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Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea 'Chocolate Summer'PBR
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

A dense, rounded deciduous shrub about 1m tall or more, with dark, purple-brown leaves to 3cm long, covering reddish stems, and turning orange-red in autumn. Racemes of red-tinged, pale yellow flowers to 1cm long, produced along the branches in mid-spring, followed by glossy red fruit to 8mm long

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Size
Ultimate height
1–1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
1.5–2.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Yellow Purple Brown
Summer Purple Brown
Autumn Orange Red Red
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

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

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Berberidaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy, Spreading branched
Potentially harmful
Fruit are ornamental - not to be eaten. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
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

Accepted

How to grow

Cultivation

Tolerant of a range of soils and locations, but grows best in any well drained soil in full sun or partial shade, though flowering and fruiting are best in full sun. See berberis cultivation for further advice

Propagation

Propagate by softwood cuttings or semi-ripe cuttings in summer

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Coastal
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Patio and container plants
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Hedging and screens
Pruning

Pruning group 2; trim hedges after flowering

Pests

May be susceptible to aphids and berberis sawfly

Diseases

May be susceptible to powdery mildews and sometimes by honey fungus

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