Barberries are great garden plants – hardy, easy to grow and colorful. The Daybreak Japanese Barberry is a recent introduction that has created a whole new color range in barberries, on a compact plant that can be used alone in a small garden or even a planter box, or grouped with other shrubs in a larger garden. Plants with colored foliage are a big part of the modern trend towards making colorful gardens without relying on flowers – which are often a short-lived feature on a plant that is plain green for the rest of the year. By using plants with colored foliage instead of, or as well as flowers, we can brighten our gardens from early spring to late fall with broad strokes of permanent color.
The Daybreak Japanese Barberry starts in spring with orange-red new growth to brighten the garden after the dreary days of winter. The leaves change their color to golden yellow as summer arrives, and stays bright and cheerful all summer. Then with fall they take on rich tones of deep oranges and reds to end the year with a flourish. All this color from just one bush makes it an ideal plant for smaller spaces, where every inch counts and must deliver over a long period. This is a dwarf shrub, and it will grow just 18 inches tall, and the same across, making it ideal for smaller spaces. It has a naturally dense, mounded habit and needs no trimming to always look attractive.
As well, the Daybreak Japanese Barberry is hardy right across the country, from zone 4, with winter temperatures down to minus 30, all the way into zone 8, which covers the whole country except for the very coldest and hottest areas. It will grow well in almost any kind of soil, as long as it is well-drained, it has no significant pests or diseases and it is not eaten by deer. What more could a gardener ask for?
Japanese barberry, Berberis thunbergii, has been popular ever since it was introduced into America in 1875 at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, from its home in Japan and China. There are several forms with colored foliage, and at the Tree Center we offer a wide range, from the purple foliage of ‘Crimson Pygmy’ and the rosy-pink of ‘Rose Glow’, to the bright yellow of ‘Aurea Nana’. Indeed, it would be possible to create wonderful sweeps of color across the garden using nothing but this amazing plant, with its leaves of many colors. The Daybreak Japanese Barberry is a new introduction from 2012, selected from a batch of seedlings by the alert eye of the famous American plant breeder Michael Dirr. This great plant can be added to the long list of his introductions, all of which have greatly enriched our gardens. This patented plant is produced under license, so we know that cheaper seedling plants will be nothing like it, and if it doesn’t say ‘Daybreak’ it isn’t what you are looking for.
Plant your Daybreak Japanese Barberry in a sunny location, as a single plant or in groups of 3, 5 or 7 plants, spaced about 15 inches apart, to create a swath of bold color. It will grow well in any garden soil, as long as it is well-drained. During the first year water it regularly, but after that it will survive normal summer dryness with no problem. It grows quickly into a broad mound of stems, with small, rounded leaves. It does not normally flower or produce seeds, so it will never spread or become a problem with seedlings sprouting up, as some plants can do.
The Daybeak Japanese Barberry is a wonderful new plant whose colorful foliage can bring season-long color to every garden. We have a good supply of this plant, but we know how very popular these plants are, especially when they are recently introduced. If you want to enjoy colorful leaves on an attractive, low-maintenance plant, order now and avoid the disappointment of that ‘sold out’ sign next time you visit.