Simply Trees

Crimson Pygmy Barberry

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Twice a monthFull sunDeer resistant
  • Compact Size: Crimson Pygmy Barberry is ideal for small spaces, rock gardens, and containers due to its compact, mounded growth habit, making it easy to incorporate into various landscape designs.
  • Seasonal Color: This barberry variety boasts bright green leaves in the spring and summer that turn a striking red in the fall, providing year-round visual interest.
  • Thorny Stems: The thorny stems of Crimson Pygmy Barberry add a layer of security to garden borders and make it less appealing to browsing animals.

More Details

Crimson Pygmy Barberry, scientifically known as Berberis thunbergii, is a compact, deciduous shrub that brings vibrant color and texture to gardens and landscapes. Known for its dense, mounded form and bright red foliage in the fall, this low-maintenance plant is perfect for borders, rock gardens, and container plantings. Its small size and ornamental appeal make it a versatile choice for adding visual interest to various garden settings.

Growth rate: Slow to moderate growth rate; mature height of 1-2 feet and width of 1-2 feet.

Please note: Images on our website depict plants and trees at full maturity to showcase their expected grown characteristics. These images are illustrative examples only and do not represent the size of plants or trees upon delivery.

Pruning: Prune in late winter or early spring to maintain shape and remove any dead or damaged branches. Minimal pruning is usually needed due to its naturally compact form.

Fertilization: Fertilize in early spring with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to support healthy growth and vibrant foliage.

Winter Protection: Generally hardy, Crimson Pygmy Barberry requires minimal winter protection. Mulching around the base can help insulate the roots in extremely cold regions.

Plant in well-drained soil, enriched with organic matter. Dig a hole twice as wide and as deep as the root ball. Place the shrub in the hole, backfill with soil, and water thoroughly. Space plants 1-2 feet apart to allow for proper air circulation and growth.

Water regularly during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Once established, it is drought-tolerant. Crimson Pygmy Barberry thrives in full sun to partial shade, preferring at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily for the best foliage color.

We process and ship your order as quickly as possible, typically within 1-3 business days. You will receive a shipping confirmation with tracking information once your item(s) ship.

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!

In cases of extreme cold or hot weather, we may temporarily delay shipping to ensure the well-being of your plants. Our primary focus is on delivering healthy and thriving plants to you. Rest assured, we'll make every effort to notify you of any delays promptly.

Please allow additional ship times during inclement weather and sale periods. We do not process or ship orders on the weekend or U.S. Holidays. Simply Trees is not responsible for delays due to carriers, local disruptions, or weather.

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At Simply Trees, we're committed to your satisfaction. If your plants arrive considerably damaged or sustained damage beyond the point of recovery, please contact us within five days at with clear photos for assistance. Our 30-day guarantee covers issues after planting, subject to our terms and conditions. We can't cover plants in the wrong climate or with inadequate care, but we're here to help in other situations. For a detailed understanding of our 30-day guarantee and how we ensure a fair process, click here to learn more.


Zones 4-8

Crimson Pygmy Barberry thrives in USDA grow zones 4-8, making it adaptable to a variety of climates. It can handle cold winters in the north and warmer conditions in the south, provided it is planted in well-drained soil and receives adequate sunlight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Crimson Pygmy Barberry is a compact, dwarf shrub. Here’s what you can expect regarding its mature size:

Mature Size
Height: Crimson Pygmy Barberry typically reaches a height of about 18 to 24 inches (1.5 to 2 feet).
Width: It spreads to a width of about 2 to 3 feet.

Growth Habit
Shape: This shrub has a dense, rounded growth habit, making it an excellent choice for low hedges, borders, and foundation plantings.
Foliage: The foliage is a rich burgundy-red color, which deepens in fall, providing seasonal interest and vibrant color to your garden.

By understanding the mature size and growth habit of Crimson Pygmy Barberry, you can effectively plan its placement in your garden to achieve the desired aesthetic and functional results.

Crimson Pygmy Barberry has a moderate growth rate. Here's what you can expect regarding its growth:

Growth Rate
Annual Growth: Crimson Pygmy Barberry typically grows about 4 to 6 inches per year.
Establishment Period: During the first year after planting, the shrub may grow more slowly as it establishes its root system. After this period, you can expect a more consistent growth rate.

Mature Size
Height: Crimson Pygmy Barberry generally reaches a mature height of about 18 to 24 inches.
Width: It can spread to a width of about 2 to 3 feet.

