How to Propagate Barberry


Almost 500 species of barberry exist, belonging to the genus Barberis. They can be either deciduous or evergreen, and generally have very thorny branches. Barberry shrubs can grow to 9 feet in height and bloom in late spring or early summer. When the flower fades, the red berries arrive as does fall. Some barberries are used for medicinal purposes, others for privacy hedging and garden ornamentals. Wintergreen barberry makes an excellent, dense privacy hedge. Take your cuttings from mid-July to mid September, early in the morning. Barberry is hardy to USDA zones 5a to 9b, depending upon species.

Step 1

Cut a 4- to 6-inch cutting from the barberry bush. You need to take semi-hardwood, which means growth from the current year, just as the branch or twig is starting to go from green to woody. It should have full-sized leaves. Mist the cutting and place it in a plastic bag until you are ready to plant it.

Step 2

Fill the planting pot with equal parts of sand and perlite. Water the medium until the water drains from the bottom of the pot, then repeat the procedure. Make sure the soil is completely drained prior to planting the cutting.

Step 3

Remove all but the top two or three leaves from the cutting. Dip the cut end of the cutting into the rooting hormone and tap it against the side of the jar to remove the excess.

Step 4

Stick the cutting into the soil until at least three leaf nodes are buried. This is the area where the leaves joined the stem. Sometimes you need to bury almost the entire cutting to achieve this.

Step 5

Mist the cutting and place it in the plastic bag, tied loosely. Place in an area that receives light, but not direct sun.

Step 6

Check the soil daily to make sure that it remains moist. When the barberry cutting begins new growth you will know that it has rooted. Allow it to remain in the pot until spring, when you can plant it in its permanent location.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Planting pot, at least 5 inches with holes in the bottom for drainage
  • Sand
  • Perlite
  • Rooting hormone
  • Plastic bag
  • Plant misting bottle


  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings: Instructions for the Home Gardener
  • "Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines: A Guide to Using, Growing, and Propagating North American Woody Plan;" William Cullina; 2002
  • University of Florida: Berberis julianae Winterberry Barberry
Keywords: propagate barberry, semi-hardwood cuttings, shrubs for privacy hedges

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.