Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea ‘Bagatelle’

dwarf purpleleaf Japanese barberry

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

This short compact selection of barberry is one of the best dwarf forms you can grow. Tight low mounds of cherry-red foliage cover this small shrub from early spring through the fall. As the new growth starts small yellow flowers hang in clusters among the rich red foliage. The unusual cherry tones in the foliage make this selection stand out in the garden.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: round shrub

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 1 ft. 0 in. (0.30 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 1 ft. 6 in. (0.46 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 1 ft. 6 in. (0.46 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 1 ft. 6 in. (0.46 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Flower Color: yellow

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun

Water Requirements: drought tolerant when established

Seasonal Interest: sping though autumn foliage color & winter berries

Wildlife Associations: bees

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: Pieris japonica ‘Cavatine’, Kalmia latifolia, Allium cristophii, Cotoneaster procumbens ‘Queen of Carpets’

Great Color Contrasts: red, green, blue, white

Great Color Partners: bronze, purple

Culture Notes
This dwarf barberry has it best foliage color in full sun to light shade. It prefers a well-drained soil and will tolerate sandy and clay sites. Once established it will only need occasional watering during dry weather, although in sandy soils regular watering may be necessary to prevent drought damage. Almost no pruning is needed for this shrub to maintain its form. Avoid planting it where its thorns can catch litter from overhead trees.