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Marvel Mahonia

Mahonia 'Marvel'

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Marvel Mahonia (Mahonia 'Marvel') at Shonnard's Nursery

Marvel Mahonia foliage

Marvel Mahonia foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Marvel Mahonia (Mahonia 'Marvel') at Shonnard's Nursery

Marvel Mahonia

Marvel Mahonia

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  6 feet

Spread:  4 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  6b

Other Names:  Oregon Grape

Brand:  Southern Living


A showy upright-mounded shrub with pinnate oval leaves that bronze in winter; showy yellow flowers in spring become clusters of wax-coated black berries in late summer; somewhat fussy, needs moist acid soils, some shade and protection from winter winds

Ornamental Features

Marvel Mahonia is primarily grown for its highly ornamental fruit. It features an abundance of magnificent black berries from mid summer to early fall. It has attractive bluish-green evergreen foliage which emerges burgundy in spring. The spiny pointy pinnately compound leaves are highly ornamental and remain bluish-green throughout the winter. It features showy racemes of fragrant yellow flowers rising above the foliage from mid spring to early summer.

Landscape Attributes

Marvel Mahonia is a dense multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other landscape plants with less refined foliage.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and can be pruned at anytime. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Suckering

Marvel Mahonia is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Marvel Mahonia will grow to be about 6 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 4 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for acidic soils, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the foliage in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid.

Marvel Mahonia makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a 'spiller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Massing  Garden  Container 
Flowers  Fruit  Foliage Color  Winter Value 
Ornamental Features