Berberis – Popular Shrubs for the Garden

Berberis darwinii


There are probably around a hundred varieties of these shrubs readily obtainable from nurseries in this country, so that the choice is apt to be somewhat bewildering. In the larger garden there may be room for twenty or thirty kinds but the smaller garden cannot normally accommodate more than a few.

Darwin’s Barberry, Berberis darwinii, is still one of the best. It is an evergreen, growing to 6 feet with small, holly-like leaves and clusters of orange-red flowers in May, followed by blue fruits covered with a plum-like bloom.

Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea, a deciduous kind, grows to about 5 feet and is very colourful when in leaf, for the foliage is reddish-purple. The flowers are pale yellow. There is a dwarf form Berberis nana and both these are useful for making hedges, the latter for small interior hedges.

Berberis X thunbergii Two good hybrids are Berberis X rubrostilla, about 4 feet high, deciduous, with very large coral fruits, and Berberis X stenophylla, an evergreen, up to 10 feet tall, and sometimes more than that wide. It is very free-flowering, its golden flowers appearing in late April followed by blue fruits, and makes a fine informal hedge where there is room.

These barberries are easy to grow, with no special soil requirements. Little pruning is needed, though the growth of the deciduous kinds can be thinned periodically.

14. October 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Herbaceous Plants, Plants & Trees | Tags: , | Comments Off on Berberis – Popular Shrubs for the Garden


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