The Q&A Archives: Life In A Leafless Barberry

Question: Is it possible that a Barberry Shrub could still be alive after losing all of its leaves? I bought it last fall and it never got put into the ground. I assume it got all dried out and shed it's leaves. After taking a cutting off of what I assumed was dead,I discovered it to be somewhat pliable like there was still life in it. Is there a chance that it could be revived with some tender loving care? It is still in the pot that I purchased it in. Should I attempt to Plant it and should I give it some protection to aide in its plight?

Answer: Barberries are deciduous shrubs and do lose their leaves every winter. They leaf out fairly early in the spring, however, certainly well before the lilacs bloom, so it may or may not be dead. If the pot was left above ground, and it the plant went into the cold weather with dry soil, I would expect it to be dead. If however there is a layer of green inside the stem, it may still be alive and able to recover. If that's the case, plant it and keep the soil evenly moist but not soaking wet until the plant becomes established, or at least for the first year.

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