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Zones 2B, 3-9, 14-24, 31-41
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Full, Partial
Minimal Water
Minimal

Mahonia repens

Creeping Mahonia
Berberidaceae
Evergreen, Ground covers, Shrubs

MAHONIA

Related to barberry (Berberis) and described under that name by some botanists. Easy to grow; good looking all year. Typically spiny-edged leaves are divided into leaflets; foliage can be quite prickly, so avoid setting mahonias too close to walkways or in other areas where they might snag passersby.

Yellow flowers are borne in dense, rounded to spike-like clusters and followed by berrylike, typically blue or blue-black (sometimes red or brown) fruit with a powdery bloom. Generally disease resistant, though foliage is sometimes disfigured by a small looper caterpillar. Fruit of all mahonias attracts birds. In general, pruning is needed only to remove old, damaged stems or to correct rank growth; cut those stems all the way to the ground.

Mahonia repens

Native from British Columbia to Northern California, eastward to the Rocky Mountains. Grows to 1 ft. high and 3 ft. wide, spreading by underground stems. One of the best mahonias for winter color: dull blue-green leaves turn bronzy or pinkish when cold weather arrives. Short clusters of flowers in mid- to late spring are followed by blue berries. Good groundcover. Full sun or partial shade. Little or no water.

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