Bealei Leatherleaf Mahonia

When I design gardens in shady areas I depend more on the texture of plants than on flowers to create visual interest. The play of dappled light on a variety of leaf colors and textures is as dazzling as a bed full of flowers. One plant I look to for the shade garden is leatherleaf mahonia. I often used this plant in garden designs, planting a drift among an evergreen groundcover with a small contrasting leaf such as Asian jasmine or variegated winter creeper. It’s an effective combination especially with a group of twiggy trees in the background. Birch trees with their exfoliating light colored bark, is always a nice choice.

This shrub is a winter blooming, evergreen that produces a beautiful berry set in mid-spring. These slightly oval, blue berries covered in a frost-like dust are spectacular to me, but in winter it’s the fragrant yellow flowers and handsome foliage that catch your eye.

Leatherleaf Mahonia
Mahonia japonica
shrubs, evergreen, winter interest
Bloom Time
early winter
Sun/Partial Shade
Plant Height
6 to 8 feet