- Shrubs grow slowly and requiring little pruning.
- Offers fragrant flowers in late winter.
- Blue grape-like clusters of fruit in mid to late spring.
- The blue berries are a bird favorite.
Leatherleaf Mahonia is originally from China but has been available to Western gardeners for generations. It’s a medium sized bush that reminds you of holly but with compound leaves borne on upright stems. A coarse textured flowering shrub, it does best in a somewhat shaded location. Mature height for leatherleaf is in the range of 8 to 12 feet. Leatherleaf Mahonia is not picky about soil type, rarely suffers from insect pests, and is said to be hardy in zones 6 through 9.
It’s a very stiff prickly bush. That may make it a good choice for a barrier or security planting, as a tough, natural deterrent to passersby or lingerers. Site it carefully. At the least, you’ll want to allow ample distance between your leatherleaf and your sidewalks or deck. It can be maintained easily to a five or six foot width. This bush is NOT to be brushed up against.