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Berberis aetnensis

Mount Etna barberry

This small, scrubby, deciduous, dwarf species of Barberry grows to about 2 ft high and has crooked branches and is suitable for the rock or alpine garden. Its leaves are small, oval shaped, sometimes toothed or with bristles and it is quite thorny having three-parted spines, sometimes over 1 inch long. It has pretty small yellow flowers in late spring, in short clusters 3⁄4 to 1 1⁄4 inch long, carrying six to sometimes fifteen individual little flowers. The little berry like fruits are red turning red-black when fully ripe.

Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained, Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Yellow Green Grey Silver
Summer Yellow Green Grey Silver
Autumn Green Grey Silver Yellow Red
Winter Red Black
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

East–facing or North–facing or South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Berberidaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Berberis can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs with spiny shoots bearing simple, often spine-toothed leaves, and small yellow or orange flowers in axillary clusters or racemes, followed by small berries

Name status

Correct

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How to grow

Cultivation

Grows in well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade.

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in early spring. Many species can cross freely in gardens, so seed-raised plants can often be hybrids. Take semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Coastal
  • Rock garden
  • Mediterranean climate plants
  • Gravel garden
  • Low Maintenance
  • Banks and slopes
  • Ground cover
Pruning

Pruning group 8

Pests

May be susceptible to aphids and to berberis sawfly

Diseases

May be susceptible to Powdery mildews.

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