Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’

Oregan grape 'Soft Caress'

From £11.95

Most Mahonias are prickly – but as the name suggests, this one is a gentle thornless character. Beautifully divided but incredibly tough evergreen leaves give an unrivalled texture, and fingers of lemon yellow flowers in late summer into autumn add contrast and interest.

Origin: Species from China, cultivar of horticultural origin
Genus: Mahonia
Species / Cultivar: eurybracteata subsp. ganpinensis 'Soft Caress'
Common Name: Oregan grape 'Soft Caress'
Synonym: Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress'

Plant Biography

Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ is a relatively new introduction that every gardener should grow. The species from which this cultivar is bred is actually endemic to China. Most Mahonias are prickly – but as the name suggests, this one is a gentle thornless character. Beautifully divided but incredibly tough evergreen leaves give an unrivalled texture, and fingers of lemon yellow flowers in late summer into autumn add contrast and interest.

Mahonia 'Soft Caress'
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Medium
Expect to see moderate growth during growing season.
Water Requirement: Low
Will grow in a drier position and is unlikely to need regular watering once established.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Full Sun to Full Shade
Tolerates the complete range of light levels, a very accommodating plant!
Eventual Height: 1.2m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 1.2m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

This is a show-stopper for tricky dry shade sites, though moisture is needed to help establish. Mahonia are one of those shrubs that can happily thrive in a huge range of conditions, a thoroughly easy-going evergreen. ‘Soft Caress’ does not get as tall as some of its more well known relatives, but it is still worth allowing a good amount of width for the multi-stemmed shape to develop to its full architectural potential. Because of its tolerance of drier soils, you can always underplant with drought tolerant ground cover such as Heuchera or Hakonechloa.

Expert Tip

Mahonias produce racemes of dark blue berries, which can be turned into an excellent cordial or wine - a common use in North America, hence the common name of Oregan grape.