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I would like a mahonia to brighten up my winter courtyard - do you think i will be able to grow one in a pot?

also, any recommendations for good types - particularly with good scent??

many thanks


Can't really help Chicky, I've got Mahonia Charity, huge now and not in a place where I could smell if it was perfumed. If I remember correctly it was fast growing, in the last 10 yrs it has reached about 9'. Looking lovely at the moment.

I might be wrong but I don't think it flowered for the first few years. I think Charity might become too big for a pot and if it doesn't flower until older maybe not of much benefit to you.


'Soft Caress' is the best for pots as it is soft,  all the others are all rigid and liable to cut you. My 'Charity' makes me bleed every year and that is in the ground so it will be worse in a pot.

I actually do not think that Mahonia has a pleasant smell - rather harsh honeyish scent.

mahonia charity, for me, is very pleasant.  

there are dwarf types, albeit a little spreading, but i think they are not really pot plants.  They can be drastically pruned back to keep smallish....I have rejuvenated Charity from a straggly poor flowering 12' to a handsome 7' bushy flowering plant in 3 years.  As a pot plant I think they have issues....prickly so not nice by the front door, they seem to over react to periods of drought or over watering and their leaf drop is not pleasant

for winter scent, for winter colour and for nice variegation I would grow daphne odoraureomarginata.  

good for a couple of years or so as it grows to 1.5 mts high and wide any soil and shade or part shade ours is in full sun one tough bush go to RHS mahonia good advise



Many thanks for all your replies. It will only need to survive in a pot for a bit, because there will soon be a bed of soil in said courtyard.  Think I will need one of the prickly ones to stop the deer having a munch.  Will check out the RHS site too.

I think  there are some new varieties of mahonia now chicky

will a marhonia thrive in a pot

gardenning granny

I'm sure it would be OK in a largish pot until you can get it into the ground.  I have two in my garden because for me they are the ultimate shrub for bird lovers.  They do grow tall, but I make a point of completely removing the oldest (tallest) stem every year, definitely a leather glove and long handled lopper job.  Right now the blue and great tits are enjoying the yellow petals (but never enough to ruin the floral display) and later on the blackbbirds will be bringing their young and teaching them how to select the best berries.

just to check - you are thinking of the Charity type one aren't you, and not the lower growing Oregon Grape.


I think it's best to read this thread - th einfo's all there  

I don't think they're suited to long term container planting, assuming it's the taller, Charity or Winter Sun type.


Seems like a long while ago since I started this post Carol!  In the intervening 3 years I have indeed got exposed soil in my courtyard - soon to be home to Mahonias Winter Sun and Buckland.  However, I have also been growing Mahonia Soft Caress in a pot for nearly 3 years now, and it is doing very well.  

so I think the answer to your question is that Yes, you can grow certain varieties of M in a pot, but only the small ones like soft caress (which, to my mind, looks more like a little palm tree than a traditional mahonia)

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