Mahonia 'Soft Caress' is a beautiful shrub with feathery soft foliage and highly fragrant yellow flowers late in the season.
Compact in size and tolerating shade as well as full sun, this non fussy plant is a fabulously easy and low-maintenance option for borders, shrubberies or planting under trees. Unlike most other mahonias, 'Soft Caress' has gentle, non-spiny ferny foliage that provides the same great architectural looks and year-round greenery, but without the sharpness, so it's a great choice for family gardens or planting close to pathways. From mid-summer through to late autumn, you can look forward to a grand display of golden-yellow flowers at the end of each branch, which not only are a fantastic source of nectar or bees, but they have a wonderful honey perfume which fills the air too. As an added extra, once the flowers have faded they give way to attractive blue-black berries. When the shrub is established it will have masses of flowering branches, so once you can spare them, snip a couple of stems and enjoy them in an indoor arrangement.
This hardy evergreen shrub is long-lasting and very rewarding, providing year-round ornamental appeal even in a tricky, shady spot.
Plant Type: Shrub
Hardiness: H4 Hardy. Minimum temperature -10 to -5.
Plant Height & Spread (at maturity): H 1.5m x W 1.5m (Mature age: 10 Years)
Foliage Colour: Green
Flower Colour: Yellow
Fragrant Flower: Yes
Aromatic Foliage: No
RHS Award of Garden Merit: No
RHS Perfect for Pollinators: Yes
Foliage Type: Evergreen
Soil Type: Chalky, Clay, Loam, Sandy, Acid, Alkaline
Soil Drainage: Moist but Well Drained, Well Drained
Light Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
Planting Style: Flower Beds & Borders, Urban Garden, Courtyard Garden, Wildlife Garden, Low Maintenance Garden, Dry Shade, Woodland Garden
Season of Interest: Summer, Autumn
Flowering (from - to): August - November
Mahonia 'Soft Caress' can tolerate full shade as well a full sun, but it prefers a bit of both. It's just as good for growing in a mixed sunny border as it is in a sheltered shrubbery, shady courtyard garden or under trees.
This variety is fairly non fussy when it comes to soil, although it particularly likes partially shaded moist but well-drained soil which is rich and crumbly, but it can cope with most soils aside from boggy.
This mahonia is more compact than some others, so it can be planted in a large container as well as in borders. If planting in a container, fill it with a robust soil-based compost or just plain garden soil rather than multipurpose which can be a bit too light.
After planting, water regularly until the roots have anchored in the soil. Water it frequently throughout the first summer season, after which it is pretty self sufficient. If planted in shade it will rarely require watering. If planted in containers, water it whenever the soil looks completely dry.
During the first season, it's a good idea to apply a general liquid feed occasionally to help it to establish. If planting in a container, feed this shrub regularly during summer every year.
Mahonia can be easily pruned to the correct size if space is limited. Pruning should take place after flowering (late spring) and is done using secateurs to snip up to 1/3 off each stem. When pruning, cut the stem just above a set of leaf buds or leaf-breaking point.