Nandina domestica ‘Gulf Stream’

compact heavenly bamboo

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Nandina domestica 'Gulf Stream' is one of the best compact shrubs for year-round foliage interest. It features a variety of leaf colors on a fairly dense, evergreen plant. New growth is bronze with orange tints. Older leaves range from blue-green to gold and red. GPP member Richie Steffen recommends it for its great red- and orange-toned winter color. 'Gulf Stream' is a tough plant, tolerant of urban conditions. Unlike other heavenly bamboos, it is bushy and compact, reaching only 2.5 to 3 feet high. It makes a fine informal hedge or can be used as a foundation planting. It can also be used in containers or in the mixed border. Complement the dissected leaves of heavenly bamboo with large-leafed evergreen shrubs such as David's viburnum or rhododendrons. The barks of paperbark maple and Chinese red birch pick up the tones of 'Gulf Stream' and make it shine.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: compact shrub

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 3 ft. 0 in. (0.91 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 3 ft. 0 in. (0.91 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 9

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to light or open shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant once established

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: dark green, blue, bronze

Great Color Partners: gold, orange, red

Culture Notes
This heavenly bamboo looks best in full sun to light or open shade. The foliage colors are more brilliant with more sun. It is drought tolerant once established but looks better with occasional summer watering. Because it seldom flowers in the cooler areas of the Pacific Northwest, it rarely has berries in the fall. It needs almost no pruning, only remove dead or broken limbs.