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Berberis thunbergii Orange Rocket

Japanese barberry

Compact shape and easy to grow

A stunning shrub with upright stems forming a column up to up to 1.2m (4ft) tall. The small rounded leaves are bright orange in spring, soft green, tinged with orange through summer, colouring to brilliant orange in autumn. Small creamy-yellow, flowers appear in spring, followed by small scarlet fruits that remain on the stems when the leaves fall.


Best planted in full sun for leaf colour. Use as an accent plant amongst low growing perennials and ground cover, in narrow borders or in pots.


Any reasonable soil, good on clay and chalk. No pruning required except to remove stray shoots that spoil the shape. 

Plant details

In depth plant information

Property Value
Plant type Ornamental shrub
Flower colour
Foliage colour
Typically available March - September
Season of interest Autumn, Spring
Flowering April - May
Evergreen No
Plant height 120 cm - 150 cm
Plant width 30 cm - 50 cm
Fragrant flowers No
Hazardous All parts highly toxic if eaten
Attracts bees Yes
Attracts butterflies Yes
Plant height in 5 years 100 cm
Medicinal No
Hardiness zone (?) H4

Will perform best in these conditions

Property Value
Soil type Chalk, Clay, Sand, Loam
Light exposure Full sun, Part shade
Soil drainage Well drained, Moist
Planting instructions

Water the plant in its pot thoroughly before planting – give it a good soaking. Prepare the area by digging a hole twice the size of the pot. Dig compost into the base of the hole. Remove the pot and position the plant in the hole, with the top of the rootball about level with the surrounding soil. Refill the planting hole with a mixture of garden soil and compost, firming as you go. Water in well and keep well watered during the plant's first year.

Planting site Cottage garden, Informal garden, Flower border and beds, City garden, Banks and slopes, Coastal or drought resistant

Typically available

From March to September