Crimson Pygmy Barberry Shrubs

Berberis thunbergii 'Crimson Pygmy'

Known for its burgundy foliage during the summer and fall, the Crimson Pygmy Barberry shrub adds superb contrast to green and gold-colored plants. Also known as the Japanese Barberry, this evergreen bush grows compact in full sun or part shade. Crimson Pygmy adapts to all landscapes, and looks great in mass planting for low hedges or borders. During the fall, red-orange berries appear on this ornamental shrub which attract birds. This plant is easy to care for as it prefers full sun and dry soil, and is deer resistant.

Growzone: 4-8

As Low As $29.95
1. Choose Size & Quantity
Size Price Quantity
1 Gallon Pot $29.95
3 Gallon Pot $56.95
2. Choose Recommended Add-Ons
Product Price Quantity
Espoma Bio-Tone Plus Starter Plus $16.95
Soil Soaker Hose by Green Thumb $18.95

California Residents: This product can not be shipped to California at this time. Browse products that can be shipped to California here.

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This Plants Growzone: 4-8
Growing Zone: 4-8
Mature Height: 2 to 3 Feet
Mature Width: 2 to 3 Feet
Classification: Broad leaved shrub
Sunlight: Partial to full sun
Habit: Rounded mounding habit
Foliage: Deep red
Flower Color: Inconspicuous
Pruning Season: Best pruned in late winter before new growth emerges to maintain shape
Soil Condition: Any well drained slightly acidic soil
Water Requirements: Water well until established
Uses: Full sun brings out the best foliage color. Will adapt to drier sites

Crimson Pygmy Barberry Shrubs for Sale Online


Crimson Pygmy Barberry Shrubs are a dwarfed and densely branched form of ornamental Barberry shrub. Known as the Japanese Barberry, this evergreen shrub displays deep crimson-colored foliage all season long. The best color is achieved when planted in full sun or part shade and in dry to medium, well-drained soil. This deer-resistant bush provides excellent color contrast against green or gold-leaved plants.

An abundance of light-yellow flowers appear in mid-spring, and bright-red berries tend to appear in the fall. The Crimson Pygmy grows in compact size which makes it perfect for small spaces or planted in mass for border landscaping.

  • Insect and deer resistant
  • Pollution, salt, and drought tolerant
  • Compact and round growth habit

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Planting Information

Before you buy a Crimson Pygmy Barberry Shrub, make sure to read about the care instructions that
are required and recommended to keep this plant healthy and thriving.

How do I water Crimson Pygmy Barberry Shrubs?

How do I water Crimson Pygmy Barberry Shrubs?

After back-filling and lightly compacting the 50/50 mix of existing soil and compost give the Crimson Barberry a good, deep watering. This is not to be rushed. Most of the water you put on the plant at first will run away from the plant until the soil is soaked. A general rule of thumb is to count to 5 for every one gallon of pot size. For example, a one gallon pot would be watered until you count to 5, a three gallon pot would be 15, and so on. Check the plant daily for the first week or so and then every other day there after. Water using the counting method for the first few weeks. A Treegator Jr. Pro bag can be used to help aid in this process and also provide plants with a good soaking due to the slow release of the water into the root-zone of the plant. Soaker hoses can also be used to water when planting a long hedge.

How do I mulch Barberry Crimson Pygmy?

How do I mulch Barberry Crimson Pygmy?

We highly recommend that you mulch your Crimson Pygmy Barberry Shrub with either ground hardwood mulch or cypress mulch depending on your local availability. Any type of mulch will do, but cypress or hardwood mulch will be of a higher quality and provide better nutrition overall as they break down. Mulching helps keep weeds away that will compete with your new investment for water and nutrients. A 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch is sufficient, but don’t cover any part of the stem of the plant with mulch. It's better to leave a one-inch gap of space between the mulch and the stem or trunk of the plant.

How do I fertilize Crimson Barberry?

How do I fertilize Crimson Barberry?

