Sunjoy Gold Pillar® Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'Maria' (PP# 18,082)

1 Review

Sunjoy Gold Pillar® Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'Maria' (PP# 18,082)

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


For a dynamic color in your garden, choose the Sunjoy Gold Pillar® Barberry. It forms a dense, tight column of upright branches, making a striking specimen reaching 3 to 4 feet in height, and only 2 feet wide. The leaves are bright, sunny yellow all spring and through summer too, before turning brilliant oranges and reds in fall. The foliage doesn’t burn in summer, even in hot and dry conditions, and this plant will always look great, with almost no attention. Use it around your home for color, in beds as specimens or groups, or as a hedge. Use it in planter boxes and tubs for color with other lower plants around it.

  • Striking upright columnar form
  • Brilliant golden leaves all spring and summer
  • Dynamic orange and bright red fall colors
  • Very easy to grow in poor soil and harsh locations
  • Needs almost no attention to thrive anywhere

The Sunjoy Gold Pillar® Barberry should be planted in full sun for the best color, and it thrives in any soil that is well-drained. That includes dry soils, gravels, urban conditions and garden soils of any type. Once established it is drought resistant, and untroubled by pests, diseases, deer or rabbits. Use some shrub fertilizer when growing in poor soil, and you can trim it into a hedge, or leave it to form a more casual one all by itself.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-7
Mature Width 1.5-2
Mature Height 3-4
Sun Needs Full Sun
Zones 4-7

Tough plants with brightly colored foliage are the way to go when you want a great garden, but don’t want to be trapped gardening. Instead of relying on a few weeks of blooms, use plants that are bright and colorful month after month. Barberries are one of the toughest shrubs you can plant, and they come in an amazing array of leaf colors, from dark purples to glowing yellows. Bright, sunny yellow will always give your garden a big lift, so add it with the Sunjoy Gold Pillar® Barberry, which makes a brilliant column of gold, never scorching in summer, and never turning green. It goes out with a bang in fall, turning brilliant orange-red. Branching freely from the base, with upright stems, it forms a tight pillar that is excellent as a specimen, or for making into low hedges.

Growing the Sunjoy Gold Pillar® Barberry

Size and Appearance

The Sunjoy Gold Pillar Barberry is an upright, deciduous shrub with many erect branches rising vertically from its base. It makes a dense bush, reaching 3 or 4 feet in height within a few years, but spreading no more than 2 feet wide. Growth is rapid, and new stems can be a full 12 inches long by fall. It’s striking column-like appearance really makes it stand out, and it is three-quarters of the way to making a hedge without any trimming at all. The stems are studded with small sharp thorns.

The leaves are rounded and in clusters along the stems. Each oval leaf is small and slightly glossy, with a smooth edge, and about 1 inch long. New leaves in spring are a bright golden yellow, clear and as bright as the sun. Mature summer leaves hold that color better than just about any other yellow barberry. All through summer this pillar of gold will blaze away in your garden, free of scorching and burning, something that is a real problem with many other golden barberry bushes. In fall the leaves turn brilliant shades of oranges and red, looking like they have been set on fire – it’s a great show.

In spring, tucked among the leaves, small yellow flowers form in older plants. They may not be noticed because they are the same color as the leaves. In fall, after the leaves are gone, you may get a surprise of bright red berries, in clusters. The birds love them as winter food.

Using the Sunjoy Gold Pillar® Barberry in Your Garden

Wherever you need long-term color, that is where to grow this plant. Use it as a striking specimen in a bed. Plant a cluster in the middle zone of larger beds for a sweep of gold. Plant it around your home. The thorny stems make this an excellent barrier plant for both four-legged and two-legged critters, and perfect for planting below vulnerable windows on your property. Get color and protection at the same time. Grow it as a hedge, spacing plants 18 inches apart in a uniform row. Minimal clipping is needed to keep it neat and narrow. Use this versatile shrub on banks and slopes, or in containers, surrounded by other colors such as blue, purple or silver.


The Sunjoy Gold Pillar Barberry is completely hardy throughout zone 4, and in all the cooler zones to zone 7 – a large part of the country. It is just as happy in humidity as it is in dry heat, and hot summers and cold winters are fine.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

To maintain its bright yellow coloring the Sunjoy Gold Pillar Barberry should be grown in full sun. Shade will turn the leaves to a chartreuse green. It grows well even in poor soils, including both heavy clays and dry gravels and sands. Urban soils are never a problem, just avoid any wet or low-lying areas, as wetness is not tolerated well by this plant.

Maintenance and Pruning

No special care is needed. The small leaves just disappear in fall, so you don’t even need to rake. With its naturally dense, upright growth there is no real need to trim, but you can trim in spring for a very neat appearance if you wish. If growing in poorer soils some shrub and tree fertilizer in spring will keep it vigorous. This plant is normally free from pests and diseases, and both deer and rabbits leave it alone.

History and Origin of the Sunjoy Gold Pillar® Barberry

The Japanese barberry, Berberis thunbergii, was brought from its home in China and Japan in 1875 by collectors from the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. It was a big hit for its flowers and berries, and for toughness, and soon forms with colored leaves were being developed by breeders all over the world. In 1998 Lucjan Kurowski and his son Grzegorz decided to breed a new barberry. They run the large Kuroswki Nursery in Konskowola, Poland. They collected berries from a variety called ‘Aurea’ and raised many seedlings to study. In 2001 they selected one, with great color and an upright form. They called it ‘Maria’ after Lucjan’s wife Marysia. For release in the USA it was patented in 2007 by Spring Meadow Nursery of Grand Haven, Michigan, who have given it the trademark name of Sunjoy Gold Pillar®.

Buying the Sunjoy Gold Pillar® Barberry at The Tree Center

We love these colorful barberry bushes – they are just so easy, and yet so bright. We find they sell quickly, so order yours now, while we can still send you this slice of sunlight for your garden.

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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Sunjoy Gold Pillar® Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'Maria' (PP# 18,082)

1 Review