Need advice on Mahonia aquifolium

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I planted one Mahonia aquifolium in my backyard in Northern Virginia (zone 7) about a year ago with the thought of planting more if this one did well. It looks very healthy, but even though it had some flowers when I planted it, I didn't notice any berries on it later on. What should I do to maximize berry production? Do I need to plant more Mahonia aquifolium nearby? I haven't seen any of these plants growing in yards or woods near my house.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

This plant is supposedly self-fertile, and does not occur as separate male and female plants. This species is native to the Pacific Northwest, but has naturalized in some New England locations. A link for info:

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Hi, I just noticed that the plant has only been there one year. I think there's hope that it will do better this year, having settled in.
I have another Mahonia, M bealei, which blooms and berries fine. As far as I know there are no others close by. It's not a very common plant around here.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks! I looked at the Missouri Botanical Garden site; this is what they say: "Single specimen shrubs fruit poorly. Grow more than one shrub together for best fruit production (single specimens with no other pollinator in the area fruit poorly if at all)." So there I have it. While looking there, I found a type of native mahonia I hadn't seen before: Mahonia trifoliolata - grows in zones 7-9 and is drought-resistant. Given our recent string of hot, dry summers, maybe I should try to find a few of those.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Good information! Glad you got your answer.

Fairfax, VA(Zone 7a)

Since Muddy1 is in Vienna: on Fox Mill road between Waples Mill and Vale someone's got a long line of what I'm pretty sure are Mahonia aquifolium. If you're heading north to Reston, it's on the right, just after a small private lake.

It's a good sign, both that M. aquifolium grows well in our area and that it's highly deer resistant, since rats on stilts abound.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the tip. I'm going to buy more Mahonia aquifolium, and also some Mahonia repens, as soon as Meadows Farms gets them in stock. My one lone plant turned a beautiful burgundy color this winter, and only a few leaves turned a little brown in spite of the fact that it had no shelter from the winter sun, wind and cold.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.