Plant Preview

Welcome to Plant Preview, a blog dedicated to helping gardeners learn about gardening techniques and preview new plant cultivars. Read about new plants here first and hear how your "comrades in compost" are making use of new plant introductions in their gardens and landscapes. Blog author Geri Laufer is a life-long dirt gardener, degreed horticulturist, author and former County Extension Agent. Plant Preview is copyrighted by Geri Laufer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pillars of Landscape Color & Grace: Golden Rocket & Orange Rocket Barberry

 Unique Columnar Shrubs with Brilliant Color are the Shape of Things to Come!

Two great new Barberry hybrids are rocketing onto the landscape scene.  Garden Debut® is pleased to announce two outstanding introductions from breeder Michal Andrusiv in the Czech Republic being grown for Plant Haven, Inc.:  Golden Rocket and Orange Rocket Barberries. Both Golden Rocket and Orange Rocket may be used as either a specimen or border plant.  Their bright unique colors work well in most landscapes, plus they have tight upright habits in contrast to other similar plants. These two barberries are rocketing to fame after extensive trials throughout the U.S. demonstrated that they perform exceptionally well in U.S.D.A. Climate Zones 4 through 9. As with all new barberries, the varieties were held in quarantine for wheat rust testing at the USDA Cereal Disease Laboratory in Minnesota for more than 2 years and both are certified rust resistant.

Golden Rocket Barberry (PP#18626) This rocket-shaped barberry ascends in a unique narrow upright or tight columnar habit, ultimately reaching 5 feet tall by only 2 feet wide. Bright golden yellow foliage with contrasting coral colored stems in summer provides a golden specimen plant for the landscape, or adds height when placed in the mixed border, while the foliage turns to orange-red in autumn and is deciduous in early winter. Pale yellow, insignificant flowers in spring are attractive to pollinators and are followed by bright red berries in fall, without viable seed set.  

Orange Rocket Barberry (PP#18411) Soaring to even greater heights at the Oregon Association of Nurserymen’s Far West Show, Orange Rocket Barberry was awarded Best Shrub for 2010.  Orange Rocket has a tight missile-shaped habit, ultimately reaching 6 – 8 feet in height but only 2 feet in width in ten years. Plants have vibrant coral-orange new foliage that matures to mid-green. In early summer, pale yellow flowers are followed by small, crimson red berries that do not set viable seed. By autumn, the foliage is bright orange-red; for best foliage color, grow in full sun.

For more information on Yellow Rocket Barberry (PP18626) or Orange Rocket Barberry (PP18411) and other superior plant introductions brought to gardeners by Garden Debut®, visit To set-up an interview contact Jim Thompson toll-free at 877-663-5053 or
Statistics Chart Yellow Rocket Barberry (PP18626) (Berberis thunbergii 'Yellow Rocket'),   Orange Rocket Barberry (PP18411), (Berberis thunbergii 'Orange Rocket')
Plant Category:
 Deciduous Woody shrubs
Mature Height:
Golden Rocket to 5 feet tall
Orange Rocket to 8 feet tall 
Mature Spread:
Both cultivars are only 2 feet in width even after 10 years
Mature Form:
Upright, compact, columnar, deciduous shrubs befitting their name
Brown branches, deeply grooved, somewhat zig-zag in form and bearing a single sharp spine at each leaf node. 
Growth Rate:
Moderate, low maintenance, durable, no serious pests, rust resistant
Sun Exposure:
Full sun for best leaf color, will grow in partial shade
Soil Type:
Widely adaptable, Loam, Sand or Clay
Soil Moisture:
Well-drained; adaptable to drought when established
Pale yellow insignificant flowers, attractive to pollinators
Crimson berries without viable seed set, therefore not invasive
Summer Leaf Color:
Golden Rocket:  Day-Glo Golden Yellow maturing to chartreuse green
Orange Rocket: Flaming coral-red with torch-like fall color
Fall Color:
Lovely red-orange fall color, becoming deciduous in early winter
pH Level:
5.5 – 7.5
Hardiness Zones:
4 – 9, includes nearly all of the continental U.S.
Landscape Impact:
Colorful columns of color in the landscape, provides a vertical element in mixed borders or as specimen plants for interest  
Lifetime Breeder Michal Andresiv in the Czech Republic through Plant Haven, Inc.
When performance counts, use Garden Debut®’s great new plants. 
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  1. This was SO helpful, thank you!

  2. Thanks, Tami! glad you were able to find our blog.