Mahonia × media ‘Charity’

hybrid mahonia

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

This statuesque, evergreen shrub is a stellar specimen for the winter garden. Mahonia x media 'Charity' has dramatic, frond-like leaves that grow in whorls along its coarsely branched stems. Great sprays of soft yellow flowers appear in winter, developing into grape-like clusters of wax-coated black berries by late summer and autumn. Its inflorescences are somewhat lax. Beautiful foliage and upright growth habit make this hybrid mahonia a strong focal point in the garden. Plant it with Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata', Stachyurus praecox, Helleborus x hybridus, Carex testacea and Cyclamen coum. 'Charity' originated as a hybrid between M. japonica and M. lomariifolia at Donard Nursery in N. Ireland. It usually blooms after 'Lionel Fortescue' and its flowers are not as frost-resistant as those of 'Lionel Fortescue'.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: vase-shaped shrub

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 0 ft. 0 in. (0.00 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 0 ft. 0 in. (0.00 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 to 9

Flower Color: yellow

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to dappled shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant once established

Wildlife Associations: birds

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: gold, silver, white, variegated

Great Color Partners: dark green, chartreuse, blue

Culture Notes
This hybrid mahonia is tough. It will grow well in full sun to dappled shade. It prefers a well-drained soil, but will tolerate sandy sites and clay. Once established it is drought tolerant, although plants in full sun can yellow if kept excessively dry. Occasional watering during dry weather will help plants in sun to maintain a rich green foliage color. Prune the tips in early spring, while the plant in young, to make a fuller bushier specimen. Older plants need little pruning other than the removal of dead, broken or poorly formed limbs.
Geek Notes
A chance seedling of Mahonia japonica and Mahonia lomariifolia from Donard Nursery in Northern Ireland. 'Charity' was the first to be named and propagated.