Sunjoy® Citrus Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'Koren' (PP# 24,818)

1 Review

Sunjoy® Citrus Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'Koren' (PP# 24,818)

1 Review


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 Sunjoy® Citrus Barberry brings a beautiful splash of sunlight to your garden, with brilliant citrus-yellow leaves in spring. These resist sun-scorch, and they turn cooling chartreuse all summer and fall. This compact bush grows less than 3 feet tall and wide, making it ideal for smaller gardens, mass planting, edging and growing in pots. Wherever you need brightness and joy, this is the way to get it, on a hardy, cold and drought resistant plant that is very easy to grow and that needs no special care or trimming to stay neat and beautiful.

  • Citrus-yellow foliage resists sun-scorch
  • Gorgeous chartreuse-yellow all summer
  • Neat, compact plant needs no trimming
  • Very tough plant, resistant to dryness and cold
  • Ideal smaller size for edging and pots

Grow the Sunjoy® Citrus Barberry in full sun, to keep the leaves yellow, and you won’t see any burning on them, unlike many other yellow-leaf forms. It thrives in any well-drained soil, and once established it is drought-resistant. Pest and disease free, immune to wheat rust, and not eaten by deer or rabbits, this plant is so easy to grow. It stays neat without trimming, although you can choose to trim for perfect domes of gold and the neatest hedges.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-8
Mature Width 2-3
Mature Height 2-3
Sun Needs Full Sun
Zones 4-8

For adding brightness to your garden, some of the most useful – and fashionable – of colors are those shades between golden yellow and chartreuse green. These plants blend in perfectly with your green shrubs, since those colors are extensions on the spectrum of greens. They fit in with all your flower colors too, especially if they are in the citrus, lime and chartreuse area. Unlike dark colors, which can fade away, especially from a distance, these yellow tones stand out and really lift your planting to a more sophisticated level.

So, which plants should we use? Barberries are among the most useful and versatile plants you can grow in your garden – and among the easiest too. There are some outstanding yellow-leaf forms, and for a compact plant that is perfect for a host of purposes around the garden, look no further than the Sunjoy® Citrus Barberry. This outstanding introduction delivers beautiful clean citrus-yellow foliage in spring and early summer, subtly changing as the thermometer climbs, and becoming a cool and chic chartreuse. Its compact form looks great untrimmed, or it can be turned into neat hedges and balls. Oh, did we mention how incredibly tough it is, and easy to grow? Well it is, and it has also been thoroughly tested for resistance to sun-scorch, which so many other golden barberries suffer from – but not this one.

Growing the Sunjoy® Citrus Barberry

Size and Appearance

The Sunjoy Citrus Barberry is a bushy, compact deciduous shrub that grows between 2 and 3 feet tall and wide. The densely packed branches naturally form a rounded shape and natural globe, and it can be easily clipped if you want to emphasize that form more. The branches have small spines at the base of the leaf clusters, making this a great barrier plant, for impenetrable hedges or beneath windows. In spring the new leaves are bright, clear, lemon-yellow, a wonderful spring color, and they stay that way for weeks. Gradually, as summer arrives, some green tones, like a partially-ripe lemon, develop, and the plant looks more lime or chartreuse. This color holds right into the fall, lifting and brightening your beds, and complimenting the changing tones of your garden through the seasons.

Older plants may produce yellow flowers in spring, tucked among the leaves and not very conspicuous. These may develop into fruits that turn red in fall and show when the leaves fall. They are attractive, and popular with birds.

Using the Sunjoy® Citrus Barberry in Your Garden

Rich accents of gold are always welcome in the garden, and a single plant, or a group, of the Sunjoy Citrus Barberry would look great in the foreground of your beds. Use it for edging large beds, or along a driveway or path. Use it with other colorful shrubs in a special bed, among gravel and boulders. Cover a bank with it, and make a special feature, while preventing erosion. Plant it as well in boxes and tubs, with other small shrubs, for easy color on your terrace or patio. Space plants 2 feet apart for group plantings and hedges.


This plant is very cold resistant, with no winter damage in zone 4. It also grows well in hotter areas, to zone 8, so no matter where you are, you can probably grow this easy shrub.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Full sun is best if you want to enjoy the true sunshine yellows of this plant. Too much shade will make it greener – still attractive of course – and make it less bushy. Other yellow-leaf barberry bushes are often plagued by burning and scorching of the leaves, making them unattractive all summer. The Sunjoy Citrus Barberry was tested for 5 years for its resistance to scorching, and it simply doesn’t do it, even in full sun and dry soil.

This tough shrub grows well in all well-drained soils, including clays and sandy gravels. Once it has established itself it is also very drought resistant and tough, thriving in hot, dry locations and developing its strongest yellow colors.

Pruning and Maintenance

Untroubled by pests or diseases, deer and rabbits don’t touch the Sunjoy Citrus Barberry either. It stays neat and compact, but if you want perfect spheres, or a neat hedge, trim in early spring before the new growth comes, and again in early summer, to shorten the new shoots. That’s it – perfect neatness in minutes.

History and Origin of the Sunjoy® Citrus Barberry

The Japanese barberry, Berberis thunbergii, was introduced to Europe from Japan almost 250 years ago, and it has been widely grown since then. It was first grown for its blooms, and for a long time only plants with dark green leaves were available. Then purple-leaf forms were found, and today we have a whole range of colors available.

In 2003, as part of a breeding program to develop new color forms that were stress-resistant, Timothy Wood, of Spring Meadow Nursery, Inc. in Grand Haven, Michigan, collected some seed. He took it from a plant of the Golden Pygmy Barberry, which had been naturally pollinated by other surrounding varieties. In 2006 he studied the seedlings that had grown from this seed and selected one which had good yellow color and that was resistant to sun-scorch. After further testing he named it ‘Koren’ and patented it in 2014. It has been released as one of Spring Meadow’s Proven Winners® plants, as part of their Sunjoy® series of dwarf barberry plants.

Buying the Sunjoy® Citrus Barberry at The Tree Center

With its resistance to sun-scorch, the Sunjoy® Citrus Barberry brings you clean golden foliage all summer long, on a compact bush. You will enjoy having this touch of golden sunlight in your garden, but order your plants soon, because our stock is limited, and popular plants like this one sell out fast.

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.

Invasive Plant Info

Tier 2 Invasive Sign

Although Japanese Barberry is quite popular throughout the US, it is found to be invasive in a number of states including our home state of MD. Although it can be bought and planted it should be planted with caution. it is listed as a tier-2 invasive plant in Maryland.

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Sunjoy® Citrus Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'Koren' (PP# 24,818)

1 Review