South of the Border Beauty

Flowering today is the deliciously fragrant Mahonia gracilis, a little-known species from the mountains of northern Mexico. Maturing at 8′ tall x 12′ wide, this evergreen species burst into full flower usually in late January/early February. The flowers buds have great resistance to cold snaps after they open, and the overpoweringly sweet fragrance is legendary. Virtually all of the mahonias in commerce in the Southeast US are from China, so this is quite different from those. In 30 years of growing these, we have never seen a single garden seedling. Hardiness is Zone 7b-9a, at least.

Mahonia gracilis in flower in February.
Close up of Mahonia gracilis flowers.

2 thoughts on “South of the Border Beauty”

  1. I also love Mahonia gracilis. Love the fragrance of the flowers if they survive through to maturity. The point about no seedlings is true in my garden, but interestingly my original Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ often has seedlings but my rabbit population considers them a dessert tidbit and they never make it past seedling stage.

  2. My favorite Mahonia species, thanks for posting. I ordered two from Cistus in 2019. Planted them out, then sadly deer promptly lopped the heads off both. Hoping someone offers them for sale again.

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