Easily grown in average, slightly acidic, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun in the northern part of 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 and no later than mid-August. COPPERTINA is less apt to spread by suckering than the species. Plants may be cut close to the ground in winter to rejuvenate.
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.
COPPERTINA is a patented ninebark cultivar that is most noted for its dramatic copper foliage that turns red by summer and its free-branching, mounding, compact growth habit. It is the result of a cross between P. opulifolius ‘Darts Gold’ (seed parent) and P. opulifolius ‘Monlo’ (pollen parent). It is a deciduous shrub that typically grows to 6-8’ tall and as wide, but retains compact form. Small pinkish-white, five-petaled flowers in dense, flat, rounded, 1-2” diameter, spiraea-like clusters (corymbs) appear in late spring. Serrated, ovate to rounded, 3-lobed leaves (to 3” long) emerge orange-copper in spring, but mature to a rich red by summer. 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 often hidden by the foliage during the growing season. U.S. Plant Patent PP16,371 issued March 21, 2006.
No serious insect or disease problems. Reportedly has good resistance to powdery mildew. Leaf spots and fireblight may occur.
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. Containers.