The barberry shrub is a good choice for your yard or garden. Gardeners enjoy planting barberry shrubs for many different reasons. Many of them are planted for their beautiful and fragrant flowers, others are chosen for their bright-colored fruits that appear later in the season. You will also find red leaved shrubs in this grouping. Barberries also make excellent hedge plants because barberry shrub pruning may only be needed once a year. This is convenient because some hedges require many clippings, especially during the summer growing season.
Just a special note: Some gardeners don’t like some of the varieties of barberry (vulgaris species) because they think they are too invasive for them. However, for general landscaping shrubs, the Japanese Barberry is widely admired and planted in yards and gardens all across the United States. The Japanese Barberry (Berbis thunbergii) is the most widely planted of the barberry family and follow the descriptions and information that appears in this article.
Barberry Shrub Varieties
There are from 450 to 500 varieties of barberry shrubs. They have some with red leaves,orange leaves, burgundy leaves, and a vast assortment of choices of fruit and berries as well.
Favorite Varieties: Red Barberry-Berberis x ottawensis 'Superba' Hybrid Variety, Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea 'Rosy Glow', Berberis thunbergii 'Green Carpet' (green), Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea 'Crimson Pygmy'(dwarf red), Berberis thunbergii 'Aurea' (yellow)
Barberry Shrub Care
Barberries are adaptable to many types of soils. Barberries will thrive in a wide range of soils from clay loam to sandy loam. Barberries prefer full sun, but they are able to tolerate some light shade. Their blooms will have more brilliant autumn color if they do receive mostly full sun. Barberry shrubs are also very easy to transplant.
Barberry shrubs are best planted according to their type. For instance, the evergreen barberries are best planted in the spring time, while the leaf-losing types ( non-evergreen varieties), can be planted in either the fall or spring. These shrubs will grow into a well shaped bush naturally without any pruning necessary. If you need to cut them back, for whatever reason, you should do this after they have flowered.
Propagation of Barberry Shrubs
All barberries may be increased by taking cuttings. To do this, take short shoots about 3 to 4 inches are so long, and place them in a bed of sand or a mixture of sand and peat moss. It would be help them along faster if you put them into a coldframe. If you live in a warmer climate that doesn’t have harsh winter temps, then may not be necessary. This process is usually done in the months of July and August. Cuttings will root in about 6 months, depending on the weather conditions that are in. They may then be transplanted.
It is also possible to collect seeds after they have ripened, usually in the early spring. Put them into flats and into a coldframe. Afterwards, you may also use your potting bench to pot up single plants into a mixture of two parts garden loam, one part leaf mold, and one part sand. When they have grown tall enough to handle safely, then they may be transplanted into your flower bed.
What about the berries?
The evergreen barberries, which retain their leaves through the winter, are great looking plants. There are many varieties available, including some of Chinese origins which do very well. My favorite variety has always been, B. Wilsonae. It is a red-fruited barberry which has a dense shrub about 3 ft. High with very spiny branches. Its small leaves fall in winter and its main attraction is the coral red fruit it bears in autumn. The berries are bundled rather than clustered, and are preceded by yellow flowers. The berries of some varieties are edible and contain vitamin C, but have a very sharp flavor. These berries are also a favorite of birds. Find information on other shrubs with berries and fruit for fall arrangements.
- Barberries have medicinal value as they are used in some types of medicines.
- Did you know that some ripe barberry fruit can actually be made into jelly or wine?
Yes, the Oregon grape is one of several species of barberry that grows in the Pacific northwest of the Us. These berries of this variety(Berberis aquifolium),can be made into pies, jellies, jams, and beverages. When the berries are fermented they can be made into barberry wine. The fruits when dried like raisins, are used by Middle Eastern countries in rice dishes and desserts.