Factors Influencing Growth Rate
Sunlight: Full sun promotes the best growth and most vibrant foliage color. Partial shade can also be tolerated but may slightly reduce the growth rate and color intensity.
Soil Quality: Well-draining soil enriched with organic matter supports healthy growth. Poorly draining soil can inhibit growth and lead to root issues.
Watering: Regular watering, especially during the first growing season, helps establish the plant. Once established, it becomes more drought-tolerant.
Fertilization: Applying a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring can promote healthier and slightly faster growth, but barberry generally requires minimal fertilization.

Care Tips for Optimal Growth
Pruning: Pruning in late winter or early spring helps maintain the desired shape and encourages new growth.
Mulching: Mulching around the base of the plant helps retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and reduce weed competition.
Pest and Disease Management: Regularly inspect the plant for pests and diseases. Addressing issues promptly can prevent growth setbacks.

By providing the right growing conditions and regular care, your Crimson Pygmy Barberry will grow at a healthy and moderate pace, enhancing your garden with its colorful foliage and compact form.

Choosing the right location for planting Crimson Pygmy Barberry is essential for ensuring its health and aesthetic appeal. Here are some key considerations for selecting the best place to plant this shrub:

Ideal Planting Location

Full Sun to Partial Shade: Crimson Pygmy Barberry thrives best in full sun, which means at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. However, it can also tolerate partial shade. More sunlight generally results in more vibrant foliage color.

Well-Draining Soil: Plant in well-draining soil. Barberry can adapt to various soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils, but it performs best in slightly acidic to neutral pH soils.
Soil Amendments: If your soil is heavy clay or has poor drainage, consider amending it with organic matter such as compost to improve drainage.

Air Circulation
Good Airflow: Ensure the planting location has good air circulation to help prevent fungal diseases. Avoid crowded areas where air movement is restricted.

Additional Factors

Landscape Design
Borders and Edges: Use Crimson Pygmy Barberry as a border or edging plant along pathways, driveways, or garden beds to create a defined and attractive outline.
Foundation Planting: Plant near the foundation of your home or other structures to add color and interest while providing a neat, low-maintenance option.
Rock Gardens: Barberry’s compact size and vibrant color make it an excellent choice for rock gardens.

Wind Protection: Choose a spot that is sheltered from strong winds, which can damage the plant. While barberry is hardy, protecting it from harsh conditions can help it thrive.

Maintenance Access: Ensure the plant is easily accessible for regular maintenance tasks such as pruning, watering, and inspecting for pests or diseases.
Safety Considerations
Thorns: Be mindful of the shrub’s thorns. Avoid planting in areas where people frequently walk or where children and pets play to prevent accidental scratches or injuries.

Deep Shade: Avoid planting in areas that receive less than 4 hours of sunlight, as this can result in poor growth and less vibrant foliage.
Waterlogged Areas: Do not plant in locations with poor drainage or where water tends to pool, as this can lead to root rot and other issues.

By selecting a sunny to partially shaded location with well-draining soil and good air circulation, you can ensure your Crimson Pygmy Barberry thrives, providing beautiful foliage and structure to your garden. Consider its role in your overall landscape design to maximize its visual impact and functionality.

When planting Crimson Pygmy Barberry, proper spacing is important to ensure healthy growth and optimal performance. Here are the guidelines for spacing:

Spacing Requirements
Distance: Plant Crimson Pygmy Barberry shrubs about 3 to 4 feet apart. This spacing allows each plant enough room to grow and spread without overcrowding.
Consideration for Hedges: If you are planting them to form a hedge, you can plant them closer together, around 2 to 3 feet apart, to create a denser, more uniform look.

Benefits of Proper Spacing
Air Circulation: Adequate spacing ensures good air circulation, which helps prevent fungal diseases and promotes healthy growth.
Growth and Spread: Proper spacing allows each shrub to reach its full potential without competing for nutrients, water, and sunlight.
Maintenance: Sufficient space makes it easier to prune, water, and care for each plant.

By following these spacing guidelines, your Crimson Pygmy Barberry shrubs will thrive, providing vibrant color and structure to your garden.

Caring for Barberry is relatively straightforward, as these shrubs are hardy and low-maintenance. Here are some essential care tips to ensure your barberry shrubs thrive:

Location: Choose a sunny to partially shaded spot. Barberries do best with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Soil: Plant in well-draining soil. Barberry can tolerate a range of soil types but prefers slightly acidic to neutral pH.

Establishment Period: Water newly planted barberry regularly until established, typically for the first year. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
Established Plants: Once established, barberry is drought-tolerant. Water during prolonged dry spells, aiming to provide about 1 inch of water per week.
Technique: Water at the base of the plant to avoid wetting the foliage, which can help prevent fungal diseases.

Fertilization: Barberry generally does not require heavy feeding. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring if needed.
Mulching: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

Timing: Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. This is the best time to shape the plant and remove any dead or damaged branches.
Method: Use sharp, clean pruning shears to cut back overgrown branches. Regular pruning helps maintain the desired shape and size, promotes healthy growth, and improves air circulation.

