Sunjoy® Tangelo Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'O'Byrne' (PP# 26,546)

Sunjoy® Tangelo Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'O'Byrne' (PP# 26,546)


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® Tangelo Barberry has some of the most colorful leaves of any shrub. The new growth is an almost fluorescent bright orange, turning to a deeper orange-red as it matures. The glossy oval leaves develop a fine edging of light yellow as they mature, bringing a wonderful sparkle to this vigorous shrub. It quickly grows to 3 or 4 feet tall, and it makes a wonderful feature plant in a bed, alone or in a group. Plant it around your home, for color, or make a hedge with it anywhere you need one.

  • Vibrant orange leaves on new growth
  • Leaves mature to a deeper orange-red with a narrow yellow border
  • Vigorous, fast-growing plant
  • Resistant to cold, heat and drought
  • Superb for accents and eye-catching features

Always plant the Sunjoy® Tangelo Barberry in full sun, to keep the leaves brightly colored all season. This reliable and vigorous plant grows in any well-drained soil, including sandy gravels, heavy clays, and poor urban soils. It is both cold hardy and very drought resistant, once established. Normally it is pest and disease free and both deer and rabbits leave it alone. Its spiny stems make it a good impenetrable barrier. Trim as needed or leave to grow naturally – almost no care is needed to succeed with this colorful plant.

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

Sometimes we are simply amazed at the brilliance some plants can deliver. We get so used to green leaves, or dark red ones, that when we see something truly vibrant, we are just blown away. That was how we felt first seeing the Sunjoy® Tangelo Barberry. The fluorescent rich orange of the leaves is one of the most vibrant we have ever seen, rivalling the best fall colors, but happening in spring. We were charmed too when the leaves developed a neat yellow edging later, adding a sparkle and refinement to that ‘blow me away’ color. When you consider that this is all happening on a vigorous, tough shrub that is both cold hardy, and drought-resistant, and one that is stronger and easier to grow than most other barberries with colored leaves, then there is only one thing left to say – grow it.

Growing the Sunjoy® Tangelo Barberry

Size and Appearance

The Sunjoy Tangelo Barberry is a vigorous deciduous shrub, growing 3 to 4 feet tall and wide in just a few years. It is densely branched, with a strong habit that keeps new growth coming and coming. When the new shoots and leaves develop in spring, they are a brilliant and vibrant deep orange – a unique and special color for barberries. This color strengthens and deepens as the season progresses, becoming redder and richer. As well, by early summer, a fine light yellow to chartreuse edging develops on each oval leaf, which becomes more pronounced and noticeable as summer passes. In full sun these rich colors hold all the way into the fall, making this one of the brightest and most reliable of all the shrubs with colored foliage.

In April and May on established plants you will see a bright display of small golden-yellow flowers, hanging in clusters of 4 to 8, all along the stems. These sparkle among the orange leaves, adding even more brightness and color. Flowering lasts 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the weather, and over summer clusters of small berries develop, which by fall, and after the leaves are gone, are bright red. These are very attractive to birds, but they will last for several weeks, adding color to early winter, before they are taken by your local wildlife.

Using the Sunjoy® Tangelo Barberry in Your Garden

With its bright, persistent coloring, this shrub is a wonderful choice for accents in beds with other shrubs. If your garden is boring green, liven it up instantly with a specimen or two of this easy plant. Use it singly in smaller beds, and in groups of 3 or 5 in larger ones. There are short sharp spines along the stems, making this a great barrier plant. Keep out both four-legged and two-legged intruders with a solid hedge, or plant it beneath vulnerable windows.

Use the Sunjoy Tangelo Barberry to make a beautiful hedge along a path or driveway, or to separate one part of the garden from another. It trims easily and trimming encourages bright new growth, keeping it always colorful.


The Sunjoy Tangelo Barberry is completely hardy in zone 4, and it grows well everywhere except in zone 9 – so wherever you are, this plant is for you.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

The Sunjoy Tangelo Barberry needs a position in full sun to give its best and brightest. If you grow it in shade the new growth will soon become yellow-green, so give it as many hours of direct sun as you can. Any well-drained soil suits it, including dry gravels and sands, as well as clay and poor urban soils. Avoid wet spots. Dryness doesn’t bother it, once it has had a few months to become established. It is ideal for those open, sunny places where other plants wilt and fail – in fact, those conditions make for the brightest colors.

Pruning and Maintenance

Even deer and rabbits leave the Sunjoy Tangelo Barberry alone, and ordinary pests and diseases don’t normally bother it. It is also very suitable for rural areas, as it is resistant to Wheat Rust, so it won’t help spread that disease around.

You can trim this plant pretty much anytime, if you want to. Spring, just before the new growth begins, is ideal, with a second clip once the new growth has matured in early summer, to encourage a fresh crop of brilliant leaves. Older plants can have a few of their oldest stems removed low down, to rejuvenate your bushes.

History and Origin of the Sunjoy® Tangelo Barberry

The Japanese barberry, Berberis thunbergii, was originally a green-leafed plant when it was brought to Europe almost 250 years ago. It was first grown for its golden flowers and red berries, but today we mostly enjoy it for the wide range of leaf colors that are available.

In 2003, Ernest O’Byrne, a plant breeder with Spring Meadow Nursery, Inc. in Grand Haven Michigan, crossed together a yellow-leaf Japanese barberry called ‘Aurea’ with a pink-leaf one called ‘Rose Glow’. Among the seedlings he found one unique plant that he called ‘O’Byrne’, and it was patented in 2016. It has been released by Spring Meadow, under their Proven Winners® program, as Tangelo, in their Sunjoy® collection of colorful barberry plants.

Buying the Sunjoy® Tangelo Barberry at The Tree Center

We know you will love the brilliance of this plant, as we did, and it has reviewers everywhere adoring it. Order now, because plants like this just fly out of the farm, and they are gone almost as soon as we receive them. Don’t hesitate – this one is a winner.

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® Tangelo Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'O'Byrne' (PP# 26,546)