Plant, Tree & Shrub Library

Golden Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'Aurea'

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Golden Barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Aurea') at Bachman's Landscaping

Golden Barberry

Golden Barberry

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  4 feet

Spread:  5 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  4


A very compact plant, great for detail use in the garden; amazing yellow foliage color all season long, great for color contrast in the mixed garden border

Ornamental Features

Golden Barberry has attractive yellow foliage throughout the season. The small oval leaves are highly ornamental and turn an outstanding burgundy in the fall. It has clusters of yellow flowers hanging below the branches in mid spring, which are interesting on close inspection. The fruits are showy red drupes displayed from early to late fall.

Landscape Attributes

Golden Barberry is a dense multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a more or less rounded form. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other landscape plants with less refined foliage.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and can be pruned at anytime. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spiny

Golden Barberry is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Golden Barberry will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 5 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Massing  Screening  Garden 
Flowers  Fruit  Foliage Color  Fall Color 
Ornamental Features