Barberry (lat. Bérberis) is a large representative of the genus of shrubs and trees of the Barberry family. The winter-hardy and light-loving plant is widespread in the mountainous regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Less commonly found in Central Asia, Southern Europe.
More than 170 species and more than 500 varieties are known, some of which are used in horticulture.
Leaves are leathery, green, in some varieties yellow, red, with speckled blotches. The shrub is covered with small thorns, they are obtained in the process of leaf modification. During the flowering period, small, yellow-green, orange, sometimes red flowers appear, which are located singly or collected in inflorescences. The bloom smells fragrant and attracts bees. Barberry is prized for its decorative, medicinal, melliferous properties.
Types of barberry shrubs:
Common barberry (Berberis vulgaris) - grows about three meters in height, leaves are thin, dark green with membranes, elliptical in shape. It blooms for 2-3 weeks with shiny, yellow flowers. Fruits from white to deep red, they are used in cooking, are easy to process.
Amur barberry (Berberis amurensis) is drought-resistant, has a spreading crown, large, finely toothed leaves along the edges. Closer to autumn, the foliage transforms into an elegant bright red color, thanks to which this species is used to decorate a garden or park. It blooms with light yellow, fragrant flowers.
Barberry Thunberg (Berberis thunbergii) is the most spectacular representative of ornamental shrubs. It grows from 50 cm to 1 m, the crown is thick, the branches are arched, covered with thin thorns. Autumn decoration of this species will captivate with its beauty and riot of bright colors. It blooms with bunched flowers of red color from the outside and yellow from the inside. Blossoming is replaced by shiny elliptical red berries, the fruits are not suitable for eating, but they perfectly decorate the shrub during the autumn season. Most often they are used for the construction of hedges, zoning of the territory, for introducing variety in landscape compositions.
Barberry for growing in Ukraine - popular varieties:
Ottawa barberry Superba (Superba) - has dark red leaves with a bluish bloom, in autumn the color becomes more saturated. The many red berries scattered throughout the bush add to the charm. Blossoms in May with red-yellow flowers. Plant height - 4 meters.
Barberry Thunberg Atropurpurea (Atropurpurea) - slow-growing variety, height - 1.5 meters, throughout the season the leaves retain a purple-brown color. Blooms in June for about two weeks, fruits appear in the month of October.
Barberry Thunberg Kornik is a deciduous shrub up to 1.5 meters high. The green leaves are distinguished by their original decoration - creamy white spots of various shapes scattered over the entire surface. In autumn, the color of the crown turns red. It makes a lasting impression in combination with roses and conifers.
Selection and purchase of seedlings. All types and varieties of barberry are extremely attractive, therefore, when choosing a shrub for planting in your garden, proceed from what benefits you expect to receive. Some types are suitable for edible berries, others for creating a hedge. Please note that there are some species that combine both tasks, such as the common Barberry (Berberis vulgaris).
The use of barberry in landscape design. Delicate green foliage in summer and burgundy shrub colors in autumn - gives the plant a unique charm and attractiveness. It is hard not to notice it among the variety of plantings in your garden. It looks beneficial as a single plant, as a difficult-to-pass hedge, acts as a tapeworm, complementing group compositions, and stands out brightly against the background of the lawn. The variegated color of the Thunberg barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is great for creating a Japanese garden.
Low-growing perennials are excellent neighbors for barberry: lilies, astilbe, golden-motley hosts, it is also advantageous to place shrubs among peonies or chrysanthemums. Conifers: junipers, thuja in combination with barberry leave an indelible impression, surprise with their originality and aesthetic beauty.
Location and landing. It takes root best in a sunny, open place. Barberry is able to grow in partial shade, but this can negatively affect its decorative effect and reduce fertility. One of the advantages of the shrub is its simplicity, it is not afraid of drafts and sharp gusts of wind. Prefers fertile, well-drained soil. It reacts poorly to waterlogging, preparing the pit, water it well, but make sure that no stagnation of water forms.
The size of the hole for a single planting is 50x50x50, for a hedge it is better to prepare a trench about 60 cm deep and 50 cm wide.Next, you should water the hole or trench, install drainage: dry leaves, sawdust mixed with small stones. The next step is to fill most of the prepared soil, it should contain a mixture of humus, peat and superphosphate. If the soil in the selected area is acidic, add a small amount of lime: 300-400 grams. Make a small indentation, place a seedling and compact with earth.
Post-planting work. After successful planting, you need to water the young plant and mulch the trunk circle. Then the upper part of the seedling is cut off, only 3-5 well-developed buds should remain.
Apply fertilizers, maintain the necessary moisture, loosen and mulch the soil - that's all that is needed for good growth and a beautiful appearance of an ornamental plant.
Watering. Watering should be done carefully so as not to get on the leaves. With a normal amount of precipitation, additional watering should not be done; during a prolonged drought, moisten the soil around the shrub with water at room temperature, repeat no more than once a week. At first, young seedlings need to be watered with the same regularity.
Loosening, mulching. Since the roots of the plant run quite deeply, periodic loosening of the soil is required. Avoid overgrowth of weeds and root growth around the bush.
Top dressing. A year after planting, nitrogen-containing fertilizers are applied in the spring, repeated after 3-4 years. Feeding with microelements is carried out once a year in the fall.
Pruning barberry. The shrub looks more elegant and well-groomed if old, dry branches are regularly removed. Low-growing varieties do not need to be cut. In general, the shrub tolerates shearing well, the right time for this is early spring.
Flowering and fruiting. All types and varieties of barberry are very beautiful and decorative, from May to June flowering makes it especially elegant, the flowers are bright, collected in axillary tassels of 15-20 pieces. The fruit is red in color, inside which there are several flattened seeds.
Reproduction and grafting. Can be propagated by cuttings, shoots, layering, seeds. The most effective way is by cuttings. To do this, cuttings are cut in mid-June, while removing the lower leaves, the upper ones are enough to be shortened by half. They are planted in a moist substrate in a greenhouse equipped with a removable dome so that it can be ventilated. When young leaves appear, the greenhouse is left open. During this period, the soil is watered and loosened as needed. After two years, ready-made seedlings can be planted in a permanent place.
Pests and diseases of barberry. Most often, the barberry aphid bothers the shrub; to combat it, spraying with a 0.2% phytoverm solution is used. Also, barberry suffers from the flower moth, it destroys the inside of the fruit. To protect the plant, it is recommended to treat the bush with Decis. Sometimes the leaves of the bush are covered with a white bloom, this is a sign of powdery mildew infection. In this case, it is necessary to remove the affected areas of the plant and treat it with a solution of the foundation diluted in water, 20 g of the product is taken for 10 liters of water. 1% Bordeaux liquid will help get rid of rust.
Wintering of barberry. Although the plant is winter-hardy, special conditions must be created for the winter time up to the age of five. To do this, it must be covered with spruce branches or a layer of dry foliage for the period of cold weather.
The usefulness of the fruit. Most gardeners grow barberry not only to decorate the area, but to use the beautiful flowers and fruits of the shrub in cooking and healing. Berries produce aromatic compotes, jelly and preserves, they contain tartaric, malic and citric acid. The leaves are rich in vitamins E and C, carotene and mineral salts. Barberry has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and bactericidal properties.
Important: It is important to pick the fruits completely ripe, since the use of unripe berries can lead to poisoning, they contain a poisonous substance.
Consult a physician before use.