Mahonia × media 'Charity'
- Position: full or partial shade
- Soil: moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist or well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: November to March
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Slender spikes of pale yellow flowers appear from November to March, above rosettes of large, handsome, dark green, holly-like leaves. The flowers of this lovely, upright, evergreen shrub have a sweet scent (a little like lily of the valley) and seem to glow in the wintry sunlight. They provide a valuable source of nectar to pollinating insects in winter, while the bunches of highly ornamental, round, deep purple berries that follow on will help attract birds. This mahonia makes a lovely focal point for a shady spot in the garden, where its glossy, architectural leaves can be appreciated all year round. Give it space, as its leaves will spread, and conceal its long 'legs' with spring-flowering bulbs and small, shade-loving perennials. Although it prefers shade, it will tolerate sun as long as the soil remains moist.
- Garden care: Apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant in spring while it is getting established. No pruning required.
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Q:Hi - I was thinking about planting this, or a Viburnum Bodnantense Dawn or maybe a Chimonanthus Praecox Luteus for some winter scent and colour. Ideally, one of them would be planted around a very established tree (assuming it won't cause the tree any harm) in a north facing spot but the other would need to be in a pot, in a north-facing location that gets some sun during the day. Any tips on which plant would be happiest where?
Thanks!Asked on 5/11/2014 by Tanty
The Mahonia will be the toughest, so I would plant that near the tree. You will need to make sure it is kept really well watered though. I would then choose Viburnum for the big pot, and it too will need to be kept well fed and watered.Answered on 5/29/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:Help with plants for N/East facing garden
Hi, I have a little problem choosing some plants....... I really like the look and size of the 'Shady Pink' pre-designed corner planting plan, but our problem is that we have a north east facing garden, so we get no sun at all in the winter, and direct sun for only half a day on either side of the garden during the summer. Would this planting plan be suitable for that level of shade? We are actually are buying plants for the entire garden, so we'd need about 6 new shrubs, and maybe a small tree (we were thinking about the Prunus Amanogawa). Could you please help us with a few shrubs that would do well in these conditions? For perennials, we have been recommended; - Geranium Johnson's Blue, Kniphofia, Crocosmia, and Helleborus foetidus. Are these suitable? Many many thanks! Regards, JoseeAsked on 4/12/2010 by Josee Mallet
A:Hello Josee, It is always difficult to give a definitive answer to the shade issue, but looking at the Shady Pink border, the most shade tolerant plants include Anemone hupehensis Hadspen Abundance, Thalictrum aquilegiifolium and Dryopteris erythrosora. If you click on the following link it will take you to all our shade-loving shrubs http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/plcid.1/vid.11/ and for the shade -loving perennials http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/perennials/plcid.2/vid.11/ Of the plants you have listed, the Prunus, Helleborus foetidus, Kniphofia and Crocosmia will be OK as long as there is more sun than shade. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 4/13/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Photinia 'Red Robin' has black spots on leaves? Also shrubs for sunny border please
Hello Crocus Can you tell me why my Photinia 'Red Robin' has black spots on its leave - and how to treat it please! Many thanks LindaAsked on 4/7/2010 by Linda Binfield
A:Hello again Linda, Viburnum tinus 'French White' is an evergreen shrub that flowers in late winter and spring, so you could get too seasons of interest - just click on the following link to go straight to it. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/viburnum-tinus-french-white/classid.4484/ Mahonias will flower in winter too http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.mahonia/ while Daphne odora Aureomarginata is pretty early in the spring http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/daphne-odora-aureomarginata/classid.3751/ For shrubs that flower throughout the summer, then here are some of my favourites:- Ceanothus http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.ceanothus/ Lavender http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.lavandula/ Hebe http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.hebe/ I hope this gives you a few ideas. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 4/7/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
A:I'll try that Helen - thank you. Also I have a lovely Crocus voucher to spend! I have just cleared an old sunny border in front of an ornamental wall. I have kept a large Hydrangea at the end of the border but would like a couple of shrubs to put alongside to give some winter colour. Do you have any suggestions that would complement the Hydrangea? Thank you for your prompt reply. LindaAnswered on 4/7/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
A:Hello Linda, The most likely cause of these black spots is Fungal Leaf Spot. This can be caused by a number of things, but is usually a result of the plant being stressed in some way. It may be that it was slightly too cold in winter, or if it is in a pot it may need to be moved to a larger one, or planted out into the ground. Keep an eye on the watering and try to improve the general growing conditions and you should start to see new growth. If the black spots are really unsightly, you should pick off the affected leaves (being careful not to defoliate it completely) and give it a feed with a general purpose fertiliser like Growmore. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 4/7/2010 by Linda Binfield
Q:Winter flowering shrubs and climbers to plant with new hedge
Hello, I have newly planted a hedge (made up from Hornbeam, Rosa rugosa, Blackthorn, Cornus, Hawthorn and Hazel) about 50ft long. I have been told that if I was to plant amongst the hedge some winter flowering Clematis such as 'Wisley Cream' it would give some nice colour these bleak winter months when the hedge is bare of foliage. The hedge is south facing and although the ground is ???good??? heavy Cambridgeshire clay the hedge has been planted in a trench back filled with leaf mulch, chipped wood and spent peat. Although I have said about in-planting Clematis in the hedge, I am open to other plant suggestions if you have any. Regards TerryAsked on 12/31/2009 by Terry Allum
A:Hello Terry, If you click on the following link it will take you to all our winter flowering climbers - of which the Jasminum is tougher and more like a shrub. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/climbers/plcid.15/vid.204/ Alternatively, this link will take you to all our winter flowering shrubs. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/plcid.1/vid.204/ I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 1/5/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Low maintenance exterior plants for office lightwell
