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Dying Berberis

I had a beautiful Berberis Thunderbergii Pink Queen that has lost all of its leaves. I'm a complete beginner gardener and would love some advice (or at least some hope that all is not lost!)

Its a newish plant and I confess that I didn't repot as soon as I brought it home (I've just got a yard).  Is it beyond hope or shall I look after it in the hope the leaves grow back? The stem at the bottom does look a bit dead but not sure if that's normal. 

It was in a partially shaded area and started to look sad after we had all that sun a few weeks back so I can't work out if it had too little sun or too little water or was just unhappy in the pot. 

I've bought a larger pot but before I repot is there hope it will bounce back and what can I do to help it? 


  • I suspect it shed its leaves due to drought. Berberis have fibrous roots and are often rather pot bound when purchased. To double check if it's alive, gently scrape the bark away and if it's green beneath it is not dead. I would pot on into a larger pot (wider and deeper) using a loam-based compost (John Innes No.3). 
  • Thank you so much Rachel!! And thanks for such a quick reply!!!
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    Berberis do this sometimes when they are really stressed. If you have to keep it in a container, choose a really big one, a half barrel, or something like that. The first thing I would do is stand your plant in a tub of water- it may float! - for at least half an hour. When you plant it, open up the root ball VERY gently to allow the roots to explore outwards. It should be fine.
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