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Soft Caress Mahonia

(34 customer reviews)

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About Soft Caress Mahonia

Soft Caress Mahonia (Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Soft Caress’ PP20183) 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” 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, this variety 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.

It 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, it’s 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 Mahonia is its ability to thrive in both Part Sun and Part Shade, an unusual feat for most flowering shrubs.

Plant in well-draining acidic soil for best results. Alkaline soils may lead to an iron deficiency and yellowing leaves. Therefore, planting in acidic to neutral soil is important.

Water 2-3 times a week during the first growing season. After your plant has a couple growing seasons under its belt, supplemental watering is only necessary in times of intense heat and drought.

Fertilize in early spring with a balanced, slow-release acidic plant fertilizer.

How to Plant:

  1. First, find an appropriate planting location and stage where your plant(s) will go.
  2. Dig a hole three times as your plant’s root ball.
    • The hole should be deep enough that the plant sits even with or slightly higher than the ground around it. However, dig a shallower hole if your soil has mild drainage problems. Mound the soil up to the base of the plant.
  3. Next, mix your native soil with rich garden soil to provide extra nutrients for your growing plant.
    • Alternatively, if your soil is clay-rich, we recommend mixing in pine bark with your native soil at a ratio of about 1:1.
  4. Place the plant in the hole and fill the hole back with the soil mixture.
  5. Apply 3-4 inches of mulch around the base of your plant to help it retain moisture throughout the year.
  6. Deeply water your new planting to settle the soil and hydrate your plant.

Spacing Your Plants

For a seamless planting, plant 2-2.5 feet apart. Otherwise, space them 3.5+ feet apart for space between plantings.

Recommended Companion Plants for the Soft Caress Mahonia

  • Try this variety with some other shade-friendly plants, like the Everillo Carex and Florida Sunshine Anise. Both of these varieties have bright golden foliage that really brightens up shady spots. The Mountain Snow Pieris also handles shade well and features some gorgeous white bell-shaped blossoms in early spring.
  • For partial shade plantings, consider planting it with some Hydrangeas, such as the Big Daddy Hydrangea or Bloomstruck Hydrangea. Their wide leaves and large rounded blooms contrast beautifully this Mahonia’s feathery foliage.

Still looking for inspiration? Check out these Shade Garden Ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions:

“Is Soft Caress Mahonia deer-resistant?”

Traditional Mahonia are very deer resistant because of their thorny nature. The Soft Caress does not have thorns, therefore, it is not as deer resistant. However, it’s not a deer’s favorite snack. They will likely only nibble at it if other food is scarce.

“Why is my foliage turning yellow?”

  1. Your soil pH may be too high. When this happens, it can create an iron deficiency in your plant because it’s unable to absorb nutrients properly. The result is that leaves may turn yellow and fall off over time. Pick up a soil pH test and take a sample from the base of your plant, several inches deep. If it shows up decently over a pH of 7, you should consider supplementing your soil with a soil acidifier, such as elemental sulfur.
  2. Your Mahonia might be getting too much sun. Mahonia can handle some sun very well, in fact, they look great with a couple to a few hours of direct sun. However, they aren’t Full Sun plants. If yours are getting too much direct sunlight, they’ll fade to a yellow-green to yellow and eventually, the plant might expire. Move them or figure out a way to give them more shade.

“Why isn’t my Mahonia flowering?”

Mahonia can bloom from late fall to late winter, depending on the weather you’re having and where it’s planted. So our first suggestion would be to consider that it hasn’t gotten around to it yet, or it may have bloomed already if you recently bought the plant. However, if fall and winter came and went without any flowers, there’s likely something else at play. Dehydration is a common cause for a lack of flowers. Ensure that your plant is staying properly hydrated throughout the year. They need water to produce flowers and will often drop their flower buds if they are dehydrated for too long.

Why Order Plants Online from

It’s our responsibility to ship healthy, quality plants for every order we receive. And we take this responsibility seriously! We carefully select plants that we wouldn’t hesitate to plant in our own gardens. Then, we water them, securely pack them for shipment, and send them on their way to you. All of our plants are shipped in pots with soil, we never ship any plants bare-root. If you aren’t happy with your order when it shows up, give us a call at 1-866-618-5659 or email us at [email protected]. We’ll do whatever we can to make it right.

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Scientific Name
Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress' PP20183
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Average Size
3' H x 3.5' W
Bloom Season
Test Your Soil with Soil Test Kits from Plants by MailTest Your Soil with Soil Test Kits from Plants by Mail

34 reviews for Soft Caress Mahonia

  1. Charles Byrne (verified owner)

    Mahonias arrived healthy and full looking. Have ordered several more plants since they have all been exceptional so far.

  2. penelope (verified owner)

    arrived in pristine condition; beautiful plants.

