Barberry Plant Guide – Types and Care with Growing and Caring

Barberry Plant Care

A plant with such a beautiful name, of course, cannot but be decorative. The excellent yellow-red bloom of barberry, which begins in spring, smoothly turns into a fiery purple color of the foliage in the autumn so that you can admire it for a long time. Bushes are often sheared, creating the most bizarre shapes. In addition to its aesthetic value, barberries are famous for its use in culinary recipes and its medicinal properties – it reduces blood pressure and helps treat ulcers, liver, rheumatism, and inflammatory processes of the kidneys and bladder, and most importantly – promotes active longevity.

Main Types

There are about 500 species and many varieties of Barberries in natural conditions, which can decorate any garden and become a component of the dish. Types differ in the height of the bushes, color, color of fruits and leaves, purpose. Shrubs can be dwarfs and giants, so it will not be challenging to choose the required variables for landscape design. Consider what species are most often found in the gardens of the adjoining territories.

Barberry Plant Care

Common Barberry

It is considered the main one among the “barberry variety.” An adult shrub reaches three meters in height, has elliptical leaves, beautiful yellow fragrant flowers, and numerous bright red berries. Common barberries are completely unpretentious in choosing a territory – it grows well both in the sun and in partial shade, easily tolerating frosts. Berries are precious in plants of this type, which are used in cooking – they prepare preparations for the winter, add to marinades, pilaf, fried vegetables. Gardeners have won the trust of such varieties as “Juliana” and “Aureomarginata.”

Barberry Thunberg

How to Grow and Care Barberry

The decorative qualities of this beautiful shrub give it first place among the species. In the wild, it grew on the slopes of the mountains of India and China and was named after the Swedish botanist Karl Thunberg, the first European naturalist.

Its height is relatively low, ranging from 0.5-1 m. It has horizontally extending branches and branching shoots, which turn purple with age. Flowers with double-colored petals look gorgeous – on the outside, they are red, and on the inside – yellow. At the beginning of autumn, red-coral fruits ripen, which decorate the autumn landscape before frost and serve as food for wintering birds.

The most popular varieties of Thunberg barberry are such as Golden Ring, Red Pilar, Orange Rocket. The smallest is “Bagatelle,” which does not grow higher than 40 cm. The variety is often used for making live borders.

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Ottawa Barberry

How to Grow and Care Barberry

This is a hybrid form that can be attributed to the most spectacular representatives of this culture. An adult bush reaches two meters in height and is visually similar to the Thunberg barberry but has dark pink-purple foliage that appears black in bright sunny color. Its leaves look magnificent in the autumn garden when they are filled with crimson color.

This species is entirely unpretentious in care; it endures wintering staunchly. The most popular varieties are Aurikoma, Superba, etc.

Proper Care of Barberry

Barberry Plant Care

A distinctive feature of barberry is its simplicity. If the shrub is planted correctly and fertilized, human intervention may not be needed at all. However, the plant’s location in unsuitable conditions can lead to a loss of decorativeness, and in some cases, death. Consider what conditions are most suitable for a given culture.


Barberry belongs to the category of light-loving plants. It grows well in open areas with good sunlight throughout the day. It can also exist in partial shade, but over time the decorativeness of the leaves is lost – an unusual yellow and red color can gradually transform into an ordinary green.

When planting barberries in groups, the distance between the bushes should be at least 1.5 m.


Most varieties of barberry are frost and heat-resistant. Almost everyone can withstand summer heat up to + 40C and winter frosts down to -25C.


Barberry tolerates drought well and can stay for a long time without watering or rain. Waterlogging has significant harm, as a result of which the root system rots. When choosing a site for planting, you should not choose places with heavy clay soil or locate in lowlands where stagnant rainwater will form.

Barberry Plant Care


Special attention to watering is required only at the stage of adaptation of transplanted specimens or young seedlings. At this stage, regular watering is needed with settled water warmed up by the sun’s rays since cold water will oppress the plant. Moisture is delivered to the root zone, and it mustn’t fall on the leaves. Adult barberry is watered as needed – during rainy periods, additional moisture is not needed, and in dry times, you can moisten the soil once a week.

