Tall Oregon Grape is as beautiful as it is versatile; offering dynamic year round appeal for the gardener while being extremely beneficial for wildlife. It’s a large evergreen shrub with pointy, holly-like leaves that emerge a bronzy coppery color, then mature to a deep, glossy green and eventually put on a show of reds, oranges and even purples in extreme conditions. In early spring, clusters of fragrant, sunny-yellow flowers beckon mason bees from their cocoons. Flowers ripen into dusty-blue berries adored by backyard birds.
- Plant type/canopy layer: evergreen, perennial large shrub
- Size at maturity: 5-15' tall, 2-8' wide
- Light requirements: full sun, part sun / part shade
- Moisture requirements: dry to moist soil (prefers well-drained)
- Bloom time: March - May
- Growth rate/ease: medium growth rate, easy to grow
- Wildlife support: attracts and provides nectar for adult butterflies, native bees and other insect pollinators, attracts and supports beneficial and other pest eating insects, attracts and supports hummingbirds, berries eaten by many species of backyard birds such as robins, towhees and waxwings, as well as mammals, larval host plant for native butterflies and moths including the brown elfin.
- Native habitat/range: common in open woods and shrublands up to 1500m across the Pacific Northwest, north to British Columbia and northeast to MT. Portland Plant List - yes.
- Special features & uses: erosion control, hedgerow, evergreen, foliage sometimes used by florists in arrangements, medicinally used in many ways including as a tea or tincture to support liver function, supports hummingbirds, wildlife favorite, small purplish-black fruits are edible, but quite tart/bitter and contain large seeds - best to sweeten first - can be made into jelly, especially in combination with salal berries, inner bark of the larger stems and roots can be used as yellow dye
Gardening with Tall Oregon Grape: This tall evergreen shrub is versatile when it comes to light and moisture, but it prefers partial shade and acidic, low-nutrient, well-drained soil - and manages the summer drought effortlessly. It can be either compact and dense in full sun, or more open in the shade. With more sun, it will also produce more flowers and berries for insects and wildlife. It is ideal for low-maintenance plantings such as woodland borders, hedgerows, and erosion control on slopes.
Photo Credits: Tara Lemezis