Creeping Oregon Grape

Creeping Oregon Grape, Mahonia repens, is one of our most versatile and useful native plants for landscaping. Its evergreen leaves settle into deep reddish-purple in winter, and when spring comes it erupts with a flush of cheerful yellow flowers.
Mahonia repens is a quite common in the upper foothills. There it grows mostly in the forest, tolerating deep shade–but the plants are small and don’t flower a lot. Oddly, this native develops into a much larger, showier specimen down here in the valley, happy in sun or shade.
Because of its compact proportions (2′ x 2′ or so) Mahonia repens has many uses in a landscape. You may be familiar with a much larger Oregon Grape, Mahonia aquafolium, which is fairly common in yards and along the greenbelt. The big one can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. Both Mahonias are admirably drought tolerant.
As winter approaches, my admiration for tough, evergreen plants skyrockets!

November 26, 2022