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Genus Physocarpus (Ninebark)

Physocarpus Physocarpus opulifolius 'Center Glow' Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Harold Pellett, the Landscape Plant Development Center
fy-so-KAR-pus Common Name: Ninebark
This genus of fewer than a dozen shrubs is grown for its peeling bark, attractive leaves, and cup-shaped white flowers. Some ninebarks are native to North America. Use them as a hedge or screen, in a shrub border, or in a naturalized planting.
Care: Provide full sun or partial shade and acidic, rich, moist but well-drained soil.
Propagation: Start seeds indoors in spring or fall, or take cuttings in summer.
Problems: Relatively problem-free, but leaf spots, fireblight, powdery mildew, and witches' broom sometimes occur.

Species, varieties and cultivars for genus Physocarpus

Physocarpus opulifolius 'Center Glow' Physocarpus opulifolius 'Center Glow'
(Ninebark)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This ninebark's new leaves unfurl a golden yellow and then mature to a rosy red-burgundy. Clusters of white blooms accompany the dramatic foliage in early summer, followed by bright red seedheads that fade to tan. 'Center Glow' is a fast grower and an ideal candidate for mixed borders or foundation plantings. It grows to 8 to 10 feet tall and almost as wide. In winter, the older stems have attractive peeling bark.

Physocarpus opulifolius 'Monlo' Physocarpus opulifolius 'Monlo'
(Diabolo® ninebark)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

With its upright, arching branches and dark chocolate to purple foliage, Diabolo® ninebark offers a color contrast with silver-leaved plants and makes a fine backdrop hedge. Clusters of button-like, pinkish white flowers appear in summer. Even when they fade to a tawny tone, they stand out nicely against the dark leaves. -Chris McKernan, Regional Picks: Lower Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120

Physocarpus opulifolius 'Seward' Physocarpus opulifolius 'Seward'
(Summer Wine ninebark)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Many gardeners know ninebark as an undistinguished shrub with ordinary green leaves, white flowers, and fall fruit. But 'Seward,' sold under the trademark name Summer WineTM, has outstanding burgundy leaves and pink flowers that bloom in early summer. This plant is super tough and makes a stunning focal point in a summer border.

Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Nugget’ Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Nugget’
('Nugget' ninebark)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

The yellow to lime green foliage of 'Nugget' ninebark makes an interesting contrast with the exfoliating, cinnamon-colored bark. Clusters of white flowers appear along the stems in early summer, followed by dark brown seed capsules, which add winter interest. Unsheared, the plant has a vase-shaped growth habit. -David Graper, Regional Reports: Upper Plains, Fine Gardening issue #122