Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

The Plant Guide

Browse the Full Plant Guide

Japanese barberry

Berberis thunbergii

BER-ber-iss thun-BER-jee-eye

Grown for its neat habit, yellow flowers, and red fruit, this shrub spreads prolifically by seed and is considered invasive in some areas, including the Northeast. Alternatives include bayberry ( Myrica pensylvanica ) and winterberry ( Ilex verticillata ). The many cultivars include ‘Atropurpurea Nana’ (red-purple foliage); ‘Aurea’ (bright yellow young foliage); ‘Pink Queen’ (variegated); and ‘Silver Beauty’ (leaves mottled creamy white).

Noteworthy CharacteristicsInvasive. Attractive foliage.

CareAdaptable to most any soil in full sun to part shade.

PropagationSpreads prolifically by seed.

ProblemsScale insects, mites, Japanese weevils. Canker, dieback, fungal leaf spots, powdery mildew, root rot, Verticillium wilt, rust diseases.

  • Genus : Berberis
  • Plant Height : 3 to 6 feet
  • Plant Width : 3 to 6 feet
  • Zones : 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Growth Rate : Fast, Moderate
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Maintenance : Moderate
  • Foliage Color : Purple/Burgundy
  • Characteristics : Showy Foliage
  • Plant Type : Shrubs
  • Bloom Time : Spring
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
  • Flower Color : Yellow

Related Plants

Related Articles

More From the Plant Guide

Winter Interest

Partial Shade

Browse the Full Plant Guide

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, become a member today.

Get complete site access to decades of expert advice, regional content, and more, plus the print magazine.

Start your FREE trial