Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) in the Barberries Database

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Japanese Barberry
Give a thumbs up Barberry

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on old wood
Flower Time: Spring
Uses: Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Stratify seeds: seeds require a cooling period prior to germination and are best planted in the Fall
Sow in situ
Can handle transplanting
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Pollinators: Various insects
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth

full-grown specimen

This plant is tagged in:

Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on Sep 21, 2011 4:24 PM

Valuable source of nectar and pollen for honey bees

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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Nov 24, 2011 10:13 AM

Easy to root from stem cuttings. Will often root where branches touch the ground and long branches can be bent over to the ground and weighted with a heavy object to root.

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Posted by Frillylily (springfield MO area - Zone 6a) on Apr 19, 2017 10:42 AM

I've had this shrub for 3 years now and it comes back well after the winter and stays shapely with no pruning and so far has behaved itself and stayed small. The pretty color holds all summer, no leaves in the winter, and it also has a fine white edging around ea leaf. I don't give it a lot of water either. It is planted facing south in front of my house, so far the back side facing the house has held up and not died off. It doesn't seem to grow reaching out toward the sun side.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Sep 12, 2018 11:07 AM

Because this shrub is so nasty to touch or work around from of all its many sharp thorns, I have never loved it in my whole horticultural career for decades. It has a beauty of pretty, fine-textured foliage and good orange or red fall color, but I would not miss seeing it in landscapes. This mother species with green foliage gets to be 5 to 8 feet high and 6 to 15 feet wide with a very dense, rounded habit, though when not old or if properly pruned it can have a nice informal habit. By itself it eventually becomes a horribly dense mass of stems and twigs. Many homeowners shear barberry into weird meatball or squarish forms. It bears lots of orange football-shaped fruit that some kinds of birds eat and spread the seed around, so that it becomes an invasive east Asian plant in and around woods. It makes a great shelter for deer ticks and other ticks in the wild. This mother species is not used or sold much in the trade, but there is a huge number of cultivars of dwarf or compact size or purple-red or yellow foliage used a lot in many landscapes in the US.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
What species is this? 36 (Binomial name please) by NightCrow Jun 17, 2018 2:51 PM 2
Help identifying this plant? by Kiarasp May 11, 2018 10:26 AM 2
Shrub. Need help identifying please by Hut123 Sep 26, 2017 9:42 PM 1
Can anyone ID this tree w/ berries, in Ohio? by cwhitt Sep 10, 2017 6:56 PM 22
What kind of bush is this? by w6gpm Jun 11, 2017 2:53 AM 15
Multiple plant ID by Newbie87 Jun 1, 2017 2:29 PM 2
Common barberry by Ashleymclean Jul 23, 2016 1:05 PM 2
What did you do in the Iris garden today? by Paul2032 Jan 23, 2020 4:09 PM 17,619
What did YOU do outside today? by crittergarden Aug 31, 2019 9:31 AM 7,179
And So It Begins... by StaticAsh Jul 27, 2016 12:28 AM 404

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