Loma Vista Nursery News

Plant Species Highlight

When it comes to ninebark, no two shrubs are created equal. Miniature, colorful and compact varieties offer versatility, adaptability and disease resistance, providing for wide applications in modern residential and commercial landscapes.

Lucky Devil® Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘ZLEMICHAEL’) – First Editions Shrubs & Trees

First introduced to the Eastern United States in the 1600s, hybridizers began creating new varieties of the ninebark shrub in the 1990s, focusing on improved color, varied habits and increased disease resistance. The species now features distinctive varieties that expand on those improvements, including native and climate adaptability in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 through 8.

Summer Wine® Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) – Proven Winners

Four-Season Interest

A member of the Rosaceae family and closely related to the genus spirea, ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) has an upright arching or compact habit, depending on variety. Sizes also vary with variety. But at maturity ninebark generally ranges between 3 and 10 feet tall and 3 and 12 feet wide.

Spring-blooming ninebark produces blossoms from May through June. Button-like flowers are white or pink-white and bloom in dense clusters, drawing bees and butterflies. But the shrub doesn’t stop in spring. It continues its showy display through each season, leading to the reveal of its distinctive common name, “Ninebark.”

Spicy Devil® Ninebark (Physocarpus Opulifolius ‘ZLENATALIE’) – First Editions Shrubs & Trees

Dramatic Fall Reveal

In summer, deer resistant foliage consists of three- to five-lobed leaves that can be green, purple, red or yellow. Flowers fade to fruit clusters in fall, providing a food source for wildlife.

As branches mature and leaves drop, bark peels back in thin layers, unveiling another dramatic color show with each reveal. Red and rich burgundy give way to citrus yellow, orange marmalade and copper bronze, making ninebark a stunning addition to the winter garden before it sleeps and begins anew.

Amber Jubilee Ninebark (Physocarpus Opulifolius ‘JEFAM’) – First Editions Shrubs & Trees

Easy-Care Shrub

Water new plants regularly when they are young, then at least twice a week during summer. After that, ninebark is drought tolerant once established.

Most plants have few health issues, but maintenance should involve monitoring for powdery mildew, fire blight, leaf spot or witches’ broom, as well as aphids. Ninebark is generally deer resistant and tolerates erosion and varying sun levels, making this dependable shrub easy to grow and virtually maintenance free once established.

Little Devil Ninebark  (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘DONNA MAY’) – First Editions Shrubs & Trees

Allow ninebark to retain its characteristic size and shape. Remove dead, damaged or crossed branches by pruning in early spring. This will improve air circulation as well as aesthetics. Because ninebark blooms on old wood, shape as needed just after flowers emerge.

The shrub isn’t particularly fussy about soil types, including clay and rocky conditions. But it does prefer well-draining soil that is moderately moist and has a neutral to slightly acidic pH. Add fine hardwood bark or leaf mulch to the soil around the base of the shrub. If needed, in spring apply a slow-release fertilizer.

Tiny Wine® Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) – Proven Winners

Ninebark Landscape Uses

Because the shrub comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, ninebark is a suitable selection in any landscape space, large, mid-size or small. It makes a great addition to rooftop and urban designs calling for blooms and four-season color.

Design with mid-size to larger varieties as a hedge alternative to evergreens or plant ninebark in the foreground of arborvitae screens for color and textural interest. Miniature ninebarks make perfect specimen plants near a front entryway or in a mixed, two-way border perennial garden.

Ninebark is a favorite plant found in Midwest garden centers. When shopping, consider selecting good companion plants like hydrangea, salvia and spirea.

Learn More About the Loma Vista Nursery Family and Our Landscape Plants

Loma Vista Nursery grows a variety of these and other shrubs, perennial plants and trees for Midwest independent garden centers, landscape contractors and wholesale distributors. Review our website to learn about our values and best-practices as a Midwest plant grower. Our staff members are experts in the field who love helping people learn and understand more about plants. To get help with your orders and answers to plant-related questions, send an email to sales@lomavistanursery.com or call (785) 229-7200.

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