The Admiration Japanese Barberry is a vibrantly-colored dwarf shrub, with bright, coral-red leaves that are edged with a margin of bright creamy-yellow. The color begins in spring, holds even through hot summer weather, and then turns scarlet in fall. Growing just 1 to 2 feet tall, this shrub is perfect to liven up the fronts of your beds, create colorful edgings, or make bright planters that last for years, not months. It doesn’t flower, so it can be grown everywhere, with no risk of escaping into the natural surroundings.
- Brilliant coral-red leaves with yellow margins
- Stays colored all spring and summer, then turns scarlet in fall
- Compact, dense shrub to 2 feet tall and wide
- Both cold and drought resistant
- Perfect for beds, edging and planters
Full sun is the best location for the Admiration Japanese Barberry. It thrives in hot conditions, and it loves well-drained soil, including sandy and rocky ground. Avoid wet soil and shade. Pests and diseases are virtually unknown, it is certified to not carry wheat rust, and deer normally never touch it. Urban conditions are tolerated with no problem, and this tough plant is ideal for low maintenance and easy-care gardening. An annual trimming is strictly optional, but it will give you super-neat low edging and perfect shapes.
Vibrant color is always welcome in our gardens and compared to growing flowers it has many advantages. The color is there all season, and if we plant easy-care shrubs, it is there for virtually no effort, reliably returning every year. Red is always popular and vibrant reds brighten our gardens in a way little else can. A contrast color to accent the foliage adds a whole extra dimension, and with the Admiration Japanese Barberry, you get exactly that, on a tough, drought-resistant and reliable plant that takes care of itself, why you get on with enjoying life.
Growing Admiration Japanese Barberry Shrubs
The Admiration Japanese Barberry is a small, deciduous shrub, growing between 1 and 2 feet tall and wide. It quickly forms a dense, upright mound of branches and leaves. With leaves that are larger than on other dwarf barberry, this plant has real ‘presence’. The foliage is remarkable, colored bright and glowing red from spring to late summer, in all climates, and turning even brighter scarlet in fall. What makes it super-special, though, is the bold creamy-yellow edging on every leaf, which really makes them pop, accents the red coloring, and give the plant a unique look that will indeed attract everyone’s admiration. This is not the typical dark, almost purple-red of most forms of barberry. No, these leaves are a brilliant coral-red, that will really ‘pop’ in your garden, and give you months of brilliant color. Unlike older types of barberry, this plant does not flower, so there are no seeds produced, and therefore zero risk of it spreading into the natural environment around you.
With its low height, the Admiration Japanese Barberry is ideal for creating splashes of color in the foreground of your shrub beds. Grow it as a single plant in smaller beds, in groups of 3 or more in big beds, or as an edging. Its bright color will really pop, and the plants around it will stand out clearly. For groups or edging, spacings of 12 to 18 inches will give solid cover or a continuous edge. Grow it too in a rock garden, among boulders, or on slopes – terraced or not. With its tough root system and drought resistance it will retain the soil, preventing erosion and surviving dry periods. With its smaller size and bright colors, this is also an excellent choice for planters and containers of mixed shrubs. You can create wonderful bright planters which don’t need replacing twice or more a year, as annual flowers do – yet it will be just as colorful.
Grow the Admiration Japanese Barberry in full sun for the best leaf color. It thrives in well-drained soils of all kinds, including both sands and clays. Once established it is drought resistant, and this tough plant will cope with most conditions, including urban gardens, pollution, and even deer. Pests and diseases are virtually unknown, and this plant has been certified as not transmitting wheat rust, so even in farming areas it is a good garden choice. The stems have small thorns on them, making this also a great barrier plant to keep four-legged pests out of areas of your garden. Do not plant in wet areas, as wet soil and shade are the only things this great little plant does not like. No trimming is required, but for edging, or where you want a very neat look, trim lightly in early spring, just before the new shoots appear, and again in mid-summer if you wish.
History and Origins Of Admiration Japanese Barberry Shrubs
The Admiration Japanese Barberry had to be specially bred to give it such outstanding characteristics. It is a form of the Japanese barberry, Berberis thunbergii, a plant introduced from Japan into America in 1875. Collectors sent to Japan by Boston’s Arnold Arboretum brought it back, and it was immediately popular. The original plants had green leaves, but in the early years of the 20th century forms with bright red leaves were discovered in France, and Europe has always been a center for developing new forms of this plant. Michal Andrusiv is a specialist breeder of barberry, working from his breeding station in Litomyšl, in the Czech Republic. He has given us several great new forms, and to create the variety he called ‘Admiration’ he began with a dwarf form of the red-leaf barberry, called ‘Atropurpurea Nana’. With pollen from that plant he fertilized the flowers of a variety called ‘Goldalita’, which is a dwarf plant with yellow leaves. Among the seedlings he found a unique plant – red with yellow edges – that became ‘Admiration’. In 2006 he was granted a US patent on his plant, and it is distributed under license by PlantHaven International Inc., who specialize in new varieties of shrubs and flowers grown for their foliage.