Nandina Companion Plants

The bamboo-like appearance and vibrantly colored foliage of nandina make it highly sought after for planting in either sunny or shaded locations. The evergreen leaves and densely branching habit provide structure to the garden even in the winter months. Use nandinas of different sizes and shapes in foundation plantings for a low-maintenance design with year-round interest. 

Nandinas can grow in either full sun or part shade, although they appreciate shade during the hottest part of the day in the warmer growing zones. Well-draining soil is important as is the ability of the soil to retain moisture. Mulch plants annually with organic material to conserve moisture and improve the soil texture, keeping it friable and loose. 


Shrubs To Plant With Nandina

Nandinas work well in a mixed hedge or foundation planting with other evergreens for year-round color and easy maintenance. Pair them with Chinese fringe flower, Oregon grape, false cypress, camellias, and osmanthus, which all grow well in either sun or part shade. Deciduous shrubs can be planted as a contrasting element to the brightly colored foliage of nanadina. Snowberry, red currant, red twig dogwood, and spirea make a good backdrop for dwarf nandina or can be staggered with taller nandina types. 

Perennials To Plant With Nandina

Several choices of shade-loving and sun-loving will grow well with nandinas. For a woodland feel, consider hellebores, ferns, hostas, sweet woodruff, and dogtooth violets, which can be used as ground cover or a lower story layer. For sun locations, coneflowers, black-eyed Susan, liriope, mondo grass, wire vine, and spring blooming bulbs can be used to highlight the reds and greens of nandina’s foliage. 

Perennials should be planted at least 8 inches from the base of nandinas to avoid competition for water and nutrients. Mulch with organic compost or arborist chips in the spring to suppress annual weeds, keep moisture in the soil longer, and make maintenance easy for the whole growing season.  


Annuals To Plant With Nandina

Annuals are not only good for adding seasonal color to containers, but are also useful for temporary garden schemes. Try planting ivy leaf geraniums, petunias, nasturtiums, or lantana as a quickly spreading ground cover beneath nandina. The living mulch will help to keep moisture in the soil longer and also help to suppress weeds. Taller growing cosmos, sunflowers, zinnias, or helianthemum in sunset shades will make for a great late summer planting alongside the reds and maroons of nandina. 

Best Companion Plants For Nandina in Containers

Dwarf varieties of nandina can be used with many combinations of plants in mixed seasonal planters. The brilliant shades of red, green, maroon, or orange create the perfect thriller element in a container design. Pair them with low-growing carex (sedge) grasses, which come in different shades of green, yellow, orange, and brown, and add fullness. For a spiller, you can’t go wrong with creeping Jenny, which works with any color in the garden. The lime green stays vibrant through the year, even remaining evergreen in warmer gardening locations. Achillea and sweet potato vine are two more never-fail plants for containers. The varied shape of the leaves and long blooming period make them indispensable for creating a dramatic display.  


Plants Not To Grow With Nandina

Nandina will tolerate so many types of soil and moisture levels that there is hardly a plant that cannot be paired with it. Smaller-growing perennials may be overwhelmed by nandinas that grow large, so take note of the mature size of your nandina and site it appropriately. Nandina does not tolerate deep shade or heavy fertilizing and should not be paired with hostas and roses for this reason. Nandina can develop powdery mildew, so avoid planting it near susceptible plants, such as comfrey, squashes, melons, and cucumbers. 

Best Plants To Grow With Nandina

Nandina is a great solution for easy-care foundation plantings that need to keep a low profile. Use nandinas to fill in areas in front of porches or decks, dotted with annual plants like lantana or verbena. Edge the whole bed with well-behaved and low-maintenance liriope. The layered appearance will add depth to a small space while giving your house a heavy dose of curb appeal.

Robbin Small Profile Pic

Author Robbin Small - Published 10-11-2023