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Leatherleaf Mohonia

Leatherleaf mahonia (Mahonia bealei)is an evergreen shrub with large, pinnately compound leaves. It grows in an upright, open and loose, multi-stemmed clump 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) tall and 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) wide. It can get as large as 10 ft (3 m) tall and 8 ft (2.4 m) wide. The erect stems are stiff and unbranched, and the leaves come out in horizontal tiers. The leaves are about 18 in (46 cm) long with 9 to 13 stiff, sharply spiny, hollylike leaflets. The leaflets are dull grayish blue-green above and pale yellowish green below, and about 2-4 in (5-10 cm) long and 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) wide. The terminal leaflet is larger than the lateral leaflets. The fragrant lemon-yellow flowers, appearing in late winter, are borne in erect racemes 3-6 in (7.6-15 cm) long. The fruit is a berry, first green, then turning bluish black with a grayish bloom. They are about a half inch long and hang in grapelike clusters.


Light: Leatherleaf mahonia grows well in shade to partial shade, especially in zones 8 and 9. It may not flower if it doesn't get at least a couple hours of sun each day, though. Best position is one that gives 2-4 hours of morning sun. Leatherleaf mahonia does not like hot, midday sun in the southern zones, but does well in full sun in zones 6 and 7.
Moisture: This mahonia likes a moist, well-drained soil. Water when dry. 
Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 - 9.
Propagation: Can be started from cuttings. Also propagated by seed which will germinate without any pre-germination treatment if fresh.