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Nandina Blowout

October 22, 2011

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July 13, 2011
‘Flirt’ Dwarf Nandina

Nandina domestica ‘Murasaki’ Patent: PP# 21391

USDA Zones: 6-10
Size: 1-2′ H x 2′ W
Light: Full Sun or Morning Sun w/ Afternoon Shade
Bloom: White
Bloom Time: Spring
Berries: Red in Fall/Winter

A new introduction dwarf nandina that is a visually striking improvement on Harbour Dwarf nandina, Flirt Nandina holds its red foliage through fall, winter, and spring. In the summer, the red new growth is vividly framed by rich green foliage. We’re not absolutely sure but think Flirt, like it’s cousin Harbour Dwarf, will produce white flowers in spring followed by a crop of red berries. Even if it doesn’t flower, the year round red foliage is quite enough!

Foliage – Unlike other nandinas in which their foliage turns green during the warm season, Flirt Nandina produces bright red new growth throughout the warm season. Winter foliage is also red – providing year round red foliage!

Flowers – We’re not absolutely sure but think that Flirt, like it’s cousin Harbour Dwarf, will produce panicles of white flowers that rise above the red foliage in spring. Even if it doesn’t flower, the year round red foliage is quite enough!

Berries– Red berries follow the white blooms.

Pests and Diseases – No problems with pest’s or disease have been observed so far.

Companions – Combines nicely with junipers, ornamental grasses, small-leaf hollies such as dwarf yaupon and Soft Touch Holly, dwarf abelias, and many low-growing perennial groundcovers such as ice plants, sedums, creeping jenny, and Blue Star Creeper. Performance Rating: 9 out of 10

The only reason we can’t give this plant a 10 is because it’s a brand new introduction that has only been planted and growing in our trial gardens for about a year or so. If the plant continues to do as it has over the past year for the next year, you’ll see us score it a 10. The plants we have growing in our trial gardens now are doing great. The ones we have planted in full sun produce brighter red foliage than the ones growing in shade, but this could be due to soil? We’re not sure, yet.


Because of it’s low growth habit and evergreen – or should we say ever-red foliage? – Flirt Nandina is perfect as a colorful border in sunny to partly shaded landscape beds or planted in mass as a groundcover. We like using dwarf nandinas in mass under the canopy of large trees where not mulch else will grow.

NOTE: In image to right, Flirt Dwarf Nandina is in the foreground with Obsession Nandina in the background. Obsesion grows to about 3 to 4 feet in height.

General Culture

Best grown in semi-loose to loose well-drained soils in locations that provide full sun or morning sun with some afternoon shade. Nandina do not like wet feet!

Other Tips

Plant in well-drained soils and do not over-water this plant. When established, nandina is very drought tolerant.

SEE: Plant File for Flirt™ Dwarf Nandina on

Flirt and other varieties of Nandina are now in stock at

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Dying Vegetable Plants

July 13, 2011

Not sure if this can be considered a tip, but we’ve been hearing from quite a few folks that are having trouble with some of the plants in their vegetable gardens suddenly wilting, then turning black and dying. We’re not really sure what’s causing this problem because in most of the cases there are no bugs present doing the damage and folks are insisting they’re not over watering.


But, that being said, we think it might be over watering. Not that if you’re having this problem it’s you who’s doing the over watering, it might be Mother Nature doing it? We’ve had quite a bit of rain this summer, enough to keep soil in some gardens saturated for prolonged periods of time. This can cause root-rot problems underground that eventually show up above ground. This is what we think the problem is.


Then again, it could be some kind of blight? We’re just not sure. If anybody is aware of a blight, do let us know and we’ll post the information in next weeks newsletter.


What we do know is that in our own home vegetable gardens, this problem is not occuring. Our gardens are raised bed gardens in which the plants are growing in humus-rich, but well-drained soil. Many of the reports coming in about the dying plants are from those who are growing vegetables in a non-raised bed “conventional garden.”


So, we think the problem has to do with soil drainage. Even if it’s a blight, the blight was brought on by over-saturated soil. But we could be wrong. Let us know if you think we are and tell us what you think here.