How to Plant Berberis


Berberis is the name of a genus of shrubs. The species range from deciduous to evergreen. Many of the varieties feature yellow flowers and thorns. This makes these plants, which are also commonly called "barberry" shrubs, valuable for use as a barrier hedge in a home landscape. Berberis plants are also frequently used as ornamental shrubs due to their compact size, bright berries and attractive foliage. These things, combined with their ease of care, make berberis bushes an excellent choice for any home gardener.

Step 1

Wait until fall. This is the best time to plant shrubs, according to experts at Clemson University, as it allows the roots to become established before new growth begins in the spring.

Step 2

Choose a location that is not prone to flooding or standing water. Berberis plants can adapt to all types of soils, including poor soils, but they grow best in ground that is well-draining.

Step 3

Select a planting site that gets either a full or half day's worth of sunlight. Berberis plants do not grow well in full shade, according to Ohio State University.

Step 4

Spread a 2-inch layer of organic pine mulch over the planting site, and work it into the soil 8 inches deep. You can also use compost from your own garden.

Step 5

Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball is tall, but at least 2 times, and up to 5 times, wider than the diameter of the root ball. Place the shrub in the hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the surface of the soil.

Step 6

Backfill the hole with the previously removed soil up to about halfway, then tamp it down gently. Fill the hole with the rest of the dirt, and tamp it down again. Use more soil to create a wall around the plant approximately 3 inches tall. The wall should be under the edge of the shrub's canopy (the diameter of the watering basin should equal the width of the bush).

Step 7

Fill the basin created by the dirt wall with water, and let it slowly seep into the ground. Use this basin to water the plant daily until the wall dissolves.

Step 8

Lay down a 2- or 3-inch layer of organic mulch around the plant that extends to the edges of the shrub's canopy, but do not let the mulch touch the trunk of the shrub. This may cause the shrub to develop stem rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Organic pine mulch
  • Watering tool


  • Clemson University: Planting Shrubs Correctly
  • Ohio State University: Berberis Thunbergii
  • Univesity of Connecticut: Berberis Thunbergii
Keywords: Berberis species shrubs, how plant berberis, barberry bush care

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. She has worked as an educator and now writes academic research content for EBSCO Publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.