Berberis thunbergii 'Admiration'
Admiration Barberry is a shrub that is guaranteed to make you do a double take! Admiration Barberry lives up to its name, producing a truly remarkable color display. Bright red leaves are edged in neon yellow, holds color well through the summer. This barberry is excellent for mass plantings and stands out as an accent plant. Either way, Admiration Barberry is sure to capture attention!
|Mature Height:||1.5 to 2.5 feet|
|Mature Width:||1.5 to 2.5 feet|
|Classification:||Broad Leaved deciduous shrub|
|Sunlight:||Partial to full sun|
|Habit:||Rounded mounding habit|
|Foliage:||Burgundy and yellow margin|
|Pruning Season:||Best pruned in late winter before new growth emerges to maintain shape|
|Water Requirements:||Tolerates slightly moist soil and partial shade or full sun. Full sun brings out the best foliage color. Will adapt to drier sites.|
We suggest when planting your newly purchased Admiration 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 back-fill soil. We do not recommend using straight topsoil or compost as a back-fill soil because more times than not these products will retain entirely to much moisture and will cause the root system to rot. Adding compost or topsoil will help the young feeder roots of Admiration Barberry to spread through the loose, nutrient rich soil, much easier than if you used solely the existing soil which more times than not will be hard and compacted. The most common cause of plant death after transplanting is planting the new plant to 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 gardeners best friend and can help guarantee your success.
How do you prune Admiration Barberry?
Admiration Barberry willow take to pruning and shearing very well, to either promote good color or maintain a manageable size. Pruning should be done while dormant, in either late winter or VERY early spring before any growth begins. You may hard prune it down to about 12” every few years, which will produce a lot of regrowth and a very dense plant. If you prefer a more open and natural form, simply remove up to one third of the branches down to the ground each year or two. By thinning rather than shearing you will have an 3 foot tall and wide, elegant mound of gorgeous deep red foliage. Or shear as needed to maintain size, or every 4-6 weeks to produce new colorful growth. Eventually your Admiration Barberry will develop thick central branches that become trunk-like, particularly if you are not pruning hard every year. Growth will be dense to the ground. Maintenance pruning is generally necessary as twigs develop up the length of the bared trunks. If there are too many main trunks, a few may be pruned out completely depending on the form you desire. Pruning has been described as a “combination of art and science.” I find pruning to be one of the most relaxing yet rewarding chores in the garden. Pruning a specific plant to look a specific way, involves art in creating a unique definition for a specific plant, and it involves science in understanding the physical growing habits of the plant to be pruned. The most important reason for pruning Admiration Barberry is to improve the overall health of the plant which in turn will reward you with a brilliant display of tri colored foliage. Many times, Admiration Barberry that have not been pruned in a few years will develop dead or degenerative twigs. Removing the dead and dying limbs will minimize the possibility of diseases such as “die-back” and will also allow the plant to re-concentrate its energies and produce flowers. Another reason for pruning Admiration Barberry such as many times, a plant may outgrow its intended size in the landscape, and must be pruned to re-define its purpose. Pruning should always be associated with re-invigorating a plant by allowing it to focus its energies on producing more vigorous branches, foliage, and flowers. Specific plant objectives require specific pruning techniques. If an Admiration Barberry is being trained as a hedge , it would need to be pruned differently than if it were being grown as a shrub form. Screenings and hedges of barberries would need to be pruned for their specific purpose within the landscape. It is also important to understand the specific growing characteristic of a certain barberries when pruning that particular plant. It is important to always use sharp tools when pruning Admiration Barberry or any plant for that matter. Knives, hand cutters, saws, and shears should be sharpened if necessary before pruning any plant. A sharp cut will heal quicker than a jagged cut, which will also minimize the likelihood of disease investing a cut during pruning. It is generally recommended by me to not use power equipment such as gas hedgers to prune plants. Pruning large Admiration Barberry may be minor or major. Its general purpose is to maintain or restore vigor to the plant. Large Admiration Barberry that have been severely pruned have the advantage of a large root system that has excessive capacity, and its roots are capable of supplying all of its energies to a smaller number of branches and foliage. This enables the plant to increase its vigor, and become healthier. Pruning large barberries that are well established will enable the plant to have continued vigor, and lead to many more years of supplying beauty to the landscape.
