Admiration Japanese Barberry foliage

Admiration Japanese Barberry foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Admiration Japanese Barberry

Admiration Japanese Barberry

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 24 inches

Spread: 3 feet


Hardiness Zone: 4a


A very compact mound of showy bright red foliage edged in yellow, turning to fiery red in fall; very showy, great as a color contrast in the landscape; plant on slopes, in beds, as border

Ornamental Features

Admiration Japanese Barberry has attractive dark red foliage edged in yellow which emerges scarlet in spring. The small oval leaves are highly ornamental and turn an outstanding red in the fall. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Admiration Japanese Barberry is a dense multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a more or less rounded form. It lends an extremely fine and delicate texture to the landscape composition which should be used to full effect.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and can be pruned at anytime. Deer don’t particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spiny

Admiration Japanese Barberry is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover

Planting & Growing

Admiration Japanese Barberry will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn’t necessarily require facer plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

Berberis thunbergii Admiration

At a Glance

– Berberis thunbergii Admiration
– compact habit
– forms a dense mound
– bright orange new growth
– red foliage with a golden margin in Summer
– bright Autumn foliage colours
– hardy

Plant Information

Berberis thunbergii Admiration is an outstanding dwarf variety. Raised in Eastern Europe it forms a compact mound of foliage which is often spine toothed. Shiny shoots produce vibrant orange red in spring and autumn as the foliage matures it turns a rich red with a golden edge. Small yellow flowers are produced but these are not a major feature of the plant.

Berberis thunbrgii Admiration is a useful variety which is perfect in the front of a border or large patio container where its neat habit and bright colours can be used to good effect with other varieties. Thrives in most conditions though foliage colour is better with a bit of Sunshine in the day. Extremely Hardy. Use gloves to handle

Genus: Berberis
Variety: thunbergii Admiration
Category: Shrub
Height & Spread: 40cm x 60cm
Flower Colour: Yellow
Foliage: Deciduous
Soil Type: Most
Aspect: Full sun to light shade
Season of Interest: Spring, Summer & Autumn
Plant Breeders Rights: EU 19536 Plant Breeders Rights Apply. Propagation for resale is illegal without a license

Colours and sizes are approximate and are intended as a guideline and may vary according to local conditions

Price Size Available Qty £11.99 3L Coming Soon

Expert Advice on Growing Berberis thunbergii

Berberis hedge


Many garden centres sell Berberis thunbergii especially from April to May when they are in flower. They are also commonly sold online. Click the picture below for buying Berberis online at our recommended supplier.

See lower down this article for a few varieties which we can recommend from personal experience but almost all varieties grow well in the UK so choice comes down to personal preferences.

Berberis grow very easily from semi-ripe cuttings taken in mid August to mid-September.


Follow the steps below to ensure your Berberis is planted correctly:

  • Choose a position in full sun or partial shade – Berberis are very adaptable shrubs for shade and full sun. They can be planted in almost all soil conditions except extremely acidic or alkaline conditions.
  • This is a strong growing plant in good conditions. Different varieties of Berberis grow to very different sizes so check the plant label for planting distances.
  • It can be planted all year long if the soil is not frozen and you can water well when conditions are dry. Mid March to April and mid September to October are the best times to plant.
  • Dig a hole twice the width of the rootball. Sprinkle in a handful of blood, fish and bone and work into the ground.
  • Place the plant into the hole, filling in with soil so that it is at the same depth as was in the pot. Fill around the rootball and firm the soil down gently but firmly. Water well to settle the surrounding ground around the rootball.


When established a Berberis will look after itself. There is no need to feed them unless the ground is very low in nutrients. Neither is watering required except in severe drought.

They do appreciate a mulch of well-rotted organic matter applied in late spring. Anything from grass cuttings to well-rotted compost will do fine.

For younger plants up to two years old, water if conditions become dry. A twice yearly feed with blood, fish and bone in spring and autumn will help it to establish a good root system. Keep the area around the base of the plant free from weeds and grass. Clear leaves and other debris which falls around them. There are no common pests or diseases of this plant.


The varieties below are our own personal favourites.

Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea ‘Admiration’

Red-orange foliage with a yellow edge to each of the leaves. The foliage appears in early spring through too the first frosts and deepens throughout the year. It forms a very attractive and firm mound shape, often with small yellow flowers followed by purple-crimson berries in autumn.

This variety is almost maintenance free requiring only a five minute prune in spring top keep it in shape. It grows to a maximum height and spread of 50cm / 20ins making it ideal for small gardens or container growing. this variety online now from our recommended supplier.

Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea ‘Dart’s Red Lady’

Dart’s Red Lady has three distinct colour phase throughout each season. When the the leaves form in spring they are red-purple. As summer approaches they turn to deep green and finally to bright red from early autumn to early winter. They also produce tiny flowers in spring and berries in autumn. The variety reaches a maximum size of 1.5m but can be kept smaller with regular pruning.

Berberis thunbergii ‘Golden Torch’

The leaves are a beautiful shade of green for much of the time, with a pink flush to them autumn. The branches are upright and with an annual prune this shrub can fit into even small gardens. Eventual height if not pruned is 1.2m with a similar spread as the picture below shows.

Berberis thunbergii ‘Golden Torch’

The flowers are not very noticeable however red berries appear in autumn. It does well in both full sun and partial shade.

Berberis thunbergii ‘Lutin Rouge’

Only introduced in 2012, Lutin Rouge is our favourite small berberis. It was found in a garden in France by chance, the parents are unknown. Mature height is 50cm / 20in with a spread of about 60cm / 24in. The leaves first appear in early spring and last to late autumn, bright red, they bring a splash of colour far better than many flowering shrubs.

Lutin Rouge requires only an annual prune to keep it to shape. It is unusual amongst Berberis in that it doesn’t produce any flowers or berries but the foliage more than makes up for that.

this variety online now from your GardenFocused recommended supplier.


The main need of berberis in containers is to water them so that the compost is kept moist but not water-logged. Rainwater collected from a water butt is the best source of water for hebes in containers.

From April to September a feed once every two months with a small handful of blood, fish and bone worked into the surface of the compost. In winter place the plants where they out of the wind and have some frost protection – against the wall of a heated house will do fine or in an unheated greenhouse.


Below we list the key strengths and weaknesses of this shrub.

HARDY (to -15°C)
SHADE Partial, full sun
FLOWERING (very colourful foliage)
FLOWER TIME Foliage April to November

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