Mon. Jun 27th, 2022

Berberis are deciduous evergreen shrubs that grow in subtropical and temperate regions. Commonly known as barberry they are found in North America, Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Most have vicious spines on shoots, colored leaves, require full sun and partial shade. The shrub is hardy, prefers clay soil, sandy or slightly dry soil. It needs partial shade, low maintenance and perfect for gardens. It can grow in a pot or container has very colorful foliage.

Facts about Berberis

The leaves of the Berberis thunbergii vary based on variety. The leaves are green in spring, red summer. Some have purple leaves that turn dark purple or red. The flowers emerge mid spring are yellow giving the plant a striking appearance.

The flowers are produced singly have six petals, six sepals. The fruit is a small berry 10mm long, red or dark blue when ripe. It is a perfect hedge plant and its origin is traced to eastern Asia, japan.

The dwarf variety grows 49cm high while regular ones attain 5ft and spread of 1.5m. They will not do well in alkaline or acidic soil. However the bush is tolerant of different soil types.

The soil should be moist, well drained and nutrient rich. The hardy bush are able to survive short draught conditions including low temperatures of -25C. To control the spread and encourage faster growth pruning is essential. They are rugged, pest and disease resistant.

Simple Fact about Berberis thunbergii

  • They have Colorful Leaves
  • Flowers are yellow
  • Average height 5ft and spread of 1.5m
  • They tolerant of different soil types
  • Avoid acidic or alkaline soil
  • They require full sun
  • They prefer moist well drained soil
  • Can survive short draught, low temperatures
  • Prune appropriately
  • Hardy and resistant to pests and diseases

Uses of Berberis

They are an important ingredient in Iranian food and contain vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc. The crop is edible but present a sharp acidic flavor and used for culinary purposes. Berberis are used to flavor poultry meat, they are dried, used in jams sweets, or soft drinks.

The garden shrubs or good ornamental plants. The dried fruit is used in traditional herbal medicine. Traditional herbal applications are for anti-inflammatory treatment, anti-fungal and anti-bacteria products.


  • Iranian cooking
  • Flavor poultry meat
  • Dried
  • Used in jams
  • Sweets
  • Soft drinks
  • Garden shrubs
  • Good ornamental plants
  • Traditional herbal medicine

Varieties of Berberis

There are different types of Berberis to consider. Recommended types are Berberis darwinii, Berberis red jewel, Berberis thunbergii-Golden Torch, Berberis thunbergii-Dart’s Red Lady.


  • Berberis darwinii
  • Berberis red jewel
  • Berberis thunbergii-Golden Torch
  • Berberis thunbergii-Dart’s Red Lady

How to Grow Berberis thunbergii

Berberis is a popular garden shrub with blue-black or red berries and yellow leaves. Commonly planted as hedges, pedestrian walkways or barriers. They are dense, bushy with vicious spines on shoots making them an effective barrier against predators and burglars.

It does not require special knowledge to grow Berberis in your garden. They are hardy can tolerate cold temperature and resistant to pests and diseases. The first step is to buy the Berberis from nurseries or garden centers. You can also purchase them from online growers.

The best period to row them is March to April. The bush grows well in partial shade or full sun areas. Select the spot and make sure the composition is devoid of alkaline or acidic soil.

Once you have the young plant dig hole twice the width of the rootball. Then add calcium rich powder into ground. Place the plant in soil, backfill to depth of the pot/container. Tamp the oil around the rootball to firm the soil and water immediately.

grow chokeberries

How to Grow Berberis in Container

Use a container with drainage holes and fill with potting medium. Use spring or semi-hardwood and Cut 7 inch of Berberis stem, remove bottom leaves or clip bellow node.

Add growth hormone to bottom portion and dip the stem into hormone powder. Pick the berberis cutting in small hole of the potted mix. Then move the pot out of direct sun.

Water to keep moist and control moisture evaporation. It takes three months to grow 3 inches. Once rooting is established move rooted cuttings outside. Provide direct sun or partial shade for the plant.

Planting Berberis in Container

  • Fill container with light textured growth medium
  • Container should have drainage holes
  • remove bottom leaves
  • add growth hormone to bottom portion
  • dip the stem into hormone powder
  • dig small hole of potted mix
  • avoid direct sun
  • Transplant outside 3 inches

How to Care for Berberis

Maintenance is very low because the shrub is hardy and can grow in difficult terrain. Mulch a

By Femi

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