Fertilizers and Feeding

It is necessary to feed and fertilize the soil where the barberry grows, starting from the second year after planting. Nitrogen fertilizers are applied in the spring. This can be bird droppings diluted with water, urea (20 g / 1 bucket), or slurry. The next time such feeding is carried out in a few years. Complex mixtures with trace elements are introduced on the eve of the opening of the buds, and with the arrival of autumn, potassium, and superphosphate compositions are poured under the bush.

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Diseases and Pests

Barberry Plant Care

Of the most dangerous diseases for barberry, fungal diseases often become, affecting the plant under unfavorable conditions. These include the following:

  • Powdery mildew – develops gradually; at first, it affects the foliage, and then the stems, manifesting itself as a whitish bloom;
  • Rust – the disease is characterized by brown spots and bumps on the leaves containing thousands of fungal spores. With a strong infection, the plant dies;
  • Spotting – determined by the presence of spots of various shapes, drying of young growth.
  • Wilting is also a serious ailment when a fungal infection enters through the roots, gradually affecting the entire plant, which is impossible to save.

Of the variety of pests that the culture is no less sympathetic to than its owners, the greatest harm is caused by the barberry aphid, which sucks out juices, and the larvae of the flower moth, devouring berries.

In the fight against ailments, complex preparations (Fitoverm, Biotin), colloidal sulfur, Bordeaux mixture, which are processed at least three times, have an effective effect.

How to Transplant Barberry

The best time for planting in spring when the soil has already warmed up has not yet dried out. When transplanting barberry, it is necessary to select a lighted area and dig a planting hole. Its size is determined by the age of the shrub, the size of the rhizome. For young two-year-old bushes, its depth and diameter are 25 cm, and for five-year-olds – up to half a meter.

The planting site must be filled with a fertile substrate containing compost (humus), sand, and earth in equal quantities, and you can fertilize it with superphosphate. If the soil is acidic peaty, you can add lime. It is also necessary to make drainage from pebbles or expanded clay. The bush is seated in a prepared hole, sprinkled and watered. The usual care follows this.

Reproduction at Home

You can grow barberries in one of several ways – by sowing or vegetative, which involves cuttings and propagation by layering and dividing an adult bush. There is no consensus among gardeners which of these methods is more reliable. To make a choice, you need to know the order and subtleties of each of them.

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Barberry Plant Care

Propagation of Barberry by Seeds

Barberry seeds can be purchased at the store or harvested on their own if you need to get an identical variety to what is already growing. It is necessary to collect ripe berries, extract seeds from them, rinse them with potassium permanganate, and dry. In an open bed, you can sow material in the autumn, slightly deepening the seeds.

With the onset of spring, the beds are weeded, at the same time removing densely growing clusters. It is preferable to leave a distance between the shoots of at least 3 cm. The seedlings will stay here for about two years, after which the grown bushes are identified with a permanent-growth area and transplanted. The first flowering will please only after a couple of years.

To sow seeds in spring, they must be pre-stratified by keeping them in the refrigerator for 3-5 months.

Propagation of Barberry by Cuttings

Barberry Plant Care

To grow barberry from cuttings, you need to create a greenhouse garden. A shallow container is taken, filled with soil containing fertile soil, humus, and peat (adding sand will not be superfluous). Cuttings cut in June and peeled from the lower leaves are dipped in a root-forming solution for several hours, then rinsed and seated in a previously watered soil.

The bed is covered with a glass or plastic cover. The cuttings must remain in the greenhouse for two weeks, during which time it must be ventilated daily. Then the cover must be removed. The grown sprouts with leaves are transplanted to the “training” garden, where they grow up to two years of age.

Propagation of Barberry by Layering

It is necessary to select the shoot in the lower sector of the shrub in the springtime, tilt it to the ground, and fix it in a previously prepared elongated hole, up to 20 cm deep. The barberry cut is sprinkled on top with soil, and only its top remains above the ground. Rooting will end by autumn – then the fresh seedlings will be ready for transplanting.

Reproduction of Barberry by Division

Barberry Plant Care

This method is used for small varieties that have reached 3-5 years of age. To divide the bush, it must be carefully dug up and then separated by pruning shears (in some cases, the use of a garden saw is required). It is necessary to work extremely carefully so as not to injure the rhizome severely. All the resulting sections must be pounded with crushed coal, which will prevent possible rotting.

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