Soft Caress Mahonia, or Mahonia eurybracteata, from the Southern Living Plant Collection is a truly exceptional shade plant! Chinese Mahonia was introduced years ago, and provided a solution for shaded gardens everywhere. However, the sharp foliage of the Chinese Mahonia requires gloves or a particularly careful touch, which makes pruning difficult. The ‘Soft Caress’ Mahonia removes this potentially painful aspect of the Mahonia entirely, with its soft feather-like foliage. The greenery resembles a fern frond type of growth pattern, and sprouts richly colored leaves that can range from light green to a dark blue-green.
Early in Winter, the Soft Caress develops brilliant and fragrant yellow flowers that crown the evergreen foliage. Following the blooms are clusters of silver-blue berries that are an unexpected change of pace for this one-of-a-kind, fascinating plant.
The Soft Caress reaches a mature size of 3′ H x 3.5′ W. Because of its dwarf size, it won’t go wild and take over your landscape. Meanwhile, a naturally compact nature will leave pruning completely optional.
Try it in a mass planting in a shaded spot you don’t want to worry about maintaining.
Furthermore, the Soft Caress Mahonia is perfect for Asian-inspired gardens. Otherwise, try it as a short border in a shade garden, or as an accent in a container planter. You really can’t go wrong with this Mahonia!
Soft Caress Mahonia Care
Hardy in USDA Zones 7-9, down to 0° Fahrenheit when established.
One of the most attractive aspects of the Soft Caress is its ability to thrive in both Part Sun and Full Shade, an unusual feat for most flowering shrubs.
Plant in well-draining soil for best results. Alkaline soils can lead to an iron deficiency and yellowing leaves. Therefore, planting in acidic to neutral soil is necessary.
The Soft Caress Mahonia has medium water requirements, and will require supplementary watering 2-3 times a week while establishing. After your plant has a couple growing seasons under its belt, supplemental watering is only needed in times of intense heat and drought.
Fertilize in early spring with a balanced, slow-release acidic plant fertilizer.
Spacing Your Soft Caress Mahonia
For a seamless planting, plant your Soft Caress Mahonia 2.5-3 feet apart. Otherwise, space them 3.5+ feet apart for space between plantings.