Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

December, 2000
Regional Report

Web Finds

Indoor Plant Lighting
The Illuminatron: Step-by-Step Guide to Build a Portable Plant Lighting System Web site ( by the Florida Extension Service provides a detailed description with photos to teach you how to build a plant light stand. It offers useful information on the intensity of the light for plants from the fixtures.

The Lighting Indoor House Plants by the Missouri Extension Service Web site ( offers a wealth of information on types of light, footcandles produced by common fixtures at various distances, and the growing needs of common houseplants.

Favorite or New Plant

Nandina: Heavenly Bamboo
One of my favorite plants for the winter season is heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica). The standard-type shrubs offer bright red berries that provide a nice ornamental accent to the green foliage with its burgundy tinges. They grow 6 to 8 feet high and wide and produce the most colorful leaves and berries in a full sun location. They're hardy to USDA zone 8 but may lose their leaves in colder areas of that zone. In spring when the cedar waxwings arrive, the berries soon disappear, as they are a favorite food of these migrating birds.

Dwarf types of nandinas are super landscape shrubs that grow only 4 to 5 feet high and wide with lacy foliage. While they don't produce berries, they do provide much better cool-season foliage color than their taller cousins do. Frosty weather causes the bushes to change from green to shades of orange, red, and burgundy. Their shorter stature means they can be used in a variety of landscape situations where taller plants would not suffice. Commonly available dwarf varieties include 'Gulf Stream', 'Harbor Dwarf', and 'Nana'.


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