How to grow Berberis julianae

Berberis julianae is a handsome, dense, hardy evergreen shrub usually grown as either a garden specimen plant or for hedging. Commonly known as the Wintergreen barberry or Chinese barberry, it was first discovered for western science in 1907, in the Hubei province of central China, by the renowned English plant hunter Ernest Wilson. It was named and described by Austrian botanist Camillo Karl Schneider. The naturally occurring variety Berberis julianae var. oblongifolia was actually discovered by Wilson several years earlier in 1900. So assuming you would like to grow this gorgeous plant in your garden, how do you grow Berberis julianae.

How to grow Berberis julianae

Under favorable conditions, Berberis julianae can be expected to grow to a height and spread of between 2.5 and 4 metres. When handling wear thick, leather gloves as it has strongly spined branches. In fact individual spines can easily reach 10 cm in length on mature specimens, hence its suitability as a secure hedge. The oblanceolate leaves are also edged with tiny spines and emerge copper-toothed when young. Throughout the growing season the glossy foliage will remain mid-green, but under freezing conditions can turn to a glorious, crimson-red.

The flowers are yellow with a few red spot at the base, slightly scented and are produced in dense axillary clusters. They appear late spring and once pollinated will produce dark purple, elliptical fruits which exhibit a characteristic white bloom. Each berry is approximately 6 mm in length.

Berberis julianae will be happy planted in either full sun or semi shade in most moist, but well-drained, garden soils. For hedging use 30-40 cm plants, setting them at intervals of 50-60 cm. After planting, prune out the upper 25% of all shoots to promote bushy growth.

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