Nandinas – Branching out

Q: I have several nandinas that have become spindly. I would like them to branch out beneath where I trim them, but they just seem to grow taller. If I cut them drastically they will have no foliage. What do you suggest?

A: Old nandinas, or those grown in the shade, tend to become “leggy”, with lots of foliage high on top of spindly stems. The easiest way to correct this is to “stair-step” the stems. In March, cut off a couple of the stems at 12 inches tall, some at 18 inches tall, some at 24 inches tall and so forth. The stalks will sprout new foliage at each level and the plant will be more balanced top-to-bottom.