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A picture of a Purple Japanese Barberry

Purple Japanese Barberry

Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea

Also known as

Japanese Barberry, Barberry

Blodberberis01 by Bjoertvedt (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Light watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Purple Japanese Barberry

A photo of Purple Japanese Barberry
A photo of Purple Japanese Barberry
A photo of Purple Japanese Barberry
A photo of Purple Japanese Barberry
A photo of Purple Japanese Barberry

Purple Japanese Barberry Overview

Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea is a vigorous, deciduous shrub that produces spiny shoots and toothed, rounded, red-purple leaves that deepen to a dazzling red colour in autumn. This bushy shrub is popular with gardeners for its eye-catching foliage from spring to autumn and in early summer, it produces small red-tinged, pale yellow flowers which are followed by shiny red berries. Also known as Purple Japanese Barberry, this robust Berberis has spawned many new cultivars. Like them, it grows well in full sun or partial shade and is tolerant of most soils, as long as they are well-drained. Low maintenance and only requiring a light prune and removal of diseased/damaged wood in spring, Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea makes an excellent hedge - especially on boundaries, as its thorny nature discourages intruders! It is also suitable for including in most types of borders - from urban courtyards to cottage-style alike - and it is often seen in coastal areas. For smaller gardens, choose one of its more compact cultivars. This species plant has earned a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Award of Garden Merit. It is also part of the RHS “Plants for Pollinators” initiative to showcase plants that support pollinator populations by providing ample nectar and pollen. An excellent choice for encouraging pollinating insect wildlife into your garden!

Common problems with Purple Japanese Barberry

How to propagate Purple Japanese Barberry


Semi-ripe cuttings can be taken during midsummer to autumn. Once you have taken the cuttings that you need, dip them into a hormone rooting compound to help encourage rooting. They should be kept in the cold frame to protect them over winter. These can have a low success rate so do not be disappointed if you are unsuccessful.

Special features of Purple Japanese Barberry

Attracts bees

Attractive leaves

Autumn colour

Hedge plant

Attracts butterflies

Attracts birds