How to Propagate a Barberry Bush


The barberry bush consists of approximately 500 species of deciduous evergreen shrubs that are native to subtropical areas of Europe, Africa, Asia and North and South America. The bush produces yellow-gold colored flowers that turn into red berries later in the growing season. Barberry bushes are propagated through semi-hardwood stem cuttings taken in mid-July through the early fall season. The cuttings should be taken in early morning when the plant stem is hydrated and the temperatures are cooler.

Step 1

Disinfect pruning tools by washing them in solution of nine parts water and one part bleach. Let the tools dry prior to using. This will prevent the passing of disease to the barberry plant.

Step 2

Take 4- to 6-inch semi-hardwood cuttings from the barberry bush with a sharp knife or pruning clipper. A semi-hardwood cutting is a section of current year plant stem growth that is beginning to mature and turn firm.

Step 3

Remove the lower one-third of stem leaves and any buds growing on the cutting. This will decrease water loss and focus the stem energy on root growth.

Step 4

Pour a small amount of rooting hormone into a container and dip the cut end of the stem into it. Gently tap the end of the stem to remove excess hormone. Do not pour the rooting hormone back into the container as this could introduce disease to the container of hormone.

Step 5

Fill a rooting tray with a sterile rooting medium that has been moistened with water. Stick the cut end of the stem into the medium to a depth of one-half the length of the cutting. Space cuttings so the leaves of each stem are not touching.

Step 6

Water the cuttings and medium and cover the container with a clear plastic cover or place the tray in a clear plastic bag to cover. Mist the cuttings regularly during the rooting period to keep the soil moist and the humidity high. Monitor the moisture level to prevent the environment from becoming wet as this will cause stem rot.

Step 7

Pull on the stem cuttings starting four to six weeks after sticking to see if there is resistant from root growth. Transplant cuttings to individual containers filled with sterile potting soil once the roots reach a length of 1 inch. Continue to grow the cuttings in a protected environment for the first year.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Sharp knife
  • Pruning clipper
  • Rooting hormone
  • Rooting tray
  • Sterile rooting medium
  • Water mister
  • Clear plastic cover
  • 4-inch plastic growing containers
  • Sterile potting soil


  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings
  • Washington State University: Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs
  • University of Florida: Berberis julianae Winterberry Barberry
Keywords: propagate barberry bush, rooting barberry bush, barberry bush cuttings

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.