Pests and Diseases
Monitoring: Regularly inspect your barberry for signs of pests or diseases. Common issues include aphids, scale insects, and powdery mildew.
Treatment: Treat pests with insecticidal soap or neem oil. For fungal diseases, ensure proper spacing for air circulation and consider applying a fungicide if necessary.

Winter Care
Protection: In colder climates, apply a layer of mulch around the base of the shrub to protect the roots from extreme temperatures. Barberry is generally hardy, but younger plants may benefit from additional protection.
Monitoring: Check for any winter damage in late winter or early spring and prune accordingly.

General Tips
Spacing: Ensure proper spacing between plants to allow for air circulation and prevent overcrowding. This helps reduce the risk of fungal diseases.
Sunlight: Barberries prefer full sun to partial shade. Insufficient light can result in less vibrant foliage and reduced growth.
Weeding: Keep the area around the barberry free of weeds, which can compete for nutrients and water.

By following these care guidelines, your barberry shrubs will remain healthy, vibrant, and an attractive addition to your garden year-round.

In the winter, Crimson Pygmy Barberry undergoes some changes but still maintains a distinctive appearance that can add interest to your garden. Here’s what you can expect:

Winter Appearance
Leaf Drop: As a deciduous shrub, Crimson Pygmy Barberry loses its leaves in the fall. By winter, the shrub is typically bare of foliage.
Twigs and Branches: The thorny branches and twigs of the shrub remain visible, providing a unique texture and structure to the winter landscape. The twigs are slender and have a reddish-brown hue, which can add subtle color to the garden.
Thorns: The sharp thorns along the branches become more noticeable once the leaves have fallen. These thorns can provide a protective barrier and add an interesting visual element.
Berries: If the shrub has produced berries in the fall, these small, bright red berries may persist into the winter, adding a splash of color and attracting birds to the garden.

Garden Impact
Structure: The dense, thorny branches of Crimson Pygmy Barberry can create a strong structural element in the garden during winter. This can help maintain visual interest when other plants are dormant.
Contrast: The reddish-brown branches can contrast nicely against snow or evergreen plants, providing a dynamic and varied winter landscape.
Wildlife: The persistent berries can provide food for birds, contributing to garden biodiversity and activity during the colder months.

Winter Care Tips
Pruning: Minimal pruning is needed in winter, but you can remove any dead or damaged branches. Major pruning should be done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the shrub to protect the roots from extreme cold and temperature fluctuations.
Monitoring: Keep an eye on the plant for any signs of damage from winter weather, such as broken branches, and address these issues promptly.

Overall, while Crimson Pygmy Barberry loses its foliage in the winter, its thorny branches and potential for bright berries continue to provide visual interest and utility in the garden.

Companion planting with Crimson Pygmy Barberry can enhance your garden's visual appeal and ensure a harmonious landscape design. Here are some excellent companion plants that pair well with Crimson Pygmy Barberry:

Ornamental Grasses
Fountain Grass: The soft, flowing texture of fountain grass complements the dense, thorny structure of barberry, adding movement and contrast.
Blue Fescue: The cool blue-gray foliage of blue fescue contrasts beautifully with the rich red-purple leaves of Crimson Pygmy Barberry.

Salvia: The upright flower spikes of salvia in shades of blue, purple, or pink add vertical interest and attract pollinators.
Sedum: Low-growing sedums with their succulent leaves and late-season blooms are perfect for ground cover and adding texture.

Boxwood: The evergreen foliage of boxwood provides a year-round backdrop that enhances the seasonal color changes of barberry.
Spirea: Spirea offers a variety of flower colors and forms that can complement the barberry's foliage and seasonal interest.

Flowering Plants
Lavender: The silvery foliage and purple flowers of lavender create a beautiful contrast and attract pollinators.
Daylilies: Daylilies provide colorful blooms that pair well with the barberry's foliage and thrive in similar growing conditions.

Evergreen Plants
Juniper: Junipers offer a range of sizes and colors, providing year-round structure and contrast to the barberry's deciduous nature.
Holly: The glossy green leaves and red berries of holly create a festive look that complements the barberry's vibrant foliage.

Seasonal Interest
Hosta: Hostas provide lush foliage and shade tolerance, creating a layered look in partially shaded areas of the garden.
Peonies: The large, showy flowers of peonies add a touch of elegance and contrast to the barberry's form and color.

By incorporating these companion plants, you can create a diverse and visually appealing garden that highlights the unique attributes of Crimson Pygmy Barberry while ensuring a balanced and harmonious landscape.

