Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Fall color is best in full sun. Tolerates heat, drought and a wide range of soils except poorly drained wet ones. This is a very adaptable shrub that is tolerant of many urban pollutants. Propagate from cuttings. Prune as needed after flowering. Easily pruned as a hedge.
Mentor barberry is an upright, rounded, semi-evergreen barberry that typically grows to 5-7’ tall and as wide. Stems have sharp thorns. This is a hybrid plant whose parents are B. julianae (evergreen) and B. thunbergii (deciduous). Plants are generally deciduous, but will hold leaves late into fall in the southern areas of its growing range. Elliptic-ovate dark green leaves (1-2” long) are pale beneath. Foliage develops good yellow-orange-red fall color in colder areas of its growing range. Tiny, pale yellow flowers (1/2” long), either solitary or in pairs, appear in April-May in short racemes along the stems. Flowers are attractive but not as ornamental as some other barberries. Fruit (dull red and ellipsoidal) may be sparse or absent on this hybrid.
No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to verticillium wilt, rust, root rot, anthracnose and mosaic virus. Potential insect pests include aphids, scale, webworms and nematodes. Like most barberries, this shrub tends to trap wind-blown litter.
Forms an impenetrable, easy-to-maintain hedge. Also effective as a barrier plant, foundation plant, shrub border plant or small grouping in the landscape.