Warted barberry, or berberis verruculosa, is a spiny, medium-sized evergreen shrub with oval leaves. The leaves are dark green on top, but white on the bottom. This slow-growing hedging plant with ‘warty’ stems originates from western China. It will grow happily in most well-drained sites in sun or partial shade – tolerating deep shade – but may have a hard time in very exposed locations.
Warted barberry is quite hardy and can tolerate temperatures down to -15°C. Flowering occurs in April-May, followed by dark purple fruits in June. Warted barberry is an ideal ground cover and lends itself perfectly as a low border hedge. This tough all-round plant is easily maintained and will use its vicious thorns to deter unwanted visitors, making it a very suitable security hedge, like most other varieties of evergreen barberry. Water the earth thoroughly before planting, but after that, no special care is needed.
Warted Barberry Intruder Hedges
As warted barberry grows a little bit taller than most other barberry varieties – it grows up to slightly over a metre in height – it may be the most suitable type of barberry for growing a security hedge. No animal will try to make its way through the sharp thorns of a warted barberry hedge and in addition, even the most audacious burglars will think twice before trying to jump over such a spiny hedge. These thorns are a blessing as well as a curse, because they make pruning a warted barberry hedge somewhat difficult. Fortunately, it is not absolutely necessary to trim this type of hedge, but removing dead or diseased branches every once in a while is recommended. With gloves and other protective clothing, this should be an easy and pain-free experience. This plant tolerates pruning very well.
Warted Barberry: Ornamental and Protective Hedges
That does not mean that the warted barberry does not have any ornamental value at all, however. The shiny leaves may not be big, but they look stunning and remain on the thorny branches even during the winter months. Some of the leaves may take on a red hue in the autumn, but that only enhances the appearance of this evergreen hedge plant. The yellow flowers that appear on the warted barberry in mid-spring add a charming character to this thorny plant. All of these qualities make warted barberry a plant that will protect and decorate your garden simultaneously.