The Q&A Archives: Nandina in Zone 6

Question: Hello:

It appears you have most of the Nandinas listed as hardy in zone 6. I live in zone 6a and am wondering what kind of performance I will get? It appears some people on the internet have indicated that they find their nandinas die to the ground and resprout from the roots in zone 6. Is that what I can expect? Are some nandina's more cold hard y than others? What cultivar or variety is the most cold hardy? How much growth would I get in one season if it dies back to the ground every winter in Connecticut. I am not near the shore but north of Rt 15.


Jack Berkowitz

Answer: While Nandina domestica is considered hardy into zone 6, your zip code places you in 6A or the coldest part of zone 6. Depending on your microclimate, that could actually be as cold as zone 5. So, based on my experience, I would consider this plant to be somewhat marginal for you at best. I am not aware of significant hardiness differences between cultivars. It is common for nandinas to defoliate completely each winter and die back somewhat (or in some cases completely) in colder areas. Once the plant becomes well established and fully rooted, it seems to die back a bit less, especially if it is planted in a well-sheltered spot with protection from the wind and a heavy winter mulch over the root area. Nonetheless, in your area I would expect it to be substantially held back by the annual winterkill damage. How much it would regrow in one season would depend on the overall growing conditions of where it is planted and the weather each year, but just a foot or two is all I would expect. If you really want to try one, I would suggest you experiment and see if you are satisfied with the results.

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