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About Mahonia

Mahonia is a somewhat unusual family of shrubs, known for their great texture and shade-friendly nature. They’re closely related to Barberry plants, and they share many similar traits. In fact, many botanists believe that they should be considered the exact same species because some Mahonia and Barberry varieties have even cross-bred.

In the landscape, they’re known as easy-growing, low-maintenance plants for gardeners of all skill levels.

Why Plant Mahonia?

Gardeners love these plants for a few great reasons.

Many varieties grow well in shade

Nearly every gardener understands the frustration of gardening in Full Shade. Most plants like sun, especially bloomers. It can be very tricky trying to put together an impressive garden display in shady conditions. However, without much sun, landscape texture is key. Fortunately, dynamic texture is something that Mahonia plants have in spades. Some aptly named “Leatherleaf” varieties have thick, glossy and pointed leaves. Meanwhile, others have light feathery, fern-like leaves. Either way, they create stunning interest in group plantings, as well as mixed garden beds where they can contrast with other plants.

Mahonias have brilliant blooms

One of the best ways to lighten up a shade garden is bright flowers. Fortunately, many of these varieties feature sprays of golden-yellow panicle blooms in winter or early spring. These flowers do an exceptional job of bringing new interest to your cold-weather landscape or garden. Furthermore, some varieties follow these blossoms up with waxy blue-black berries that are also eye-catching seasonal accents.

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