Dwarf Barberry Care: How To Grow Crimson Pygmy Barberry Shrubs

Red Crimson Pygmy Barberry Shrub
(Image credit: Anastasia Jorge)

If you think of barberry plants as primarily useful for defensive hedges, think again. Crimson Pygmy barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Crimson Pygmy') is utterly gorgeous with deep crimson leaves that turn even more brilliant shades in autumn. Dwarf barberry shrubs like this will light up your backyard and contrast beautifully with lighter, brighter plants. For more Crimson Pygmy barberry information, read on.

Crimson Pygmy Barberry Information

Anyone growing a dwarf Crimson Pygmy barberry will be thrilled by the deep, rich color of the foliage. Dwarf barberry shrubs are only knee high, but the small, deep-burgundy leaves make quite a statement.

Dwarf barberry shrubs also produce flowers, small and bright yellow. They smell sweet and the color contrasts nicely with the leaves. But according to Crimson Pygmy barberry information, they cannot compete with the gorgeous crimson foliage for ornamental value.

The flowers develop into red, round berries over summer and fall that please wild birds. Those growing a dwarf Crimson Pygmy barberry will find that the berries hang onto the branches long after the leaves fall. And before the shrub loses its leaves in winter, the color turns even brighter red.

How to Grow Crimson Pygmy Barberry

If you are growing a dwarf barberry shrub for its brilliant foliage, you’ll want to be sure to plant it in a full sun location. Although the plants can remain healthy in partial shade, the color develops best in sun.

The type of soil you offer the plant influences the type of dwarf barberry care they require. How to grow Crimson Pygmy barberries that don’t require much care? Plant them in moist, well-draining soil. Do keep in mind, however, these shrubs will grow in any soil that isn’t soggy.

Keep the ultimate size in mind when you consider growing Crimson Pygmy barberry plants and where to site them. The shrubs grow to 18 to 24 inches (45.5-61 cm.) tall and 30 to 36 inches (76-91.5 cm.) wide.

Is Crimson Pygmy barberry invasive? Barberry is considered invasive in some areas. However, the ‘Crimson Pygmy’ cultivar is less invasive. It produces fewer fruits and seeds than the wild type. That being said though, the shrubs cannot be considered “non-invasive.”

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.