Oregon grape holly, berries and bright winter blooms

Oregon grape

Oregon grape is either of three gold winter-blooming hollies.

Oregon grape holly key facts

Species nameMahonia
Sub-sp.aquifolium, repens, nervosa
FamilyBerberidaceae (Barberry)
Type – flower & berry shrub

Soil – well draining, acidic
Exposure – full or part sun

Size: 4-6 feet (1½-2 m) – Bloom: late winter/early spring – Harvest: mid/late fall

Planting Oregon grape

Oregon grape, native of course to the West Coast of the United States, nonetheless grows very well in many settings, including coastal gardens.

Best habitat for Oregon grape – where to plant it

Planting oregon grapeOregon grape is a wonderful shrub to plant under or around taller conifer trees.

It loves the part shade that these trees share. It also prefers slightly acidic soil, not alkaline.

  • However, it will also do very well in full sun.
  • Full sun is where you’ll have the brightest blooms in winter.


Drainage is important, but that doesn’t mean it must constantly be dry.

  • If the soil in your area is constantly waterlogged, best plant Oregon grape atop a slight mound.
  • Conifers also love well-draining soil. Wherever conifers thrive, your Oregon grape is sure to be happy.

How to plant Oregon grape

You can plant Oregon grape directly in the ground in any season, provided it neither freezes nor is there any heat wave.

  • Best season is spring, for roots to settle in by fall. This ensures proper blooming even in the first year.
  • Planting in fall is also excellent. Depending on how well the Oregon grape succeeds in surviving transplant shock, it will either bloom in the first or second year.

Follow these guidelines on how to plant shrubs.

Oregon grape care

Oregon grape careThis winter-blooming shrub loves acidic soil.

In landscaping, this makes it a perfect companion for plants like azalea, rhododendron, and lower-growing heathers.

Heath plants

Consider pairing your Oregon grape with other heath plants. These share the same needs and you’ll be able to treat them all with the same love.

Images: Pixabay: Albert Dezetter, James DeMers, Phil Humor