand.

Weed Potential:

Blush™ Nandina will not spread from seeds, making it a safe choice around bushland.

Blush Nandina features some of the most spectacular red foliage you’ll ever see on a plant, for 9 months of the year.


Blush Nandina

ObsessionNandina (Nandina domestica ‘Obsession’)


Obsession™ Nandina is a compact Nandina with vibrant red new growth throughout the year. The foliage intensifies in color during cooler months.


60-70cm high x 60-70cm wide.


Perfect for low hedges, garden borders, or as a feature plant.


Ideal for full sun to part shade conditions and tolerant of various soil types.


Adaptable to different soil types but prefers well-drained conditions.


Well-suited for both North and South islands..

Weed Potential:

Obsession™ Nandina does not pose a weed potential concern due to its non-invasive nature.

Obsession Nandina displays vivid red growth for the entire year, including summer. https://ozbreed.co.nz/plant-ranges/shrubs-and-ground-covers/obsession-nandina/


Expert Tips for Nandina Care and Maintenance

Taking care of Nandina domestica involves specific practices tailored to it’s growth habit to promote its health and vitality. Here’s a detailed guide on caring for nandinas, focusing on pruning, mulching, fertilising, and the benefits of selecting sturdy varieties:

Pruning Techniques for Nandina Domestica

Hedge pruning involves cutting the entire plant to a uniform height or shape. For nandinas, this method helps maintain a neat and compact appearance.

Perform hedge pruning in early spring before new growth appears to encourage bushier growth.

On the other hand, removing taller canes at the base helps rejuvenate older plants and promotes new growth from the base. It also promotes a natural shape, rather than a manicured one.

This method is best done in late winter or early spring to allow new shoots to develop.

Mulching with Chunky Mulch

Using chunky mulch around nandina plants aids in improving soil aeration, water penetration, and moisture retention. On the other hand, chunky mulches can block airflow more and become hydrophobic if there are no green or nitrogen-rich ingredients.

Apply a layer of chunky mulch around the base of Nandina plants, ensuring it doesn’t touch the stems directly. You can fluff it up each year to give a fresher look if you like, and once it breaks down you can replace it with fresh mulch.

Good quality mulch helps regulate soil temperature, suppresses weed growth, and reduces moisture loss through evaporation, promoting overall plant health. It also protects and slowly feeds soil microbes which are allies in our plants’ health.

Fertilising Nandinas in New Zealand

Fertilise nandinas in early spring with a balanced slow-release fertiliser to provide necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Proper fertilisation supports strong root development, lush foliage, and overall plant vigour, enhancing the plant’s resistance to stressors.

Benefits of Choosing Sturdy Varieties

Sturdy Nandina varieties, such as Blush™ Nandina and Obsession™ Nandina, require minimal maintenance once established in the garden. Varieties like these not only thrive in various soil conditions but also maintain a vibrant appearance without constant attention.

It’s true that quality cultivated varieties are sometimes more expensive than other options on the market, but they may not perform as you’d hope in your garden’s specific conditions. Choosing quality plants is an investment that can save money in the long run on amending health problems and replacing dead plants. It can also prevent weedy seeds spreading through your garden and into the natural environment.


These two nandinas are amazing specimens that will provide your garden with brilliant reds, oranges, lime greens, darker greens and even purples as the seasons change.

Remember to invest in quality plant stock that can tolerate your garden’s conditions and won’t become weedy.

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