The actual horticulture name for the Burning Bush Shrub is berberis thunbergii atropurpurea. Most nurseryman and horticulturists also refer to it as Redleaf Barberry Hedge.
The Burning Bush Shrub begins in spring with glossy purple-red foliage. As temperatures warm by summer, the foliage color becomes deeper. It is in autumn when temperatures cool that the resemblance to a burning bush appears.
In fall, the Redleaf Barberry turns a flaming scarlet-orange color that from a distance honestly looks like it is aflame. The Burning Bush plant can be trimmed or left to grow naturally to a height of about five feet.
If it is to be trimmed, the ideal compact height is about two to three feet. This is hardy, vigorous plant unchallenged by changes in temperature and adapts well to any soil. As the growing season winds down, Burning Bush Shrubs produce bright red berries in winter.
Healthy Burning Bush Shrubs should be planted about one and a half feet apart. These plants prefer full to partial sun and can be propagated by separating one or more of the plant offshoots that emerge from the base of the plant. They grow best in Growing Zones 4 to 9.
Burning Bush Shrubs – The Ideal Hedge
To enhance the vivid color of Burning Bush Shrubs, plant rows of them under windows, at fence lines or as natural fences at the edge of property lines. Since these plants can be trimmed, they can also be shaped into elegant designs.
Certain varieties of Burning Bush Shrubs have been cultivated to provide lush green foliage in the summer, fiery red leaves in autumn and red berries in winter. Some types of Burning Bush plants have small, prickly thorns. The thorns make great protection from burglaries when planted under windows.
These plants require very little care. However, as with most hedge plants, don’t over-water or the roots of these plants begin to soften and rot. In arid areas, keep the soil moist to the touch for best results.
More Ideas to Set a Landscape “Aflame”
Burning Bush plants can also be planted between evergreen trees. Wherever a little color is needed to break up the monotony of healthy green foliage, rely on Burning Bush Shrubs to add just the right touch.
Allow them to grow into their natural shape, and they soon sprout into mounds of bright red that creates excellent curb appeal. Plant them as border hedges with taller plants or use them to accent bare corners of the landscape. Turn a bleak winter landscape into brilliant scarlet. When the snowflakes fall, the scene looks fantastic.
To add interest to Burning Bush Shrubbery, curve the hedge about five feet from the end of the last plant on either end. This creates an enclosure that will keep out unwanted pests like squirrels from access to the property. A Burning Bush hedge is also an excellent way to keep family pets inside the property lines due to the density of the fence.