Mahonia x media 'Charity'

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Unregistered, Jun 19, 2005.

  1. I live in New Jersey, USA. Several years ago I bought a Mahonia x media "Charity" at a garden center that carries an exceptional variety of plants. I was told that it would have fragrant yellow blossoms and would grow in partial shade. The plant appears to be growing nicely and is about 4 feet tall now, but it has never flowered. It gets afternoon sun. I am wondering if there will ever be flowers. Do you have any ideas about what is wrong?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    It may bloom this November. I've had one grow for a few years before flowering.
     
  3. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    I have this plant growing and blooming quite happily in my partly shaded woodland right now. I think it does require a few years to bloom. My question is whether this plant can be successfully grown in an open, sunny location, as I have one in need of moving.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The two bushiest, bluest Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun' I have seen here (Seattle) were on fully exposed, south-facing walls.
     
  5. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    I have both 'Winter Sun' and 'Charity' in full sun (rich moisture rententive soil) and they bloom quite well. My 'Arthur Menzies' is in a shaded location and does not bloom as well.
     
  6. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    I was recently faced with the dilemma of where to plant my new 'Charity' Mahonia. I have a spot under a hemlock tree that is dry shade and I would have liked to plant it there but I decided to plant it in another place with part shade because I do want it to flower. My question is, do you think it would grow in deep, dry shade at all? I realize it probably wouldn't flower as well but I would like some taller plant for that location.
    Another question I have, is it possible to divide it when it gets bigger?
     
  7. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    My experience with the large hybrid mahonias is that they are not as drought tolerant as their native cousins (and even Mahonia nervosa and Mahonia aquifolium seem to resent very dry shade until very well established.) The hybrid mahonias do not seem to spread by stolons like our native either; they are propagated by leaf cuttings.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Deep dry shade unsuitable for Mahonia x media. Success of M. nervosa on a site indicates intermediate moisture conditions, neither very damp or dry.
     
  9. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you about the propagation tip, I was afraid it was something like that. So is the limiting factor the dryness in that location? I do water there occasionally and a deer fern and other creeping woodland plants are growing slowly there.
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It will grow in full sun, but the leaves are always a rather unsightly sickly-looking yellowish green. It is much better looking in shade, when the leaves are deep green.
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Deer fern prefers cool moist conditions, thus its much greater prevalence in the much wetter mountains east of here (Seattle area) than in the lowlands. Precipitation in foothill towns can be triple that of locations along Puget Sound. Only wild Blechnum I can quickly recall growing close by is/was on the south side of a pond (thus facing north), near a low damp area that is also the only spot with a Sitka spruce on the site. Walking around the pond that spot has noticeably cooler air.
     
  12. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    I am east of Seattle in the foothills with cooler temperatures and more precipitation. That must be why the Deer fern grows native here. I also do water there occasionally. I will worry about the occasional low temperatures we have but do you think it would survive there? I know it would just be a guess but I would like an educated guess and I respect your opinion. I had a Mahonia bealei once but it didn't live through the winter. The "Charity' has survived 16 degrees F so far this winter.
     
  13. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Dee- we have 'Charity', 'Winter Sun', 'Arthur Menzies' and Mahonia bealeii all in the ground for several years. They have all gone to 8oF (and possibly lower) for brief periods, and routinely we have winter temperatures in the low 'teens. We also get the famous outflow NE winds from the Fraser valley, and none of the plants have experienced damage. There are also plants of 'Charity', 'Arthur Menzies', and Mahonia bealeii in full sun in the display gardens at Cloud Mountain Farm in Everson, just south of the Canadian border- those plants have gone to -4oF with NE wind for 2 winters now, and show no damage. The hybrid mahonias, I think, are hardier than they are ususally rated, but like many plants, the gardeners' luck of getting them established and happy before they experience very harsh conditions is important.
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    On the other hand, I've seen them get hammered down here--particularly M. x media 'Arthur Menzies', which burned right back in the 1990 winter at the Seattle arboretum. Those rating M. x media Zone 8 probably have it about right. The M. bealei/M. japonica group is hardier.
     
  15. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    I do seem to have the unfortunate knack of planting things just before a cold winter. I've learned to to keep them in a protected area during the winter and plant them out in the spring so they have more time to get established. One report was that 'Charity' survived -20 degrees C. I was reading more about it and I saw that Mahonia bealei is considered a variety of Mahonia japonica, is that correct? I also saw the the seeds are fertile but there would be variations in the offspring. My biggest question is do you think it would survive in deep shade if it got enough water? I realize it would not bloom as well. Thanks.
     
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    It seems what happened was it was decided at one point that at least some of the material being grown in UK as Mahonia bealei was actually a form of M. japonica, thus M. japonica Bealei Group. I don't know how this pertains to North American stock, if at all. I do know plants grown as M. bealei are about the least appealing of the lot, as G. Thomas put it "Not really worth growing when compared with M. japonica, except for use in a restricted area" (ORNAMENTAL SHRUBS, CLIMBERS AND BAMBOOS). He also said (same book) that M. x media 'Underway' was "the best and most compact plant, with flowers of soft primrose-yellow, held well aloft."
     
  17. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks, at least my current Mahonia x media 'Charity' has a know parentage even if my former plant didn't. And it has plenty of space so the height and width doesn't matter.
     

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