Mahonia

Common name: Oregon Grape

Mahonia aquifolium is ahardy evergreen shrub, grown for its foliage and yellow fragrant flowers, which appear from January to March, followed by purple berries in August.



The flowers are hermaphrodite, that is, they have both male and female organs, and are pollinated by insects, making the plant self-fertile.

It can grow to 3-4metres (10-13ft) high, and spread to 2metres (6ft) if allowed.

Cultivation

Week 16: No regular pruning is required, other than to tidy it up now, and keep the shrub/s growth confined to an allotted space.

Any suckers that may have formed can be removed, potted up, then grown on in a coldframe till planting out time the following year.

Week 28: Take 100mm (4") tip cuttings from leading shoots or strong lateral growths.

Insert cuttings in equal parts (by volume) peat and sand and place on a hot bed to give a bottom heat of 16°- 18°C(60°- 65°F) to root.

When rooted, pot the cuttings into 75mm (3") pots of potting compost and place in a frost free coldframe to grow on for a year.

Make period checks on progress, and pot on if necessary.

Week 32: Another method of propagation is to collect berries now, separate the seed from the fleshy berry, wash in clean water, and sow in pots/trays of seed compost and place in a frost free cold frame.

The seeds should have germinated by the following April.

When large enough to handle, prick off the seedlings into 75mm (3") of potting compost and grow on for another year or two before planting out into their permanent positions.

Make period checks on progress, and pot on if necessary.

Week 38: Plant out in sun or partial shade, although it will tolerate permanent shade.

They will succeed in most types of moist compost enriched soil.

Avoid areas that are subject to high winds.





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