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How to Split Nandina Plants

By Lanh Ma ; Updated July 21, 2017

Nandina is also known as heavenly bamboo and heavenly plum bamboo. This shrub is not a true bamboo, and it produces vibrant red berries, making it an attractive choice for a decorative planting. The shrub grows well in light conditions or in shade, but over time it may grow too large for the area, crowding out other plants and suffering from a lack of resources. Splitting a nandina shrub gives you two nandina plants, one you can leave where it is, and and one you can transplant elsewhere.

Dig up the nandina shrub carefully, using a shovel in early spring. Preserve as much of the root ball as you can. Splitting the nandina later in the summer can cause wilting and scorching. Splitting in the spring allows the plant to heal quickly.

Shake the loose dirt free from the root ball gently.

Count the canes and divide them in half evenly. Separate one half of the nandina canes from the other, exposing the center line by spreading the canes apart slightly.

Cut through the root ball along the center line, using a sharp knife.

Replant one nandina clump where it was previously, filling in the hole with new garden soil.

Dig a hole with the shovel and replant the other nandina clump in another location.

Water both plants thoroughly.