Mahonia repens

creeping Oregon grape

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Creeping Oregon grape, Mahonia repens, is one of our Northwest native plants. This suckering shrub forms a tight groundcover with blue-green to deep-green spiny leaves and tight clusters of canary yellow flowers in late winter-to-early spring. The flowers can develop into dusty blue fruit, reminiscent of blueberries, but the fruit set can be inconsistent in the more northern and rainier locations of the Northwest. It is a durable and excellent choice when looking for a tough, low groundcover. It is adaptable to difficult growing situations like parking strips and parking-lot planting beds. It looks great as a creeping groundcover under deciduous shrubs and can also fill in nooks and crevices in rockeries. It works well as a contrasting, bolder-foliaged plant supplementing other low-growing groundcovers.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: spreading shrub

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 1 ft. 0 in. (0.30 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 1 ft. 0 in. (0.30 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 9

Flower Color: yellow

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to deep shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant once etsbalished

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: gold, silver, white, variegated

Great Color Partners: dark green, chartreuse, blue

Culture Notes
This low growing mahonia is tough. It will grow well in full sun to deep shade. In full sun the foliage will turn an attractive plum color. It prefers a moist to well-drained soil, but will tolerate sand 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. Little pruning is necessary other than the removal of dead or broken limbs.