6 Common Lemon Lime Nandina Problems

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In 2004, a man from locustville in Virginia named Richard Davis discovered the lemon-lime nandina.

The plant was singled out from a mass of other plants being grown from the seeds of Nandina Domestica Aurea that were openly pollinated at the time. Lemon lime nandinas are deer and, to an extent, disease resistant too.

However, there are some common problems that many gardeners encounter with the plant. And in this article, we will be revealing some of the most common lemon lime nandina problems!

Lemon Lime Nandina Problems

Lemon lime Nandina is fast becoming very popular in container gardens. The effect this compact evergreen shrub has on your flower arrangement is visible to all.

Lemon lime nandina also goes by the name ‘Nandina Domestica.’ They are a cultivar under the genus umbrella Nandina.

Lemon lime nandina is a low-maintenance plant, quite tolerant of less-than-ideal soil conditions, and deer resistant.

They maintain their compact form as they grow and bless your space with their high-quality foliage, but they are not without problems. Find out some common problems they face and how to handle them effectively.

See Also: Different Types Of Boxwood Shrubs

1. Brown, Shrinking Leaves

When your lemon-lime nandina plant goes brown and begins to shrink or look crunchy, it is a clear indication that they were fed with insufficient water either at its early growth stages to get well established or they are presently starved of water.

The lemon-lime nandina does not need frequent watering when they get established, usually taking a year. The key to watering the plant is first checking with the root balls right after you water it. 

This is because the water sometimes just run-off the root ball as it repels it, and then, they dry again in no time. 

It will help if you observe to ensure that does not happen. Over time, your plant may tend to lose its leaves if this inadequate watering continues.

2. Invasive Tendencies

You might be wondering how this is a problem, but we will be explaining that in a bit. 

When a plant is considered invasive, it simply means that it has deviated from the cultivation ground, which can either be your garden or landscape and begun growing in a different place altogether. 

Lemon lime’s ability to spread is made possible by birds and other animals who disperse the seeds. It is a big problem as it will be perceived as a weed when it spreads to areas it should not.

The solution is to go for sterile cultivars if you must grow this plant, as they are incapable of spreading by rhizomes.

3. Dense Thickets Formation 

One problem you are most likely to encounter when you plant the lemon-lime nandina in natural areas is its ability to form dense thickets. 

These dense thickets are known as “monocultures.” Its formation can be problematic as one of the things they succeed in is crowding out native plants. 

The resultant effect is a decrease in biodiversity and loss of native plants. 

Lemon lime Nandina grows dense, but it can be controlled by cutting it down to size when needed.

4. Toxic To Birds And Pets

The berries on nandina shrubs are colorful and attractive but do not get too carried away. These berries contain what we call cyanide which can be very harmful to birds when ingested in large quantities. 

It can make them fall ill or even kill them. Thankfully, birds do not just go out of their way to eat berries. They can only be pushed to do so when they run out of other food sources. 

There have not been many bird deaths recorded as resting or ingesting these berries, but it is still an issue to be wary of, especially for those who own pets. 

What, then, can be done about this? 

To prevent your pets or birds from ingesting these toxic berries, you can clip off the flowers in summer just before they start producing berries. 

If you leave off clipping till, after the flowering period, the only option that would be available would be to clip out all the berries. 

Another option that you can adopt to avoid this problem entirely is to go for sterile cultivars. These cannot produce berries or be spread by rhizomes.

5. Lemon Lime Nandinas Are Hard To Get Rid Of

Even when you take out the shrubs and carefully pull out the roots, there is still a huge likelihood that you will need to dig out new growth from time to time.

Due to the way nandinas spread, it would take a continuous effort to get rid of it completely. Persistence is the only way that you can be rid of their existence.

6. High Possibility of foliage developing chlorosis in alkaline soil

Lemon lime nandinas have no serious insect or disease problems that should be of major concern; however, there is a great likelihood for its foliage to develop chlorosis in alkaline soil.

Guide to Growing Lemon Lime Nandina Plant

A solid plant establishment during its early stage is key to setting it up for a life of Independence. This can only be done by seeing to ideal conditions of growth.

The lemon-lime plant is not exactly particular about soil type, not its pH, so you might get away with whatever soil you choose.

However, please find below some important details about growing them that you must not compromise on. 

  • Grow the shrubs in moist but well-draining soil as your lemon-lime, even though drought tolerant, would not thrive for long in standing water
  • Ensuring the plant enjoys full sun exposure
  • I am using a Greenhouse under challenging climate conditions

Lemon lime shrubs are hardy up to 10°F or in zones 6 – 9. A greenhouse might be necessary outside of this.

How Fast Does The Lemon Lime Nandina Grow?

Lemon lime nandinas can best be described as a medium-rate grower. You would not have too long to witness its beautiful ornamental formation.

However, there is a trick to get it growing even faster than normal, and that is guaranteeing ideal conditions for its growth. 

Using a greenhouse is one reliable way of ensuring ideal conditions for the growth of lemon-lime nandina.

See Also: Different Types Of Snowball Bushes


Lemon lime nandina or known as heavenly bamboo by some people, is a broadleaf evergreen compact shrub, one that is a native plant of China, Japan, and India. It is part of the four great nandinas in the Southern Living Plant Collection.

When you combine lemon-lime plants with pansies, snapdragons, or even ornamental grasses, you see the whole place light up from afar.

On the whole, the plant has no important pest or disease issue; the major problem you will however have is its invasive tendencies.

To this end, you will have to check first with the local laws before attempting to grow this plant.

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