Berberis darwinii

Darwin's barberry

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

This evergreen barberry from Chile is smothered in clusters of red burnished tangerine buds that open to vibrant orange flowers in March. The leaves are a dark shiny green that glisten in bright light. This tough shrub is easy to grow and drought tolerant once established. It is not as prickly as most barberries.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: upright shrub

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 to 9

Flower Color: orange

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun or light shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant when established

Seasonal Interest: early spring flowers

Wildlife Associations: bees, birds, butterflies

Resistant to: deer

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: Cornus sericea ‘Hedgerow’s Gold’, Nandina domestica ’Gulf Stream’, Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Center Glow’, Geranium macrorrhizum, Helleborus x sternii

Great Color Contrasts: orange, purple, white

Great Color Partners: chartreuse, green, bronze

Culture Notes
This evergreen barberry will maintain its most compact form and flower best in full sun to light shade. It will tolerate open or dappled shade but will have fewer flowers and a more open habit. It prefers a well-drained soil and will tolerate sandy and clay sites. Once established it is drought tolerant. Very little pruning is needed. Only remove dead or broken branches or limbs that are poorly formed.
Geek Notes
Discovered by C. Darwin in S. America 1835 during a voyage of the 'Beagle'.