Berberis × ottawensis ‘Royal Cloak’

purpleleaf Japanese barberry

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Synonyms: Berberis thunbergii ‘Royal Cloak’

Outstanding Qualities

This stunning barberry is a large shrub wrapped in particularly large (for a barberry) luscious burgundy foliage from spring through early fall. In early spring as the new purple leaves emerge bright yellow flowers sparkle against the deeply colored foliage. Robust arching stems are dark chestnut brown and well armed with sharp spines making an excellent barrier hedge. Very easy to grow and tough!

Quick Facts

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: deciduous

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

Plant Width/Spread: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

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

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Flower Color: yellow

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to light shade

Water Requirements: occasional watering

Seasonal Interest: spring & summer foliage, fall color & berries

Wildlife Associations: bees

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: Betula nigra ‘Cully’ HERITAGE®, Clematis ‘Polish Spirit’, Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’, Pyracantha ‘Mohave’, Weigela florida ‘Variegata’

Great Color Contrasts: orange, silver, white

Great Color Partners: blue, purple

Culture Notes
This large growing 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. Deciduous barberries can become congested over time. Manage their growth by removing inward-growing or crossing branches and a few of the oldest and most twiggy branches during the winter. Avoid planting it where its thorns can catch litter from overhead trees.