Plant Encyclopedia

Daybreak Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'Daybreak' PP23,747

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Daybreak Barberry with bright yellow leafs

Discover More Information On Daybreak Barberry

Daybreak is a colorful, compact barberry that holds up remarkably well in warm climates. The foliage emerges orange-red and eventually matures to bright yellow-gold that doesn't burn or bleach in the summer heat. It forms a beautifully rounded mound that requires very little pruning. Daybreak has been fruitless to date. Bred by Plant Introductions, Inc.

Plant Attributes

The Daybreak Barberry (Berberis 'Daybreak') is a stunning deciduous shrub known for its vibrant foliage, compact growth habit, and adaptability to various environmental conditions. This attractive plant is a member of the Berberidaceae family and a cultivar of Berberis thunbergii, originating from Japan. With its striking appearance and low maintenance requirements, the Daybreak Barberry has become a popular choice for gardeners and landscape designers alike.

One of the most eye-catching attributes of the Daybreak Barberry is its foliage, which emerges in spring with a bright golden-yellow hue. As the season progresses, the leaves take on a fiery orange-red color, providing a dynamic and vivid display throughout the summer months. In autumn, the foliage transforms once again, this time into a deep, rich burgundy shade that serves as an excellent contrast to the surrounding landscape. This stunning color variation creates a visually captivating aesthetic that sets the Daybreak Barberry apart from other shrubs.

In addition to its vibrant foliage, the Daybreak Barberry boasts small, yellow flowers that bloom in the late spring. Although not particularly showy, these blooms serve as an attractive accent to the plant's foliage and provide a source of food for pollinators. Following the flowering period, bright red berries appear, persisting well into winter and providing sustenance for birds and other wildlife.

The Daybreak Barberry is a compact shrub, typically growing to a height and width of 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters). Its dense branching habit and small size make it an ideal choice for foundation plantings, low hedges, and mass plantings. The shrub is also well-suited for use in rock gardens, as a focal point in mixed borders, or as an accent plant in landscape designs.

One of the reasons for the Daybreak Barberry's popularity is its adaptability. This hardy shrub is tolerant of a wide range of soil types and conditions, from well-draining clay to sandy soils. It thrives in both full sun and partial shade, making it a versatile option for various garden settings. The Daybreak Barberry is also drought-tolerant and deer-resistant, which adds to its appeal for gardeners seeking low-maintenance plant options.

Landscape Use

The Daybreak Barberry's unique foliage, compact growth habit, and adaptability make it a popular and versatile choice for various landscaping uses. Its vibrant colors and year-round interest can enhance gardens and landscapes in several ways:

  1. Foundation plantings: Daybreak Barberry is an excellent choice for foundation plantings around homes and buildings. Its compact size and dense growth habit create a clean, well-manicured appearance, while the striking foliage adds visual interest and curb appeal.
  2. Low hedges and borders: This shrub's dense branching and manageable size make it ideal for creating low hedges and borders in gardens and along walkways or driveways. The eye-catching foliage offers a striking contrast against other green plants and adds depth to your landscape design.
  3. Mass plantings: Planting Daybreak Barberry in groups or masses can create a bold visual statement in your landscape. The vibrant colors create a striking effect, particularly when contrasted with plants that have darker or more muted foliage.
  4. Rock gardens: The Daybreak Barberry's hardy nature and adaptability to various soil types make it well-suited for rock gardens. The bright foliage adds a pop of color to the otherwise neutral tones found in rock gardens, creating visual interest and depth.
  5. Mixed borders: Incorporating Daybreak Barberry into mixed borders with perennials, grasses, and other shrubs can create a dynamic and visually appealing garden design. The shrub's vibrant foliage and compact size make it an excellent focal point or accent plant in these settings.
  6. Container plantings: Due to its compact size and adaptability, Daybreak Barberry can be successfully grown in containers. This allows for added versatility in landscaping, as the containers can be moved or rearranged to create different looks or accommodate seasonal changes.
  7. Wildlife gardens: The small, yellow flowers of Daybreak Barberry attract pollinators, while the bright red berries provide food for birds and other wildlife during the winter months. Including this shrub in a wildlife garden can help support local ecosystems and biodiversity.

Planting & Care

Planting and caring for Daybreak Barberry is relatively simple, as this hardy and adaptable shrub requires minimal maintenance. Follow these guidelines to ensure your Daybreak Barberry thrives in your garden:

  1. Plant selection: Choose a healthy Daybreak Barberry plant from a reputable nursery or garden center. Inspect the plant for signs of disease or pests before purchasing.
  2. Planting location: Select a location that receives full sun to partial shade, as the Daybreak Barberry can adapt to various light conditions. However, keep in mind that the foliage color may be more vibrant in full sun.
  3. Soil preparation: Daybreak Barberry can tolerate a wide range of soil types, from well-draining clay to sandy soils. Prepare the planting area by loosening the soil and amending it with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve fertility and drainage.
  4. Planting: Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and slightly deeper. Carefully remove the plant from its container, gently loosen the roots, and place it in the hole. Fill the hole with soil, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil. Water thoroughly to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets.
  5. Watering: Daybreak Barberry is drought-tolerant once established but will benefit from regular watering during its first growing season. Ensure the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged. Once established, water the plant as needed, particularly during periods of prolonged drought.
  6. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or bark, around the base of the plant. This will help to retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
  7. Fertilizing: Fertilize Daybreak Barberry annually in early spring, using a balanced slow-release fertilizer. Follow the package instructions for the appropriate application rate.
  8. Pruning: Prune Daybreak Barberry in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. Remove any dead, damaged, or crossing branches to maintain the plant's shape and encourage healthy growth. This shrub can also be pruned more aggressively to maintain a specific size or form, such as a low hedge.
  9. Pest and disease control: Daybreak Barberry is relatively pest- and disease-resistant. However, it's essential to monitor the plant for any signs of infestation or illness. Address issues promptly using appropriate cultural, biological, or chemical controls, as needed.

Additional Information

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Daybreak Barberry


Plant Features

  • Height: 1.5'
  • Width: 1.5-2'
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-7
  • Heat Zone: 8
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Habit: Compact, Mounded

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