How to Grow Berberis


Berberis, commonly called barberry, grows 2 to 6 feet tall, producing yellow-orange blossoms in the spring. This plant tolerates urban settings and works well in mass plantings or as hedges. It can grow through neglect, and some cultivars are invasive. Those who have a deer problem would benefit from planting this shrub as its tough thorns prove too much for the deer to tolerate. Knowledge of how to grow this shrub will give you a popular addition to your landscape.

Step 1

Propagate the shrub by taking a semi-hardwood cutting in late summer. Look for new growth and find a healthy branch with mature leaves. Use a knife and cut right through a leaf node--the raised area where a leaf attaches to a stem--at a 45-degree angle.

Step 2

Fill a small pot with 1/2 peat and 1/2 perlite. Strip the leaves off the bottom half of the cutting. Dip the bottom end of the cutting in rooting hormone and push the bottom 1/3 into the rooting medium.

Step 3

Water the potted cutting deeply, and place it in a cool area away from the sun. Monitor the cutting, keeping the potting medium moist but not soaked as it takes root. As the cutting grows larger, transplant it into larger pots.

Step 4

Plant the young berberis shrub outdoors as soon as the danger of frost passes. Choose an area with adequate drainage and full sun. The plant will withstand many types of soils as long as they are well-drained. Plant the berberis at the same height as it was in the pot.

Step 5

Water the berberis minimally, only keeping it lightly moist until it starts growing. After that point, rainwater will provide enough moisture for this plant unless a serious drought occurs. In that case, give the berberis a deep drink.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Small pot
  • Peat
  • Perlite
  • Rooting hormone
  • Water
  • Larger pots


  • UC Davis: Berberis
  • University of Connecticut: Berberis Thunbergii
  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings
Keywords: propagating Berberis, growing Berberis, Berberis care

About this Author

Sarah Morse recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature. She has been freelancing for three months and got her start writing for an environmental website.