Over the winter the faintly scented lemon yellow flowers of the mahonia are held proudly above the evergreen spikey leaves. These flowers are long lasting and can even last from autumn right through to spring.
They can grow in a wide range of positions including full shade, so they are well suited to north facing walls and under trees. The aquifolium varieties are particularly suited to ground cover so those difficult positions can be brightened during the darker months of the year.
Mahonia ‘Charity’ is an excellent variety with attractive almost holly-like foliage. The long clusters of small lemon-like flowers are faintly scented.
The taller japonica varieties grow to around 1.5m (5ft) in ten years whilst the lower growing aquifolium only reach 1m (3ft).
Consider growing mahonia near other plants the love partial shade such as acers and viburnum.