There are many different common names that are associated with this plant so specify that you want B. aquifolium to help avoid confusion. Even though the common names suggest a connection with the fruit, this is not a true grape (Vitis) or in the Vitaceae family.
The Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium) is a broadleaf evergreen shrub that grows well in shadier spots. It originated in western North America and is the state flower of Oregon. It will provide color throughout all four seasons with its green and burgundy foliage, yellow flowers, and purplish-blue fruit.
Temperature and Humidity
The soil needs to be moist with good drainage for optimal growth. It needs to be acidic or at least neutral, as alkaline soils can be problematic.
Water the soil around your Oregon grape weekly, to keep the soil moist.
Oregon Grape Care
This shrub is best suited for USDA Zones 5-9. It is native to western North America. Partial shade is ideal for this species. It can also be grown in full shade or full sun, though too much light can cause foliage scorching. Try to find a planting location that offers some shelter from the wind. Since these are evergreen and do not drop in the fall, the leaves may dry out in the winter if the shrub is hit by wind often.
Photo Credit 3: “Oregon grape Berberis nervosa” by brewbooks is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo Credit 2: Tracy Cozine
Photo Credit 1: “Cascade Oregon-grape” by Mount Rainier NPS is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Photo Credit 4: “File:Mahonia nervosa.jpg” by Meggar is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Gardening with Cascade Oregon Grape: Its small stature and growing ease make Cascade Oregon Grape an ideal choice for woodland gardens. It prefers shade to part shade and moist, well-drained soils – but can tolerate summer drought and the dry shade under mature trees in cooler areas, once established. Consider it in the understory of vine maple and osoberry, interplanted with ferns, salal and oxalis. Also considered deer resistant.
Like its cousins, Cascade Oregon Grape has a place in any Pacific Northwest woodland garden. Growing only two feet tall, it’s pale-yellow flower clusters erupt from the center of the plant each spring, above whorling stems of spiky compound leaves. Deep blue berries ripen in late summer to fall providing food for birds and other wildlife.
Photo Credit 5: “Thicket of Mahonia nervosa (low Oregon grape)” by Holy Outlaw is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
Our own sustainably wild-harvested Low Oregon Grape (Mahonia nervosa) seeds for organic growing.
Mahonia nervosa (synonym Berberis nervosa)
Small evergreen shrub to 3ft tall and 2ft wide. Under the right conditions plants slowly form extensive patches or communities spreading by underground rhizomes.