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Creeping Mahonia

Mahonia repens

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Creeping Mahonia (Mahonia repens) at Cashman Nursery

Creeping Mahonia flowers

Creeping Mahonia flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Creeping Mahonia (Mahonia repens) at Cashman Nursery

Creeping Mahonia

Creeping Mahonia

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  18 inches

Spread:  24 inches

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  4a

Other Names:  Creeping Grape Holly


A curious evergreen groundcover shrub that spreads by underground runners to fill in an area; clusters of yellow flowers, spiny compound leaves resemble holly and turn purple in fall and through winter; best planted where it will receive some snow cover

Ornamental Features

Creeping Mahonia features showy racemes of fragrant yellow flowers hanging below the branches in mid spring. It has bluish-green evergreen foliage. The spiny pinnately compound leaves turn an outstanding purple in the fall, which persists throughout the winter. It produces black berries from late summer to early fall.

Landscape Attributes

Creeping Mahonia is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and can be pruned at anytime. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Suckering

Creeping Mahonia is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens

Planting & Growing

Creeping Mahonia will grow to be about 18 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 24 inches. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years.

This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is native to parts of North America.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Massing  Garden  Groundcover  Naturalizing 
Flowers  Fruit  Fall Color  Winter Value 
Ornamental Features