How to Grow and Care for Firepower Nandina

Colorful Cultivar of Heavenly Bamboo

Firepower nandina plant with red leaves in partial sunlight

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Firepower Nandina is a dwarf cultivar of heavenly bamboo and an excellent choice for small yards and tight spaces. Once established, it also tolerates drought well.

If you are looking for beautiful foliage in all seasons, this is a great option. It is lime-green in spring (with tinges of red), light-green in summer, bright red in fall, and it will remain red in winter in zones 8 and 9. It is planted in the spring or fall.

Firepower Nandina can be used in a number of different ways in the landscape. It can be grown as a single plant or as a groundcover. It's also a good choice for foundation planting and as an edging plant or in a low hedge.

Firepower Nandina is toxic to pets.

Common Name Firepower Nandina
Botanical Name Nandina domestica 'Firepower'
Family Berberidaceae
Plant Type Shrub
Mature Size 2 ft. tall, 2 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Well-drained
Soil pH Acidic
Hardiness Zones  6-9 (USDA)
Native Area Cultivar, no native range
Toxicity Toxic to pets

Firepower Nandina Care

This shrub is relatively free of pest and disease problems and even performs reasonably well under trees.

Firepower Nandina is a low-maintenance plant.

Warning

Heavenly bamboo has been classified as an invasive species by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in some southeastern states. Firepower Nandina is said not to produce any fruit or berries but there is no research to support its non-invasive nature.

Firepower nandina plant with red and green leaves next to gravel pathway

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Firepower nandina with red leaves in sunlight closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Firepower nandina plant with red and green leaves on thin stems closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Firepower nandina plant with red and yellow leaves closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Light

Firepower Nandina needs full sun for superior foliage color. The exception to this rule comes in zone 9, where the plant can profit from receiving some afternoon shade.

Soil

The main soil requirement for Firepower Nandina is to avoid alkaline types where the leaves tend to develop chlorosis.

Water

Water young plants sufficiently to get them established. Once mature, they can are known for being fairly drought-tolerant.

Fertilizer

Fertilize your Firepower Nandina regularly to promote optimal foliage color. Use a general-purpose fertilizer meant for shrubs. Apply the fertilizer once in early spring and again in early summer.

Types of Nandina

While Firepower Nandina fits into small spaces, it lacks the red berries that are a major selling point of other, larger cultivars of heavenly bamboo such as

  • Nandina domestica 'Moyer's Red': four to six feet tall and wide with light-pink blooms
  • Nandina domestica 'Richmond': five feet tall and wide. It is a particularly good berry producer
  • Nandina domestica 'Gulfstream': three feet tall and wide with coppery foliage (with orange tints) in spring, bluish-green foliage in summer, and reddish-orange fall foliage

Pruning

Like all heavenly bamboo. Firepower Nandina does best when you let it grow to its natural form. Just prune off any brown leaves or dead branches when you see them for cosmetic purposes.

Propagating Firepower Nandina

Heavenly bamboo is most readily propagated through cuttings. Both softwood (new growth) and semi-hardwood cuttings work for propagating heavenly bamboo.

To take a softwood cutting in warmer weather, follow these steps:

  1. Cut the stem of a heavenly bamboo plant where the newest growth begins. There is often a noticeable difference between last year’s growth and the current year’s growth. The stem should be soft and green.
  2. Dip the end of the cutting in a rooting hormone.
  3. Plant the cutting in a container.
  4. Keep the soil moist until roots sprout. 

Semi-hardwood cuttings are best taken in the summer or early fall. Semi-hardwood is the part of the stem that is partially, but not fully mature. Take these steps:

  1. Cut part of the cane that is relatively firm but still flexible enough to bend.
  2. Dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone.
  3. Place the cutting in a container.
  4. Cover the container with plastic wrap to keep in the humidity until roots sprout.

How to Grow Firepower Nandina From Seed

Because Firepower Nandina is a cultivar, propagating it from seed won't produce a plant that is true to the parent. Therefore growing it from seed it not recommended.

Potting and Repotting Firepower Nandina

If you are looking to start a container garden, heavenly bamboo is an excellent choice, also if you want to grow the plant but live in a region with cold winters.

Plant Firepower Nandina in a potting mix in a pot large enough to accommodate the entire root system plus about 6 inches to allow for future growth. Make sure the pot has good drainage holes. Remember to keep the soil consistently moist. Heavenly bamboo will need to be watered more frequently when grown in a container versus a garden.

When grown in a container, a heavenly bamboo plant should only need repotting every two to three years.

Overwintering 

Firepower Nandina does not require any winter protection when grown in garden soil. Potted plants, however, might need protection if you are at the lower range of the plant's hardiness range. Wrap the container in burlap and bubble wrap so the roots don't suffer cold injury during freezing tempertures. In cold climates, bring the plant inside after the first fall fall frosts and keep it in a bright spot for overwintering.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Firepower Nandina is prone to attacks by the cottony cushion scale, mealybugs, as well as whiteflies but it can withstand a low infestation without pesticide control.

It can also be affected by bacterial leaf scorch.

FAQ
  • Is Firepower Nandina an evergreen?

    It is an evergreen in warm climates such as in the American Southeast, where it is especially popular. Its brilliant red fall foliage persists through winter.

  • Is Firepower Nandina a bamboo?

    Heavenly bamboo is bontanically not a bamboo, its common name comes from the appearance of its stems, which are similar to bamboo canes.

  • Does Firepower Nandina flower?

    If it flowers at all, which is rare, there are very few flowers. This cultivar is grown for its foliage, unlike other heavenly bamboo, it does not have the racemes of white or light-pink flowers succeeded by red berries.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants: Nadina domestica. ASPCA.

  2. Sacred Bamboo. Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States.