Watering frequency for Barberry depends on several factors, including the plant's age, weather conditions, and soil type. Here are some general guidelines to help you ensure your barberry shrub receives the right amount of water:

Initial Planting and Establishment
First Year: Water newly planted barberry shrubs regularly to help establish their root systems. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
Frequency: Water deeply once a week, increasing to twice a week during hot, dry weather.
Amount: Ensure the water reaches the root zone, typically about 1-2 inches of water per session.

Established Plants
After the First Year: Once established, barberry shrubs become more drought-tolerant and require less frequent watering.
Normal Conditions: Water every 10-14 days during dry spells, providing about 1 inch of water each time.
Hot and Dry Conditions: Increase frequency to once a week if there are prolonged periods of heat and no rain.

Seasonal Adjustments
Spring and Fall: During cooler, wetter seasons, reduce watering frequency. Natural rainfall may be sufficient, but monitor soil moisture levels.
Summer: In hotter months, check the soil moisture more frequently and water as needed to prevent the soil from drying out completely.
Winter: Barberry shrubs typically do not require additional watering during winter dormancy, except in cases of extreme drought.

Soil and Mulching
Soil Type: Adjust watering frequency based on soil drainage. Well-draining soils may require more frequent watering, while clay soils may retain moisture longer.
Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the shrub to help retain soil moisture, regulate temperature, and reduce watering needs.

General Tips
Check Soil Moisture: Before watering, check the soil moisture by sticking your finger about 2 inches into the soil. If it feels dry, it's time to water.
Watering Technique: Water at the base of the plant to ensure the roots receive adequate moisture. Avoid overhead watering to reduce the risk of fungal diseases.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure your barberry shrub remains healthy and vibrant, providing colorful foliage and robust growth throughout the growing season.

Barberry is a versatile and attractive shrub that can be used in various ways to enhance your landscaping. Here are some different uses for barberry in your garden:

1. Hedges and Borders
Low Hedges: The dense, thorny growth of barberry makes it an excellent choice for low hedges. It can define property lines, garden beds, or walkways.
Borders: Use barberry along borders to create a visually appealing edge with vibrant foliage that changes color with the seasons.

2. Foundation Planting
Accent Plant: Plant barberry near the foundation of your home to add color and texture. Its compact size and striking foliage can highlight architectural features.
Contrast: Combine with evergreen shrubs for year-round interest and contrast in colors and textures.

3. Specimen Plant
Focal Point: Use a single barberry plant as a focal point in a garden bed or island planting. Its bright foliage and unique shape can draw attention and create a striking visual impact.

4. Ground Cover
Erosion Control: In sloped areas, barberry can help control soil erosion due to its dense root system and spreading habit.
Colorful Coverage: Plant barberry en masse to cover large areas with vibrant, low-maintenance foliage.

5. Wildlife Habitat
Birds and Pollinators: The berries and flowers of barberry attract birds and pollinators, enhancing biodiversity in your garden.
Protection: The thorny branches provide shelter and protection for small animals and birds.

6. Xeriscaping
Drought-Tolerant: Barberry is well-suited for xeriscaping or low-water-use gardens. It thrives in well-draining soil and requires minimal watering once established.

7. Security and Barriers
Natural Barrier: The thorny nature of barberry makes it an effective natural barrier to discourage intruders, both human and animal.
Privacy Screen: Use taller varieties to create a privacy screen that adds security and aesthetic appeal.

8. Seasonal Interest
Foliage Color: Barberry offers seasonal interest with its changing foliage colors. In spring and summer, leaves can be bright green, red, or purple, transitioning to stunning shades of orange, red, and yellow in the fall.
Winter Appeal: Some barberry varieties retain their berries into winter, adding a splash of color to the winter landscape.

By incorporating barberry into your landscaping, you can enjoy its aesthetic appeal, functional benefits, and low-maintenance nature throughout the year.

Yes, the Crimson Pygmy Barberry shrub does have thorns. These small, sharp thorns are found along the stems of the plant. While the thorns can be a drawback in some situations, they also provide several benefits:

Benefits of Thorns
Protection: The thorns can act as a deterrent to animals and pests, protecting the plant from being eaten or damaged.
Barrier: The dense, thorny growth makes Crimson Pygmy Barberry an excellent choice for creating natural barriers or low hedges that can help define garden spaces and provide security.

Handling Tips
Careful Planting: When planting or maintaining Crimson Pygmy Barberry, wear gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself from the thorns.
Placement: Consider planting it away from high-traffic areas, especially where children or pets might frequent, to avoid accidental scratches or injuries.

Despite its thorns, the Crimson Pygmy Barberry is a popular choice for its stunning foliage, compact size, and versatility in landscaping.

Our Process

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!