Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 6 Professionals
Common Name: ninebark
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Pinkish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun in the northern part or its growing range, but appreciates some afternoon shade in the St. Louis area. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. Prune as needed immediately after bloom. Plants may be cut to the ground in winter to rejuvenate.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Physocarpus opulifolius, commonly called ninebark, is an upright, spreading, somewhat coarse, deciduous, Missouri-native shrub which is closely related to genus Spiraea. It typically occurs along streams, rocky banks, gravel bars and in moist thickets, especially in counties south of the Missouri River. Grows 5-8' tall (less frequently to 10'). Noted for its exfoliating bark (on mature branches) which peels in strips to reveal several layers of reddish to light brown inner bark (hence the common name of ninebark). Bark provides winter interest, but is usually hidden by the foliage during the growing season. Features small pink or white, five-petaled flowers appearing in dense, flat, rounded, 1-2" diameter, spirea-like clusters (corymbs) in late spring. Flowers give way to drooping clusters of reddish fruit (inflated seed capsules). Ovate to rounded, usually 3-5 lobed leaves (to 4" long) are dull green in summer changing to an undistinguished yellow in fall.

Genus name comes from the Greek physa meaning a bladder and karpos meaning fruit, referring to the inflated dry fruits of the plant.

Specific epithet refers to the leaves that resemble those of Viburnum opulus.

'Diabolo' is a purple-leaved ninebark cultivar. Like the species, it is an upright, spreading, somewhat coarse, deciduous shrub which is closely related to genus Spiraea. It typically grows 4-8' (less frequently to 10') tall. Small pinkish-white, five-petaled flowers in dense, flat, rounded, 1-2" diameter, spirea-like clusters (corymbs) appear in late spring. Flowers give way to drooping clusters of reddish fruit (inflated seed capsules). Ovate to rounded, usually 3-5 lobed leaves (to 4" long) are dark purple. Purple foliage tends to green up in hot summer climates as the summer progresses. The species is native to Missouri. Ninebark is named for its exfoliating bark (on mature branches) which peels in strips to reveal several layers of reddish to light brown inner bark. Bark provides winter interest but is usually hidden by the foliage during the growing season.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Specimen or mass. Shrub borders, hedge, screen or for erosion control on banks. A vigorous shrub that seems to be able to grow well in harsh conditions.