Apply an early spring fertilizer with a product such as Espoma Tree-tone or Plant-tone at the recommended rate. This will give the plant a boost of nitrogen that will be needed for healthy abundant foliage. Follow this up with an early summer application of Espoma Flower-tone, this will provide the necessary nutrients and raise the acid level in the soil which Barberries favor. Espoma products are easy to use, just sprinkle around the base of the plant and water it in. Be careful with products such as miracle-grow as these products can burn newly planted plants when not used at the recommended rates. Slow-release fertilizer can help prevent rapid sucker growth that is vulnerable to diseases and insects. Since an organic method of applying manure and/or compost around the roots, produces excellent results and also improves the condition of the soil, this would be an excellent first line of attack. Organic additions to the soil can also be combined with a shot of chemical fertilizer for maximum effect. If chemical fertilizers are used on your Barberry Crimson Pygmy, applying a slow-release, balanced fertilizer once a year in the spring is probably the most simple solution. There are many slow-release fertilizers on the market. If you can find a fertilizer formulated for shrubs and trees, this fertilizer would work well on Crimson Pygmy. However, slow-release is certainly not the only way to fertilize barberries such as Pygmy Barberry. A less expensive fast release fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 will work just as well if applied twice during the early spring and early summer.

If you are looking for a fertilizing routine tailored to your specific conditions, a soil sample should be collected, and the fertilizer and trace elements should match the needs of your soil. Don't fertilize Crimson Barberry after August. Fall is the time for shrubs to begin preparing for dormancy. Fertilizing at this time may stimulate new growth that will be too tender to withstand the winter. In the South, a late May application and another in July would be about right. More northern areas may wish to fertilize only once in Early April or May. The amount of chemical fertilizer used per plant will vary with the size of the plant and its root system. Over-fertilization can be much more detrimental than under-fertilization. "Fertilizer burn" can occur when too much fertilizer is applied, resulting in a drying or damaging to the roots or even death of the Crimson Pygmy Barberry Shrub. It is much, much better to err on the side of too little fertilizer than too much. When roots are burned, the first sign is often scorched looking leaves. If over-fertilization is severe, the plant may just wilt and die. If you are a beginning gardener growing plants like Crimson Pygmy is very easy to grow however it may be helpful to know that a very small plant which is planted in the ground will take about 1/8 - 1/4 cup of fertilizer such as Espoma Organic Shrub-tone. When fertilizing Crimson Barberry Shrubs in pots, be careful to apply a fertilizer that will not burn the roots (such as a slow release or a liquid fertilizer). A very large shrub in the ground will take 2 - 3 cups spread around the drip line of the branches (not next to the trunk). This is a very loose estimate, so please read the directions on the fertilizer before applying it. Never fertilize a plant with a chemical fertilizer if the plant looks sick or wilted. If a plant is struggling due to a disease or root problems, the fertilizer will only add stress to its life. Try to cure the problem before adding fertilizer.

How do I plant Japanese Barberry?

How do I plant Japanese Barberry?

We suggest when planting your newly purchased Crimson Pygmy Barberry plants that you dig a hole twice as wide as the root system, but not deeper. Depending on the quality of your existing soil, you may need to add a locally-sourced compost or topsoil to the backfill soil. We do not recommend using straight topsoil or compost as a backfill soil for Crimson Pygmy Barberries because more times than not these products will retain entirely too much moisture and will cause the root system to rot. Adding compost or topsoil will help the young feeder roots of Crimson Pygmy spread through the loose, nutrient-rich soil much easier. The most common cause of plant death after transplanting is planting the new plant too deep. That is why we do not recommend planting in a hole any deeper than the soil line of the plant in the pot. A good rule is that you should still be able to see the soil the plant was grown in after back-filling the hole. Bio-tone Starter Fertilizer is a great starter fertilizer that provides plants with mycorrhizae fungus. It is a naturally-occurring, beneficial fungus that colonizes on the new growing roots of plants. It creates a barrier between the roots of the plant and fungus and pathogens that can cause root rot. We love this product and use it on all plants we install in our own gardens. Bio-tone is a gardener's best friend and can help guarantee your success.


Frequently Asked questions

How do I prune Barberry Crimson Pygmy Shrubs?


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