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Royal Burgundy Barberry
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Flowers are fantastic, but foliage is where it’s at for season-long color. And Royal Burgundy Barberry brings the color! In spring, summer, and fall, it’s clothed in deep, dramatic, purple-red foliage from head to toe. Plant it with light-colored foliage for maximum impact—imagine how good it will look with a silvery Spirit like Silver Mound Mugwort or with a cool blue Fringe like Heavy Metal Switch Grass! Royal Burgundy naturally forms a tight, tidy mound, making it easy to incorporate into formal beds and borders. Use it as an occasional splash of contrast or make a powerful statement with a mass planting.
Japanese Barberry is known for its thorny branches, which make it useful for planting where you want to keep out intruders. Deer and rabbits likewise tend to leave this prickly plant alone, preferring to munch on less challenging menu items. What is really exciting about Japanese Barberry, though, is the bountiful variety of sizes, shapes, and colors it now comes in. It has come a long way from the plain green type normally found in the wild! Royal Burgundy was discovered at Leo E. Gentry Wholesale Nursery in Gresham, Oregon, in 1989.
Royal Burgundy appeared in a crop of 15,000 Crimson Pygmy Barberries and stood out because its leaves were less shiny than the rest. The satin finish on the foliage gives Royal Burgundy a darker burgundy appearance than Crimson Pygmy. Royal Burgundy also stays a bit smaller than Crimson Pygmy.
How to Grow
Grow Royal Burgundy Barberry in full sun to bring out its richest colors. Shade will make the leaves turn green. Choose a site where the soil drains freely, as this plant will not tolerate “wet feet.” It needs regular water during the establishment period, but will be quite drought tolerant after that. Prune as needed to keep stray branches from spoiling the tidy appearance of this formal element. Japanese Barberries have become invasive in some states. Check with your nearest extension office if you have questions about the status of Barberries in your area.
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