General gardening topics

Mahonia x media ‘charity’ planting and care guide

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The Mahonia media ‘charity’ is a larger variety when compared to most other types of Mahonia. This the media ‘charity’ variety reaches an ultimate height of around 400cm with an equal spread of around 400cm which is just over a very impressive 13 feet. The good news is it’s not fussy and will grow well in most soils as long as they are well-draining but it prefers full sun or semi-shade position in a sheltered or exposed position but its best planted so its not exposed to cold drying winds as they can suffer from wind burn.

The Mahonia media charity is grown for the same reason as most Mahonia shrubs, the attractive and rich green foliage and spiked yellow winter flowers which provides much-needed winter colour. The foliage is made up of long leaves that have between 5 and 20 leaflets depending on how mature the plant is.

Grown for there year-round attractive spiked foliage and yellow flowers

How to grow Mahonia media charity

As an evergreen shrub, you get leaves all year round with bright green from late Autumn through winter at which point they are accented on top by stalks of bright yellow flowers. The bright yellow flowers shoot out of the ends but if you are growing the plant in a container they might shoot out of the middle of the plant. Eventually, the yellow flowers give way to purple fruit.

Prefer full sun or semi-shade positions

This is one of the larger varieties that can reach up to 400 centimetres (13ft) in height so plant for the eventual size allowing it plenty of space to grow. They are very strong shrubs which means they’ll grow in just about any soil type. They do best if you give them full sun with semi shape but if you only have a shaded area in which to cultivate them, they will survive just fine. The plants in the shade, however, tend to be a bit leggy because they are searching for the light and we’ll reach out to find it.

Ideal for forming hedging and screening

It’s recommended that you use these particular varieties to create a screen if you want a screen around your garden or around the perimeter of your property. The tall, bushy nature fills in space very well. The leaves are also Sharp with spikes on them which helps to deter intruders and are a great alturnative to other prickly hedging plants such as berberis, pyracantha and hawthorn.

How to plant Mahonia media Charity

How to plant media ‘charity’ shrubs

Add bone meal when planting and water well

If you have a media charity plant it’s recommended that you dig a hole slightly larger than the rootball itself and mix in a little bone meal or fish blood and bone and soak the root ball in water for 30 minutes before you put the plant directly in the ground. The bone meal will help and promote new root growth to give it the best start possible.

Because of their size, it’s not recommended that you move the plant so be sure to find an area in your garden that is going to serve as the permanent home. If for some reason your Mahonia is not doing well, you can move it but you should only do it when the plant is in dormancy which is around the end of October at the beginning of February for most evergreen shrubs including mahonia’s.


Mahoney has are very strong and if left to their own devices they will do quite well. However, once it is planted, it will benefit from mulching during the winter especially if you live in an area of the UK with very severe frost such as further up north.


Mahonia doesn’t need regular pruning but you should prune your Mahonia to get rid of damaged or diseased branches, or you are simply trying to maintain its structure and shape early on you should also apply mulch around the roots for added protection.

Dealing with mildew and rust

How to prevent and treat mildew on plants
Powdery mildew which commonly effects shrubs

Mahonias are generally pest-free so you don’t have to worry about tests but they can suffer from fungal infections, namely rust and powdery mildew. If you notice these on the leaves of your plants, treat it with a fungicide immediately and remove badly affected leaves and burn them.

Similarly, a Mahonia is best if left unpruned but there are sometimes when you need to prune it because of disease branches. If you have an established plant that is looking a little bear at the bottom with longer branches reaching out, you can prune those branches to help encourage New Growth along the bottom. You can also prune branches to allow more light to hit the middle of the plant in the spring, in order to encourage new growth. Long branches that are bare can be pruned as well to encourage new growth.

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