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How to plant and maintain a mahonia?

How to plant and maintain a mahonia?

The characteristics of mahonia:

  • Type: flowering shrub
  • Height: from 1 to 3m
  • Flower color: yellow
  • Fruit name: mahonia berries
  • Desired exposure: partially shaded
  • Type of soil: humiferous, sandy
  • Foliage: persistent
  • Sanitizing: no
  • Varieties:Mahonia aquifolium, Mahonia x media Charity

Origins and characteristics of mahonia

From the Berberidaceae family, the mahonia is an evergreen shrub which groups together around 70 different species. Native to Asia and North America, the mahonia plant stands at a height generally between 1 and 3 meters depending on the variety. They are pungent and bushy shrubs, which are reminiscent of holly.

Identifiable by its bright yellow flowers, it is one of the flowering shrubs that have one of the longest flowering periods: from December to April depending on the variety. It is not uncommon to come across flowering mahonias in the middle of winter. Its flowers grow in large clusters which can reach up to 30cm long.

Its yellow flowers, fragrant and melliferous, can be collected to form magnificent bouquets. It should be noted that the flowering of the mahonia is always followed by a fruiting which decorates the shrub of small dark blue berries. These small fruits, similar to black grapes, have given the mahonia the nickname "Oregon vine". These berries are edible, even if they have a fairly sour taste. From a culinary point of view, its fruits are edible in jam, jelly and liqueur.

The holly mahonia or holly-leaved mahonia (Mahonia aquifolium) has medicinal properties. Extracts of the root bark of this plant, whose evergreen leaves reminds of holly and smells of thrush, help fight eczema and psoriasis.

Mahonia plantation

After planting between October and March, in preferably sandy soil, slightly acidic or neutral and well enriched in humus, themahonia shrub grows about twenty centimeters a year. The shrub is particularly fond of partial shade and protected from the wind.

As adults, they are rustic trees. Mahonia can adapt to the various climates of our regions

It is possible to plant your mahonia trees in the ground or in pots. If you choose to plant in the open ground, plant them 0.60 to 1 m apart from each other in order to obtain a mass effect when the trees flower. For planting in pots or in containers, choose containers at least 35 × 35 × 35 cm. The growth of the mahonia shrub being slow, you can easily keep your trees in this type of container for 5 or 6 years.

Maintenance of the mahonia

Maintenance of the mahonia is very easy. It is especially the young plantations which require some care. During the two years after planting, it is recommended to:

  • water your mahonia shrubs every 15 days during hot or dry periods.
  • mulch the soil in summer to keep maximum costs
  • make a full fertilizer supply in May
  • install winter protection against the cold. Certain varieties must be protected from frost because they do not resist temperatures below -10 ° C in adulthood.

For adult mahonia, an annual maintenance size allows you to keep the original shape of the tree. In case of snowfall, make sure to shake the branches well. This will prevent fragile branches from breaking under the weight of the snow.

The pruning of mahonias should always be done after flowering. Remember to remove damaged branches, as well as wilted inflorescences (if you do not want to take advantage of the fruiting of the tree). For mahonia shrubs, by removing the terminal bouquets of leaves, you will promote branching of the branches.

Mahonia diseases

Mahonias are often attacked by powdery mildew and rust. It is enough to treat at the first symptoms, in particular by using Bordeaux mixture.

They are also more or less sensitive to aphids, depending on the variety. From the first appearance of aphids, you can get rid of them with treatments that are harmless to the tree; showering the foliage for example.