  3. Kathleen Gayne (verified owner)

    The plant arrived big and beautiful!! I will definitely order more from this site.

  4. Fred Byerly (verified owner)

    Fast shipping. FedEx fumbled on delivery, but still delivered nice looking plants in good condition.

  5. M D’Agrosa (verified owner)

    Soft Cress Mahonia: The plants arrived in a timely manner. They were very healthy looking and the packaging for shipping was very well done, no soil spillage from the pots. They are planted and putting down roots. I will purchase from Plants By Mail again.

  6. Glenda Holler (verified owner)

    Have not received it yet.

    • Team PBM

      Good morning. FEDEX tracking is showing this as delivered on the 11th. If you did not receive it please contact customer service. 866-618-5659 – Christy

  7. Jean Peters (verified owner)

    This plant arrived in beautiful condition and is now in my front garden. I want to see how it does in this location, and will order more in the spring. It’s in a spot that has filtered sun and seems to be thriving.

  8. Dale Theriot (verified owner)

    Different texture of plant looks great next to Hostas and coral bells and camellias.

  9. Fran Davidson (verified owner)

    Shipped great, fabulous condition when arrived. I can’t wait to plant my new favorite plant. Very happy with company & plant.

    • Team PBM


  10. michael.varga211 (verified owner)

    Beautiful plants!!!!!!!!!! This variety is amazing. Looks like a fern but with flowers! Deer sampled them this winter but moved on.

  11. Peaches (verified owner)

    Beautiful plant that is thriving well in the garden.

  12. L LISA Bobby (verified owner)

    My Mahonia arrived in such perfect shape, it almost didn’t look real. And now it’s full of buds, waiting to open. I could not be happier with my purchase!

  13. Ann Kammerer (verified owner)

    Great looking and healthy upon arrival. Came flowering in late Nov. Can’t wait to see this grow.

  14. candylloyd1610 (verified owner)

    Great looking plant and is doing well in the garden.

  15. Rosemary Carter (verified owner)

    I ordered two Soft Caress Mahonias, and they arrived in great condition. They are planted beneath two Marvel Mahonias and are doing well. I’m looking forward to seeing them bloom in winter.

  16. Jeanne Stephenson (verified owner)

    Superb packaging! The plants have softened the foundation planting beautifully. No shock at planting time either!

  17. kshirey1 (verified owner)

    Soft Caress Mahonias arrived in great condition. Awesome size and quality plants. Will be ordering more and I Definitely recommend!

  18. J. Thomas (verified owner)

    These plants came in great condition and are doing really well. Really appreciated being able to order here since I could not find at my local nurseries.

  19. Donna Ingram (verified owner)

    Plants arrived in great condition and beautiful quality. I would definitely order from them again.

  20. Carol Droessler (verified owner)

    The Soft Caress Mahonia plants arrived quickly, were packaged very well, and were in great condition. They are thriving and look beautiful.

  21. Graeson (verified owner)

    Plants arrived very quickly and in perfect condition. Will definitely be ordering more plants in the future.

  22. Eloise Ritt (verified owner)

    Mahonia arrived it’s beautiful. Miss Figgies are starting to sprout their leaves. I am very happy with plants that I ordered.

  23. Margarete Wilson (verified owner)

    I love that the shipping container said on the outside “open on arrival and give me a drink ” because I was wondering how soon it needed to be opened and watered or given other attention. It is a beautiful plant, well packed for shipping and in perfect condition.

  24. Joan Philip (verified owner)

    The mahonias are absolutely perfect: large and lush. This is my second order and probably not my last.

  25. John Leonard (verified owner)

    Good quality plants delivered on time.

  26. terry.baggs (verified owner)

    Love this evergreen plant. This one was healthier and fuller than the one I paid much more for from a local nursery. Looks great in my shade garden. Quick shipping.

  27. Lee Butler (verified owner)

    Absolutely gorgeous and healthy 2.5 qt mahonia! They are already getting blooms! Couldn’t be happier! Thanks!!

  28. Sheila

    Ordered Soft Caress Mahonia & Marvel Mahonia. I was so pleased with size & condition of plants. They were well established & good size! I will be ordering from them again.

  29. Corrine

    plants arrived quickly and in superb packaging. Healthy plants

  30. Connie

    Arrived quickly and are very healthy!

  31. Sue Lopez

    The plants arrived promptly and in perfect condition. I would highly recommend Plants by Mail.



  33. Anonymous

    I ordered Mahonis ‘Soft Caress’. They were perfectly packed for safe delivery. Not a leaf was out of place! Good job!

  34. From Olympia, WA

    Beautiful Mahonia/Oregon Grape that is fun to touch and looks like it is from the tropics. Plant had a little bit of a rough trip from AL to WA as it was December, but seems to be settling in well and looks ready to bloom.

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