Wintergreen Barberry: Small Lemon-Yellow Flowers Dangle In Clusters

Wintergreen Barberry: Small Lemon-Yellow Flowers Dangle In Clusters

Wintergreen BarberryBerberis julianae, or more commonly called wintergreen barberry is one of the very best hedge plants you can find. The foliage is leathery, dark-green, and hides the sharp thorny-stems that knit together to form an impenetrable barrier. This evergreen shrub is tough, drought tolerant and withstands poor soils. In the fall, the older interior leaves turn bright red, giving it a pleasing autumn color. In winter the remaining foliage deepens to tones of burgundy. In spring, small lemon-yellow flowers dangle in clusters throughout the plant.

This evergreen shrub reaches a height of 4 to 6 feet at maturity and width of 6 to 8 feet. It features alternate, simple, lustrous dark green leaves (2 to 4 inches long and 0.5 inches wide). Flowers are arranged 5 to a whorl and have spiny, serrated edges. During the fall the leaves can turn a pleasing wine red color.  Abundant yellow flowers first appear in April and extend into late May and have a faint buttery scent. Flowers give rise to 1/3 inch diameter oval bluish-black berries which are attractive to song birds during the winter.

How To Make Your Wintergreen Barberry Thrive

Evergreen barberry will maintain its compact form and flower best in full sun to light shade. It will tolerate open or dappled shade but will have fewer flowers and a more open habit. It prefers a well-drained soil and will tolerate sandy and clay sites. Once established it is drought tolerant. Wintergreen barberry will respond well to pruning and shearing and can create a very dense hedge over time. Pruning can be done in the winter and shearing can be done in early summer and fall. Although this is one of the hardiest of the evergreen barberries, it can still suffer significant leaf loss due to winter desiccation. The large thorns and spiny leaves can make this plant difficult to manage and maintain, and you should avoid using it where small children are present.

General Wintergreen Barberry Information

Diseases and Pests

None reported.


Propagation of the wintergreen barberry is easily done by cuttings in either summer or fall; cuttings will root easily, but must not be allowed to remain wet. You can also grow this plant from seed, time permitting.

Landscape Uses

This plant works well as a border plant or in hedges. You can use it in mass plantings or possibly as a specimen.

Quick Facts

  • Common Name: Wintergreen barberry
  • Habit: Evergreen
  • Plant Type: Rounded shrub, dense mound; may become open with age, can be shaped into a hedge
  • Plant Height: 8 to 10 feet at maturity
  • Plant Width: 7 feet at maturity
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 6 to 9
  • Flower: Small, yellow flowers in spring
  • Light Exposure: Full sun or light shade
  • Water Requirements: Summer water until established
  • Soil Types: Tolerates a wide range
  • Seasonal Interest: Bronzy red fall color and blue-black fruit, yellow spring flowers
  • Attracts: Bees, butterfly’s, birds
  • Resists: Deer

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  1. Pretty stuff!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Charlie! It has been good to get to know you this year!
    Montucky recently posted..Winter in the Coeur d’Alene’sMy Profile

  2. Sounds like a good barrier hedge! Best wishes to you for a very Happy New Year!
    debsgarden recently posted..The Best of the Rest 2013My Profile

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