UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Berberis thunbergii 'Crimson Pigmy'

Pronunciation
BER-ber-is thun-BERG-ee-a
Common Name
Japanese Barberry
Plant Type
Shrub
Mature Size
2 ft x 3 ft
Water Requirements
Low: water every three weeks until the root ball is wet
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full to half sun
Flower Color
Yellow
Wildlife
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

This plant is a great way to get dramatic foliage color into the garden. When planted in full sun, the small leaves on this spiny, naturally graceful plant are a deep purplish red. The purple red leaf color contrasts nicely with the yellow flowers that appear in spring. If grown in semi-shade, the foliage takes on a greener cast. In the fall, the leaves turn a vivid red before falling. The small size makes this plant an easy addition to any garden.

In our original planting we used three pygmy barberries along the front bed. Unfortunately, only one plant survived, but it is doing well. Barberries are slow growing plants and in the Water Wise Garden they were slow to get established. More frequent watering would have benefited these plants.

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