Plant details and applications

How tall does Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ get, and when does it bloom? This is a difficult question because the answer depends on the conditions under which a plant grows, the soil type and its geographical location. Is the plant growing in a sheltered spot or not? Is it in full sun or partial shade? Is it planted in sandy soil or clay? In the Netherlands or Spain? In a pot or on the patio? Here are some ways to use it.

In the garden

Except for trees that are visually dominant, a plant will have an average lifespan of eight years in a garden. Under the right conditions, ‘Soft Caress’ will reach a height of about 1.5 metres and a width of 1 metre after around eight to ten years.

It is important to give ‘Soft Caress’ a sheltered location, in other words, not unprotected from the full blasts of an easterly wind. In countries where hard winter frosts are the norm, the plant will definitely have to be protected with some frost-protection fleece, even if the plant is in a sheltered position. In countries with somewhat milder winters, the same rule could be applied if a hard freeze is expected but a sheltered spot in the garden beneath some trees or in a south-facing position will probably be enough. In southern European countries and in large parts of England, Ireland and Wales, the plant will generally have no problems with frost.

Depending on light and temperature factors in the summer, ‘Soft Caress’ will start flowering in August or as late as October. The plant produces lemon yellow flowers and bluish-black berries. The warmer the temperatures, the shorter the plant will be in flower, but the average flowering period lasts around two to three weeks.

The mahonia shrub can easily tolerate high temperatures. A sunny place in the garden is no problem. Although the colour of the leaves will fade slightly during the summer, it will return over the course of the year (see the tips about fertilising on the ‘Care’ page). The mahonia shrub will very easily tolerate a place in shade or partial shade. Its finely textured leaves make it a beautiful choice for planting in clusters.

What makes this mahonia shrub so special is that its leaves are free of spines (see the ‘Interesting Facts’ page). You can easily see this by scrolling your mouse over the pictures on the side of this page to enlarge the image. Because the plant is spineless, it can be planted anywhere in the garden!

In a pot

Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ is a perfect plant for the patio where its fern-like leaves will add an elegant touch. If the potting compost becomes somewhat dry between waterings, it can easily tolerate this because its leathery leaves will keep it from drying out quickly. Even so, it is still important to give it sufficient water during its initial growth period and flowering period.