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Advice for growing healthy plants

Question:

 Do you have any advice for growing the Oregon grape holly or mahonia? Our Sunset garden guide says that it is a great plant and easy to grow, but the ones we have just seem to shrink, and the leaves get all discolored. Our creeping mahonia does somewhat better, but it still gets the muddy-looking leaves. This year it is finally getting flowers, so maybe we have a breakthrough. It will be great if it ever gets those purple berries. Thank you for your assistance, and I enjoy your newsletters.

Answer:

They are usually easy to grow. However they do need some sun and should get good supplemental water. Aside from that you may want to fertilize with a 6-12-12 fertilize. The higher potassium and nirate content will help build the root system. Once it has a good root system you can increase the rate of nitrogen for top growth.