How do you fertilize Admiration 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 a 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 Admiration Barberry, applying a slow-release, balanced fertilizer once a year in the spring is probably the simplest 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 Admiration Barberry. However, slow-release is certainly not the only way to fertilizer barberries such as Admiration 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 taken and the fertilizer and trace elements matched to the needs of your soil. Don't fertilize Admiration 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 it's 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 out of the roots and damage or even death of the Admiration Barberry. 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 Admiration Barberry 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 Admiration Barberry 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 it's life. Try to cure the problem before adding fertilizer.
Understanding Fertilizer Labels:
When looking at most fertilizers, they are described by three numbers on the bag. An example would be 10-10-10 or 12-4-8. The first of these three numbers refers to Nitrogen, which is the primary element necessary for good, balanced growth within the Admiration Barberry. Plants that are deficient in Nitrogen are usually not growing vigorously, and sometimes exhibit pale colored foliage. Not all Nitrogen deficiencies result in stunted growth. Sometimes, the growth is taller and longer with less than desirable branching when Nitrogen is deficient. The second number in the fertilizer equation is representative of Phosphorus. A deficiency of Phosphorus may affect the energy transfer in the plant, and result in stunted growth as well. Also, plants with insufficient amounts of Phosphorus may have poorer root systems. Potassium is the element represented by the third number on the fertilizer bag. Plants that are deficient in Potassium, are usually growing more slowly than normal, have fewer flowers and seed, and are more susceptible to disease than plants with adequate levels of Potassium. Although the three elements just mentioned are the major elements necessary for good plant performance, there some minor elements that are just as important in consideration of barberry nutrition. Minor elements that are not included in the three numbers listing on the front of fertilizer bags are very important considerations when choosing your plant fertilizer. Elements such as Magnesium, Sulfur, Calcium, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Boron, and Molybdenum play very important roles in providing Barberries with adequate nutrition. Many times, less expensive fertilizers are sold that contain only the major elements needed, but not the minor elements. Always be sure to look on the fertilizer label on the back of the bag to see exactly what is included in the fertilizer. In choosing the basic type of fertilizer for your Admiration Barberry, it is important to determine what you want your Admiration Barberry to do. If your plants are well established, and you are not concerned about more growth, choose a fertilizer that has a smaller first number, and a larger second and third number. When you have selected your fertilizer and are ready to apply it, be sure to rake your mulch back to the drip line of each plant. Apply the fertilizer according to the label directions immediately on top of the soil, and be sure to water the plant thoroughly after the application. You can then rake the mulch back around the base of the Admiration Barberry. Although it is tempting to spend less time by not raking the mulch back during fertilization, the results will be less than desirable, if the fertilizer is applied on top of the mulch. Proper fertilization of your Admiration Barberry will lead to healthier and more disease resistant plants, as well as provide you with many more enjoyable vivid colored foliage. Always, read the label on your fertilizer bag, and follow the instructions.
What is the best mulch to use with Admiration Barberry?
We highly recommend that you mulch your Admiration Barberry with either a ground hardwood mulch or a ground 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 breakdown. Mulching helps to keep weeds away which will compete with your new investment for water and nutrients. A 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch is sufficient but remember to take care not to cover any part of the stem of the plant with mulch. Its better to leave a one inch gap of space between the mulch and the stem or trunk of the plant.
How do you water Admiration Barberry?
After back filling and lightly compacting the 50/50 mix of existing soil and compost give the Admiration 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. Gator bag Jr. 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.