Crimson Pygmy Barberry (Berberis thunbergii var atropurpurea ‘Nana’)

Crimson Pygmy Barberry

  • Dramatic Dark Red Foliage Color
  • Easy Care
  • Hardy
  • Widely Adaptable
  • Drought Tolerant Once Established Stays Small, Compact and Tidy
  • Great Barrier Plant

Crimson Pygmy Barberry (Berberis thunbergii Atropurpurea Nana’) is a lovely plant that brings immediate impact in your landscape. It features a truly useful compact size, and best of all—it works beautifully without fuss.

Highly ornamental, this deciduous ornamental shrub showcases outstanding crimson foliage that is overcast with a superb bronze sheen. Autumn adds a dash of brilliant orange for fall color. No wonder this plant won the Award of Garden Merit of the British Royal Horticultural Society!

Crimson Pygmy is resistant to disease, urban conditions, deer and insects and requires little pruning to maintain its tiny, full and arched shape.

This fabulous small accent shrub is a true little workhorse in the landscape. Besides the colorful foliage, the Crimson Pygmy Barberry offers a lot of interest with tiny yellow flowers for butterflies and a sprinkling of reddish-purple berries on the spiny stems for songbirds.

Crimson Pygmy Barberry is a naturally dwarf variety of Japanese Barberry. It stays small in stature and works in many garden applications throughout your yard.

Use it as a beautiful barrier in foundation plantings, a memorable border plant or in brightly colored mass plantings. It will easy enliven rock gardens all growing season long. Crimson Pygmy can also be used in containers to add a pop of color to your patio.

Savvy gardeners across the country love Crimson Pygmy Barberry. It’s adapted across a wide range and performs well in Zones 4-8. If you give it protection from the afternoon sun, it will thrive in Zone 9, too.

Even though the Crimson Pygmy Barberry is known to produce fewer seeds that other Barberry varieties, some states do have regulations against the Barberry genus. Count on Nature Hills to protect your community in restricted areas. We use Plant Sentry™ online software to stop shipments of regulated plant material.

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind, easy care small shrub that’s sure to draw attention with its pop of color, then Crimson Pygmy Barberry is your shrub.

How to Use Crimson Pygmy Barberry in the Landscape

Crimson Pygmy Japanese Barberry looks terrific along a foundation or walkway. It maintains a compact, rounded form and true color consistently from spring until frost.

Plant it at least three feet from a walkway. There are small thorns, which make it an incredible barrier plant. You’ll love the color, but potential intruders will think twice about getting too close.

Live on a corner lot? Include a low hedge of this plant to stop people from cutting across your lawn. Place it anywhere you want a friendly, colorful way to direct traffic through your landscape.

Gardens in deer country appreciate this plant’s resistance to deer. Many people plant this shrub as a barrier plant to discourage deer from rummaging through their garden beds.

The delectably deep foliage makes a perfect contrast plant to bright golds, yellows and deep green plants. For a romantic, complementary design, try it with other pinks and reds.

Crimson Pygmy Barberry can hold its own in a rugged, hardworking landscape with groundcover Juniper shrubs and Russian Sage. Add Ornamental Grass and groundcover Roses for a magnificent display all season long.

It’s known for its ability to do well in cities and its tolerance to urban pollution, so it’s a perfect plant for commercial property owners.

People love to use it as an edging foundation plant in front of larger evergreen shrubs. Or, use it as a colorful replacement for Boxwood to set off a garden bed filled with blooming summer annuals.

To create a low hedge, plant them two feet apart on center. You’ll measure from the center of the first plant, to the center of the next.

Crimson Pygmy is wonderfully impactful in a massed planting. Keep them 2 feet apart on center. Use a zig-zag planting pattern, so they’ll grow together faster.

This add a depth of color when it’s repeated throughout a mixed landscape border. In Zone 9, it is quite often seen in part shade gardens planted with Azaleas or other dark green shrubs. It looks terrific in a Japanese or Zen garden.

Crimson Pygmy Barberry is a must-have for your yard. It’s tiny enough to fit in just about anywhere and offers a lot of interest for its small stature and hardy nature.

Tips for Care

Even if you are busy, your Crimson Pygmy Barberry can thrive. This slow growing, natural dwarf shrub is very low maintenance.

Good drainage is important, but it will tolerate almost any soil type. It grows well in well-drained, medium moisture soil in full sun and thrives once established.

You can prune this pretty plant in late summer or early winter to help it keep its beautiful arching growth habit and lush little shape. It’s perfectly amenable to being shaped, if you want to treat it as a topiary or downsize it.

Snip any errant branches back into the mound to encourage bushy new growth. Wear gloves when you work with your Crimson Pygmy!

Crimson Pygmy prefers full sun but does well when given morning sun and afternoon shade in hotter climates. The more sun, the more purple-red the leaves become. In too much shade, you’ll see more green leaves.

Please baby it a bit as a new plant. Water it well when you unbox it, following our printed instructions in every box. For the first several weeks, get out there and poke your finger in the soil next to the plant every other day or so.

Is the soil starting to get dry? Drag the hose out and saturate the area. Is the ground under the surface still moist? Skip watering that day.

Once Crimson Pygmy gets its root system established in your native soil, it will only need infrequent watering. Plan to apply additional water during extended periods of drought.

In a normal year, Barberry isn’t a deer favorite, and it is listed as Deer Resistant. However, deer will eat anything if they are hungry enough. In deer country, use Deer Repellent Spray on every single new planting. Reapply according to the directions through the growing season.

The depth of color on the Crimson Pygmy is incredible. You can literally lose yourself for several minutes studying the beautiful leaves. Grab your camera when you head outside!

Fall in love with the beautiful little Crimson Pygmy Barberry. In return, it will give you many years of brilliant performance with very little care.

Crimson Pygmy Barberry (Berberis thunbergii var atropurpurea ‘Nana’) Details

Common name Crimson Pygmy Barberry
Botanical name Berberis thunbergii var atropurpurea 'Nana'
Hardiness zone 4-8
Growth rate moderate
Height 2-3 ft.
Width 2-3 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
Soil condition Adaptable, Well Drained