Hello Plant Doctor, Please advise on which evergreen plants would be suitable for a shady lightwell in my new office. Many Thanks, ColinAsked on 10/7/2009 by COLIN WATSON
A:Hello Colin, If you click on the following link it will take you to a selection of evergreen shrubs that can tolerate low light levels. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/plcid.1/vid.11/vid.228/ I hope this gives you a few ideas. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 10/9/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Hi We have a problem area in our front garden. It is a triangular bed with two sides bounded by low walls, which form part of the boundaries to our property. The soil is more alkaline than acid, and has been described as silt, with quite a lot of flinty pebbles. Most of the front garden is lawn, with one rectangular bed below our kitchen window. Unfortunately for us the whole corner area is overshadowed from the south by our next door neighbour's tree. This is a walnut, which during the summer months cuts off most of the sunlight from the bed and which also throws a rain shadow over it. The tree is protected by a preservation order but it has had the crown lifted and thinned. It is now filling in downwards with flowers, leaves, nuts etc all falling into the triangular bed at regular intervals. It seems to dislike any neighbouring trees - we lost a rather lovely white-flowering prunus from our front lawn two years ago, the crown of which grew just high enough to touch a branch of the walnut. I have read that walnuts exude a toxic substance, to keep rivals at bay! We have one Camellia japonica (about 2.5 metres high) and one Fuchsia magellanica which apparently are reasonably happy in their situation ina corner. We planted a small Pittosporum tenuifolium (which is surviving but not at all happy) and two Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. repens, both of which have died. We also planted six Vinca minor, three of which failed to survive. (The survivors have been moved to another bed). Are there any evergreen shrubs or perennials that might survive in this bed? We do want something that will at least partially block the view of a small block of flats on the opposite side of the road, but are finding it difficult to work out a solution to our present problem. So could you please suggest something that we could successfully plant, other than laurels or aucuba, both of which my wife dislikes. Kind regards MichaelAsked on 7/19/2009 by Anonymous
A:Hello There, This is a very difficult situation for plants as there will be very little moisture and nutrients in the soil. The best plants will be the toughest, however even these will need to be kept really well fed and watered if they are to survive. Here are your best options Viburnum tinus http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.tinus/ Sarcococca http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.sarcococca/ Ilex http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/hedging/ilex-%C3%97--altaclerensis-golden-king/classid.4029/ Mahonia http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/mahonia-%C3%97-media-charity/classid.4158/ Euonymus fortunei varieties http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=euonymus+for Alchemilla mollis http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=233&CategoryID= Pachysandra terminalis http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=3288&CategoryID= Bergenias http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=bergenia Iris foetidissima http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=3073&CategoryID= Lamiums http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=lamium Liriope muscari http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=3173&CategoryID= Cotoneaster dammeri http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=1021&CategoryID= I hope this gives you a few ideas. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 7/20/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:What evergreen shrub can you suggest?
I am trying to find something evergreen to use for a privacy screen. I have limited space, so need to plant using a large pot rather than in the ground. The main stumbling block that I have is that the area gets sun for only half the day and it is also a very windy and cold area. I would like something that is fast growing to about 2m tall and wide. Can you suggest anything that fits the bill?Asked on 10/7/2005 by Mark Hill
A:There are a couple of very tough evergreen shrubs, which should fit the bill - here are some of the best. 'Prunus laurocerasus Rotunifolia' http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/hedging/prunus-laurocerasus-rotundifolia/classid.4306/ Portugese Laurel http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/hedging/prunus-lusitanica-/classid.4309/ Mahonia http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=mahoniaAnswered on 10/10/2005 by Crocus
Q:Help with creating a windbreak
I live in Scotland and during the last weekend an old lilac bush blew down. The garden is small and north facing and is very exposed. I am at a loss as to what to plant as very little survives in the wind.Asked on 5/13/2005 by S A Morgan-Jones
A:Exposed gardens like yours do present a problem so the best thing to do is to plant a windbreak which will act as a shelter for other plants within the garden. This will then widen the choice of plants that you can use. Here's a list of large windbreak plants that can be used as the first line of defence. Hawthorn http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=crataegus Sycamore http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=acer+pseudoplatanus In front of these, it is a good idea to plant tough evergreen shrubs to further cut down the wind and provide and attractive background for the 'real' plants - here are some of the best. Prunus laurocerasus Rotundifolia http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/hedging/prunus-laurocerasus-rotundifolia/classid.4306/ Prunus lusitanica http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/hedging/prunus-lusitanica-/classid.4309/ Mahonia http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=mahonia Once these have established and cut down the wind, you can plant almost any type of plant you want.Answered on 5/16/2005 by Crocus
Q:What hedge would you suggest?
Can you suggest a hedge that I can grow? We have strong winds, a peat bog beside us and as I have sheep that break out, I would need a hedge that they wouldn't eat. Ideally I would like it to be evergreen.Asked on 5/8/2005 by RACHEL MCGETTIGAN
A:There are some tough plants that could cope with the conditions you've mentioned, although I would double check their toxicity to sheep with your local vet. Here are some of the best. Prunus laurocerasus Rotundifolia http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/hedging/prunus-laurocerasus-rotundifolia/classid.4306/ Mahonia http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=mahonia Hawthorn - not an evergreen but very, very tough and pretty too http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/results/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=1044&CategoryID=Answered on 5/9/2005 by Crocus
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