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A picture of a Red Leaf Barberry 'Red Chief'

Red Leaf Barberry 'Red Chief'

Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea 'Red Chief'

Buy Red Leaf Barberry 'Red Chief'

Also known as

Japanese Barberry 'Red Chief'

Photo by GardeningExpress (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Easy care
Light watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








10 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

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Japanese Barberry 'Red Chief' - 3-5L Pot - Hardy Shrub - Berberis thunbergii


Red Leaf Barberry 'Red Chief' Overview

Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea 'Red Chief' is a medium-sized, bushy, spiny, deciduous shrub that produces a striking leaf colour. Its oval leaves emerge purple-red, becoming fiery red as they head into autumn. 'Red Chief' also produces small, pale yellow flowers in spring/summer, that develop into crimson berries in autumn. Also known as Japanese Barberry 'Red Chief' - among other names - this robust Berberis 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 'Red Chief' makes an excellent low hedge that can be clipped to shape. It is also suitable for most styles of borders and container planting, and can often be seen growing in coastal areas. 'Red Chief' is 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! Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea 'Atropurpurea Nana' (PBR) is protected under intellectual property laws by Plant Breeders' Rights. These provide the breeder of new plants exclusive control over the plant material for a set amount of time.

Common problems with Red Leaf Barberry 'Red Chief'

How to propagate Red Leaf Barberry 'Red Chief'


Semi-ripe cuttings can be taken during summer. 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 Red Leaf Barberry 'Red Chief'

Attractive leaves

Attracts useful insects

Autumn colour

Hedge plant

Attracts bees

Attracts butterflies

Attracts birds

Other uses of Red Leaf Barberry 'Red Chief'

Border, hedging, edging, foliage, ornamental.