Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea 'Rose Glow'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 8 Professionals
Common Name: Japanese barberry
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Berberidaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Other: Thorns
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Erosion, Clay Soil, Dry Soil


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but needs full sun to produce best foliage color. Very adaptable shrub that is tolerant of many pollutants in urban areas. Also tolerates some drought, but will not do well in poorly drained, wet soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Berberis thunbergii, commonly called Japanese barberry, is a spiny, broad-rounded, deciduous shrub with obovate green leaves. It typically matures to 5' tall and as wide. Leaves (variably sized to 1 1/4” long) typically turn attractive shades of orange, yellow and red in fall.

Specific epithet honors Swedish botanist Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828) who reportedly identified this species in Japan in 1784.

Forma atropurpurea have red to purple-red foliage.

'Rose Glow' is a dense, deciduous cultivar which grows 3'-6' tall. First leaves are purple, but new shoots emerge as a rose-pink mottled with bronzish to purplish red splotches. Leaves are of variable sizes (.50" to 1.25" long). Many branched, reddish-brown stems have sharp thorns. Tiny, yellowish flowers appear in late April to early May, but are often hidden by the foliage and are not considered showy. Bead-like, bright red berries form in fall and often last through the winter. The berries are attractive to birds.


No serious problems. Some susceptibility to bacterial leaf spot, anthracnose, root rots, wilt, aphids, barberry webworm and scale.

Garden Uses

Japanese barberry forms an excellent barrier or hedge. It is also effective when planted in groups or as a specimen.