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Berberidopsis - Growing Guide
Growing Berberidopsis corallina
This evergreen and very beautiful Chilean climber has grown with us for 70 to 80 years on a low mouse wired plant nursery fence which it covers completely. As its name seems to imply it was thought to be closely related to the berberis family in the appearance and shape of its flowers. This is no longer thought to be the case and its closest plant relatives are now believed to be azara and idesia.
Berberidopsis has ovate younger leaves which become heart shaped in maturity. Its flowers are rounded, dark red, and about half an inch across. They appear in clusters of two or three on older wood and in long terminal racemes of up to 20 flowers from the newer growth. The plant flowers right through the summer and, progressively, on into autumn. We have seen odd flower in our elderly hedge from May to October which is a pretty impressive performance for any climbing plant.
Berberidopsis is entirely hardy and will tolerate plenty of shade. Its leaves can yellow a bit in full sun on a hot wall so put it in what would be the worst place for most climbers.
A good mulch and fertile soil will quickly result in exponential growth. Pruning is only necessary where the new growth tendrils get out of hand as they will.
Propagation by layering, softwood cuttings or from seed in a cold frame in the spring is fairly easy. Younger plants do not produce seed with us but our elderly plant does although not in any great quantity and it ripens late.