Plant Pick: Berberry

Latin name:  Berberis linearifolia

by Vancouver Island Master Gardeners Association

Berberis linearifolia is cultivated for its ornamental foliage, late Spring flowers in the orange to apricot range, its autumn colour, and its blue-black glaucus fruit that the birds love.  

Berberis linearifolia is one of about 450 species in this genus.  It is upright to 2 metres in height and 1.5 metres in width.  The leaves vary from lanceolate (long and thin) to obovate (tear drop).  It can be used as a screen or a hedge. This species is a native of Chile and Argentina so is vigorous from Zone 6 to Zone 9.  It prefers well drained soil in full sun to part shade but full sun improves fruiting and fall colour.  It requires minimum pruning with dead, diseased and damaged wood removed after flowering.  It can be propagated from semi-ripe cuttings in summer. It is somewhat prone to canker and die-back, root rot and a wide variety of rust diseases.  All parts of this species can cause stomach upset.

Berberis linearifolia can be found in Milner Gardens growing beside the Copper Beech tree near the Viewing Platform overlooking the bank that leads down to the beach.

      Berberry

Photos courtesy of Kim Hammond. 

Form:

Stiff and upright.

Foliage:

Obovate to inversely lance-shaped and dark green.

Height/Width:

Height 2 metres (6 feet) and width 1.5 metres (4.5 feet).

Hardiness Zone:

Zones 6 - 9.

Exposure:

Best in full sun but can handle part shade.

Flower colour:

Apricot to rich orange.

Leaf colour:

Dark green.

Flower time:

Late Spring.

Preferred soil

& watering:

Well-drained soil with a moderate water requirement.

Other:

Berberis linearifolia can be found in Milner Gardens growing beside the Copper Beech tree near the Viewing Platform overlooking the bank that leads down to 
the beach.