Berberis as a Hedgeplant
(D = deciduous leaf losing and E = evergreen)
Several of the berberises are ideal for informal hedges, and provide bothin May and well-coloured foliage in autumn. The stems of most berberises are armed with sharp spines. Trim the evergreen species in April. The deciduous kinds are not, of course, as attractive in winter as the evergreens.
darwinii (E), 3 to 7 ft. Small, dark green, glossy leaves; the orange flowers marked with red appear in May, and in autumn the purplish berries are equally striking. Plant between October and April, 1-1/2 to 2 ft. apart.
B. stenophylla (E), 6 to 10 ft. Dark green, spiny leaves, glaucous on the undersides. Yellow-orange flowers in May and blue, grape-like berries later in the year. Plant 1-1/2 ft. apart between October and April. Trim as the flowers fade unless the effect of the berries is required. If the hedge grows too vigorously, cut it back severely in April.
B. thunbergii (D), 4 to 6 ft., can be relied upon to provide really good autumn colour, with its bright scarlet berries accompanied by flaming red foliage. The red and yellow flowers appear in May. Plant 1 to 1-1/2 ft. apart in winter and trim in February, but not during the first year after planting.
B. t. atropurpurea (D), 3 to 4 ft., a slightly smaller version of B. thunbergii, with purple foliage in autumn, which is even more brilliant than that of the type.