Berberis Darwinii Barberry Shrub

Barberry Shrub at Johnson Brothers Greenhouses

Barberry Shrub

The barberry shrub is an excellent choice if you are looking to create a low maintenance, yet very attractive landscape.  Working smarter and not harder is the end result of picking care free shrubs.  Their foliage is interesting and their colors cover a wide spectrum.

We all would love to have more free time enjoying our garden rather than tending to chores, right?  Well, the answer is to complementing low maintenance shrubs with care free annuals and perennials.
At the end of the page, we offer some companion ideas to get you started. It is not a comprehensive list, but it will get your creative juices flowing.

Reasons to Plant

Berberis Pow Wow Barberry Shrub

Berberis Pow Wow at Johnson Brothers Greenhouses

There are a lot of great reasons to plant the Barberry shrub. It makes both a great companion shrub as well as being attractive enough to be the star of the show.

Here are some good reasons to use the Barberry in your garden this season:

  • The Barberry is very adaptable. They are hardy to zone 4, can take sun or shade, wet or dry, and they are practically indestructible.
  • Deer and rabbit do not eat barberry.
  • Planted en masse, the thorny barbs create a tough barrier, or “natural fence”.
  • Easy to grow and can be kept at most any size & shape through occasional trimming.

Using Barberry in the Garden Landscape

The Barberry shrub combines well with other deer resistant shrubs and plants since their thorny stems are formidable enough to keep most pests and animals away.

Some other great uses for the Barberry shrub are:

  • Can be used in a fragrant garden since their flowers have a nice fragrant scent.
  • Provide fours season, year-round interest: Spring flowers, summer foliage, fall berries and an attractive winter silhouette.

Companion planting

Using the Barberry shrub as a mid to front level shrub will create a nice backdrop for other plants.  When planning your garden, remember to use contrasting colors in your garden design.
There are two varieties of Barberries, one reddish and the other yellow.  Both colors combine nicely with a huge assortment of other colors, making them a great choice for a variety of garden color themes.

Here are great companion planting ideas for the Barberry:

  • The Canna is a great choice with its orchid-like summer flowers in red, orange or yellow. The leaves of the Canna are broad and lance-like like and come in a variety of colors.
  • The Mealy-cup sage with its oval leaves topped with violet-purple, flowers in summer.
  • Lambs Ears have woolly, silver leaves and spikes of tiny, purple flowers which bloom in summer. Try combining different varieties of Lambs Ears (both small and big) for a nice effect.
  • Sweet Alyssum produces sweet-smelling flowers in pink, purple, cream and white. This is an easy annual to grow and you’ll find that it often reseeds.
  • African Fountain Grass is a graceful, clump-forming ornamental grass with bottlebrush-like seed heads.
  • Boxwood shrubs are a great shrub to complement the Barberry. This evergreen shrub has small, dark, glossy green leaves that contrasts nicely with the Barberry’s thorny, red leaves.
  • Geraniums come in a variety of colors, such as red, pink or white flowers. Again, their rounded, bright leaves are a nice contrast to the Barberry’s.

So, this year try to design a garden that looks great but needs little or no maintenance. Make sure to include the Barberry in your garden plans and use other care-free plants for stunning color; attractive foliage, and lazy summer afternoons.