After only a year, most varieties of this plant will reach their full size.

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Ninebark is not only an extremely versatile plant; the species is also experiencing many new innovations. Traditionally a green shrub with flowers and exfoliating bark, recent releases have brought ninebark new foliage colors. Their fast growing habit and appealing winter bark make these shrubs garden favorites.

Ninebark Physocarpus
David Speer.

Ninebark Overview

Genus Name Physocarpus
Common Name Ninebark
Plant Type Shrub
Light Sun
Height 3 to 8 feet
Width 3 to 12 feet
Flower Color Pink, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green, Chartreuse/Gold, Purple/Burgundy
Season Features Colorful Fall Foliage, Summer Bloom, Winter Interest
Special Features Attracts Birds, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Propagation Layering, Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Good For Privacy

Colorful Combinations

The traditional ninebark foliage color is a deep purple, but new foliage colors keep coming, with additions now including gold and amber foliage Some varieties even fade from one color to another as they age.

Both size and overall form have improved in new ninebark varieties. New innovations have focused on shrinking the size to better adapt to a home garden setting. In smaller varieties, habits have also changed to be more upright instead of spilling branches.

Ninebark flowers are almost an afterthought. While they look nice, especially on varieties with dark foliage, the white and pink blooms don't last long. In the winter, the bark is what really shines through. As the bark of the older stems age, they peel back in layers, creating an exfoliation effect.

Ninebark Care Must-Knows

In just one year of growth, many ninebark varieties can reach their mature size. The rapid growth of these plants can be gratifying but also a deterrent for some people, since they may get a little too big in size. Luckily, ninebarks are amenable to pruning. Either prune after they bloom, or prune in late winter before growth starts (if you don't mind sacrificing their blooms).

The biggest problem that ninebarks encounter is powdery mildew. Luckily, this won't do any long-term harm. Thinning out older stems can increase air circulation and prevent mildew.

More Varieties of Ninebark

'Summer Wine' Ninebark

Purple Leaf Ninebark
Doug Smith

Physocarpus 'Summer Wine' is a compact purple-leaf selection that grows 5-6 feet tall and wide. Zones 3-7

'Dart's Gold' Ninebark

Physocarpus Darts Gold
Jay Wilde

Physocarpus 'Dart's Gold' offers bright golden-yellow foliage and white flowers in early summer. It grows 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Zones 3-7.

Little Devil Ninebark

Little Devil ninebark
Marty Baldwin

Physocarpus opulifolius 'Donna May' is an outstanding dwarf selection that displays rich burgundy-purple leaves with white flowers in early summer. It grows 4 feet tall and wide. Zones 3-7

'Coppertina' Ninebark

Ninebark Physocarpus 'Coppertina'
Kim Cornelison

Physocarpus 'Coppertina' shows off coppery-purple new growth that matures to purple red. It grows 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Zones 3-7

'Center Glow' Ninebark

Ninebark Physocarpus 'Center Glow'
Marty Baldwin

Physocarpus 'Center Glow' bears purple foliage that has a golden-yellow center when it's young. It grows 8 feet tall and wide. Zones 3-7

'Diablo' Ninebark

Ninebark Physocarpus Diabolo
Kim Cornelison

Physocarpus 'Diabolo' features rich burgundy-purple foliage and white flowers. It grows 10 feet tall and wide. Zones 3-7

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