Barberry Bush



Tips for Choosing a Barberry Bush


Landscaping combines the beauty of not only flowering plants, but also decorative bushes such as the barberry bush that enhance the appearance and interest to the garden area.  Since there are definitive differences in the varieties of the bush, it is helpful to learn the characteristics of each to aid in choosing which is best for your landscape.


Shrubs and bushes are a joy to have in the landscape.  Many of the varieties commonly used are four season wonders; attractive foliage, flowering periods, and interesting bark decorating the space regardless of the weather.  This is why so many gardeners incorporate one or more types of shrub and/or bush when they are planning their gardening plots.


Bushes can impose quite a presence in a well planned landscape.  Many colors, shapes, sizes and varieties can be utilized to create a specific look or to complement an existing landscape.  Tall and spiring or short and mounded, they can become a mainstay upon which all other plants in the garden are based.  Requiring little maintenance other than perhaps shaping or pruning, bushes are often the most used landscape tool used when decorating the yard around the home.  A very commonly used bush for landscaping is the barberry bush.  Barberries are available as either deciduous or evergreen bushes; making them a highly diverse planting choice.


The deciduous varieties of the barberry have many sub varieties.  Most exhibit thorny branches designed to discourage wildlife from using the plant as food.  Depending on what look is needed in the landscape, short and mounded barberries like the Japanese Pygmy can be used or tall, columnar versions such as the Helmond Pillar with their striking purple foliage reaching up to 6 feet tall may be preferred.  Flowers are produced by all varieties; small and yellowish orange with little fragrance.  Deciduous barberry are great for displaying fall beauty, with leaves turning brilliant red, soft pink or golden as the weather turns cooler.  Some varieties produce tiny bright red or dark blue berries, which are used as a food source in some countries after drying them.


In contrast, the evergreen barberry displays their lovely coats throughout the year, with some changes.  Spring and summer will find the evergreens bearing foliage of green, which either remain to contrast the white snow or turning to red in the winter cold.  Evergreen barberry generally produces larger flowers than those of deciduous varieties of the bush, and also carry thorns.


When planning to include one of the varieties of barberry bush in your landscape, consider the space, what look you are trying to achieve and what the conditions of the location will be.  Some types of the plant tend to have a sprawling habit, while some grow tightly mounded.  The space you have allocated for the bush should be able to accommodate the habit of the particular variety chosen.  If year round interest is your goal, the evergreen may be the best choice; for the best autumn display, the deciduous varieties are best.


Most barberries enjoy full sun exposure, although some varieties will do well in partial shaded areas.  Soil conditions are not generally a consideration, since the barberry is not finicky.  They can endure any soil types, but they do need to have good drainage in the location chosen.


Regardless of the variety of barberry bush chosen for your landscape, you can expect that it will enhance the area with its colorful flowers, foliage and berries if produced.  With few pests and health issues, the barberry should be a mainstay in your landscape for many years to come with the proper care and conditions.