Berberis 'Soft Caress'
Common Name: barberry 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Berberidaceae
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: September to October
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy


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

Noteworthy Characteristics

Berberis is a genus of about 450 species of evergreen or deciduous shrubs from all parts of the North Hemisphere as well as North and tropical Africa and South America.

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

'Soft Caress' was discovered in 2001 by Karen Reiter Stever of ItSaul Plants, LLC of Atlanta, Georgia as a naturally occurring whole plant mutation of unnamed plants of Berberis sp. It is an evergreen shrub with unusual, narrow thread-like leaflets and thornless stems. In fall, it has racemes of fragrant yellow flowers that mature into blue berries that are covered with a frostlike bloom. In more southern climates, it will bloom late fall to mid winter. 'Soft Caress' grows 4 to 5 ft. tall and 3 to 4 ft. wide. United States Plant Patent PP#20,183 awarded July 28, 2009.


No serious insect or disease problems. Like most barberries, this plant tends to trap wind-blown litter.


Informal hedge, barrier plant, foundation plant, shrub border.