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, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates part shade, but performs best with full sun. This is a very adaptable shrub that is tolerant of urban conditions. Plants also tolerates heat and drought, but are generally intolerant of poorly-drained, wet soils. Plants spread slowly by creeping roots. Plants can also spread by self-seeding (birds will eat the fruits and distribute the seed). Plant branches may root where they touch the ground. This species is considered to be somewhat invasive in some areas (particularly in eastern North America).

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.

Forma atropurpurea have red to purple-red foliage.

Genus name comes from the Latinized form of the Arabian name for the fruit.

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

'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. Spiny stems often trap unsightly wind-blown trash.

Garden Uses

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