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Ruby Carousel® Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'Bailone'

Product Details Price Quantity
5 Gallon $69.50
Ships immediately

How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me

The Ruby Carousel® Barberry is a dense, rounded deciduous shrub reaching 3 or 4 feet tall within a few years. It has rich red leaves that hold their color through the seasons, brightening your landscape. It trims easily into hedges and borders, and it is a great security barrier beneath windows. Add color and interest to your shrub beds with this tough and reliable plant. In spring it has a big display of golden-yellow blooms, and when the leaves drop it is decorated with clusters of bright red berries.

  • Very dense branching and a rounded form
  • Rich red leaves keep their color through the seasons
  • Spring display of bright yellow flowers
  • Big fall crop of red berries
  • Perfect for barriers and hedges

Grow the Ruby Carousel® Barberry in full sun to keep it richly colored. It grows in any well-drained soil, including shallow, rocky soils and tough city gardens. Once established it is drought resistant, and pests don’t bother it. Neither do deer or rabbits, and it grows well with almost no attention at all. Trim in late winter and again in early summer for hedges.

The sale of Japanese Barberry varieties that produce seeds is banned in Maine, New York State, and Minnesota. Other states have placed restrictions. Although we attempt to stay up to date on each states’ Department of Agriculture regulations, rules can vary, and change rapidly. This link will show you the situation in your own state and remember that barberry is not a problem in many states. Check our site for non-seeding varieties of Barberry, as many are available. These are not restricted by most states, as they cannot spread.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-8
Mature Width 3
Mature Height 3-4
Soil Conditions Average
Sunlight Full Sun
Drought Tolerance Good Drought Tolerance
Zones 4-8

Barberry is certainly one of the most reliable and tough garden shrubs you can grow. Cold-resistant, drought-resistant, free of pests – these are plants that have so much to offer the busy gardener. The most popular color forms are those with red leaves, and there are many. But for uniformity, brightness and color stability, there really is nothing better than the Ruby Carousel® Barberry. It is unbeatable for holding its rich, ruby red color from spring right through fall, without fading, greening or darkening. For hedges it clips perfectly, although its natural upright form makes a great informal hedge without any trimming at all. This is the ultimate ‘plant and forget’ bush, although that great color makes it anything but forgettable.

Growing the Ruby Carousel® Barberry

Size and Appearance

The Ruby Carousel Barberry is a vigorous, rounded to upright deciduous shrub, with dense growth and many branches growing from the base. The small, rounded leaves are smooth and slightly glossy, and they grow in two different ways. New stems have leaves alternating up them, but older stems grow clusters of leaves in clumps. This means that all the branches stay leafy for years, making a much denser and more colorful bush than most other shrubs. Left untrimmed you can expect it to reach 3 or 4 feet tall, and just a little bit less in width. It is always compact and bushy, right to the ground. At the base of each leaf cluster, and along the new stems, there are sharp thorns, and this variety is more thorny than many other barberry bushes.

The leaves emerge in spring a rich, dark red, and this color is very stable, with virtually no variation throughout the season. Many other red-leaf barberry bushes turn dirty green in summer, but not this one. In most zones it holds the same color through fall too, although we have had reports that in very cold zones the leaves may turn scarlet, which is an interesting bonus.

Once your plant is a few years old, and especially if you don’t trim frequently, it will bloom. All along the older stems, in spring, showy clusters of bright yellow flowers appear, just as the new leaves are emerging. These make a bright, cheerful show against the red leaves, but there is more. You probably won’t notice, but as summer passes those flowers fade and turn into clusters of berries. By fall they have ripened into big bunches of bright red berries, and these become very noticeable once the leaves drop. They are loved by birds, and sometimes they don’t last too long once winter cold arrives. If you are adventurous in the kitchen you can harvest the berries and make a tasty red jam from them.

Using the Ruby Carousel® Barberry in Your Garden

We recommend this barberry for hedges, because it has extremely dense growth and a good upright form. In just a few years you can build a great dense hedge up to 4 feet tall, and with the dense branches and sharp spines this will be a hedge that nothing will penetrate. Four-legged or two-legged uninvited ‘guests’ will never enter your yard through this hedge. Insurance companies recommend plants like barberry for growing beneath windows to deter intruders, and the Ruby Carousel Barberry is perfect for this job. Plant your bushes 2 feet apart for a solid hedge within a short time, or cluster them at that spacing beneath your windows. Add color and security at the same time. This bush is also great for colorful highlights among your shrubs. Plant singly in smaller beds, and in groups of 3 or 5 in larger ones. It gives great form and stable color you will love. It is a wonderful container plant too, in planter boxes, tubs or large pots. Grow them on your patio or terrace for bright color, and because it is drought resistant it won’t matter if you forget to water for a while.

Hardiness

The Ruby Carousel Barberry is hardy in zone 4, and all the way through zone 8. It should also be hardy in sheltered spots in zone 3, with little or no winter damage. If growing above ground in planters or pots, zone 5 or 6 is the limit if you leave your pots outdoors all winter.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Grow the Ruby Carousel Barberry in full sun to retain the best red coloring. It grows well in any well-drained soil, including shallow rocky soils, sandy soils, and harsh urban sites too. Water regularly during the first season to allow it to establish well, but after that it is very drought resistant.

Maintenance and Pruning

There are no significant pests or diseases on this plant. Deer and rabbits leave it alone. You can trim anytime between late winter and fall, and it is best to trim before the new growth appears, and again in early summer for extra neatness.

History and Origin of the Ruby Carousel® Barberry

The Japanese barberry, Berberis thunbergii, arrived in America in 1875, brought from Japan by plant collectors working for the Arnold Arboretum, in Boston. Those plants had green leaves, and it was grown at first for the flowers and berries. The first red-leaf forms were found in France in the early years of the 20th century, and these soon became very popular. The variety called ‘Bailone’ was developed some years ago by Bailey Nurseries, one of America’s largest wholesale growers. Founded in 1905 by John Vincent and Elizabeth Bailey in Minnesota, they have created many great plants, and this one, sold under the registered trademark of Ruby Carousel®, is definitely one of their best.

Buying the Ruby Carousel® Barberry at The Tree Center

This special plant is grown from stem pieces that trace back to that original discovery, and they are greatly superior to anything sold as ‘red-leaf barberry’. Grow the best, and enjoy the best, with the Ruby Carousel Barberry. Order now, because this variety is always in short supply, and sells out very quickly.

The sale of Japanese Barberry varieties that produce seeds is banned in Maine, New York State, and Minnesota. Other states have placed restrictions. Although we attempt to stay up to date on each states’ Department of Agriculture regulations, rules can vary, and change rapidly. This link will show you the situation in your own state and remember that barberry is not a problem in many states. Check our site for non-seeding varieties of Barberry, as many are available. These are not restricted by most states, as they cannot spread.

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Ruby Carousel® Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'Bailone'

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