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Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea (Purple Japanese Barberry)

Purple Japanese Barberry, Red Leaf Japanese Barberry, Thunberg's Barberry, Red Barberry

Berberis Thunbergii 'Atropurpurea', Purple Japanese Barberry, Red Leaf Japanese Barberry, Thunberg's Barberry, Red Barberry, Deciduous Shrubs, Foliage Shrub, Shrub with berries, Purple shrub, Red leaves, Fall color
Berberis Thunbergii 'Atropurpurea', Purple Japanese Barberry, Red Leaf Japanese Barberry, Thunberg's Barberry, Red Barberry, Deciduous Shrubs, Foliage Shrub, Shrub with berries, Purple shrub, Red leaves, Fall color

Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea (Purple Japanese Barberry) is always a spectacular addition to the landscape, bringing a strong color accent from spring to fall. This dense, arching, deciduous shrub features broadly oval, reddish-purple leaves, which turn into brilliant red or red-orange shades in the fall. Tiny, scented, pale yellow flowers appear in mid-late spring but are insignificant compared to the foliage. They are followed by an abundant crop of bright red berries in the fall, which are attractive to birds and often remain on the spiny stems after the leaves have fallen, extending the season of interest of this ornamental shrub through the winter.

  • Grows from 12 in. to 6 ft. high and across (30-180 cm), depending on varieties.
  • Performs best in full sun or part shade, in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils. Japanese Barberry is not fussy about soils, provided they are not soggy or wet. Good drainage is essential. Drought, pollution, deer, clay, or dry soil tolerant!
  • Fairly pest-free, easy to grow, and to care for. It may be subject to powdery mildews.
  • Japanese Barberry is adaptable and an excellent choice as a single specimen plant or massed in beds, borders, as an informal screen or hedge.
  • Propagate by semi-hardwood cuttings.
  • Ingestion may cause mild stomach upset.
  • Berberis thunbergii species is invasive in the United States. The invasive potential of the more than 40 cultivars of Japanese Barberry is not well known.
  • Discover beautiful U.S. native plant alternatives.

Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 8
Heat Zones 5 - 8
Climate Zones 2, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A3
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Berberidaceae
Genus Berberis
Common names Japanese Barberry
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 6'
(30cm - 180cm)
Spread 1' - 6'
(30cm - 180cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil, Clay Soil
Attracts Birds, Bees
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Berberis x stenophylla (Rosemary Barberry)
Berberis pinnata (California Barberry)
Berberis nevinii (Nevin’s Barberry)
Berberis verruculosa (Warty Barberry)
Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea ‘Rose Glow’ (Japanese Barberry)
Berberis thunbergii ‘Orange Rocket’ (Japanese Barberry)

Recommended Companion Plants

Heuchera ‘Caramel’ (Coral Bells)
Euphorbia polychroma (Cushion Spurge)
Digitalis purpurea (Common Foxglove)
Stipa gigantea (Golden Oats)
Phlomis russeliana (Jerusalem Sage)
Cotinus coggygria (Smokebush)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese Barberry)
Shrubs and Trees with Colorful Fruits and Berries in Winter
Native Plant Alternatives to Berberis thunbergii (Japanese Barberry)
Attractive Deciduous Shrubs and Trees with Red Fruits and Berries
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 8
Heat Zones 5 - 8
Climate Zones 2, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A3
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Berberidaceae
Genus Berberis
Common names Japanese Barberry
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 6'
(30cm - 180cm)
Spread 1' - 6'
(30cm - 180cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil, Clay Soil
Attracts Birds, Bees
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage
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Do I Need?
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