Physocarpus opulifolius, Ninebark

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Found throughout much of the Mid-Atlantic,* this drought-tolerant, adaptable shrub grows in open woods, river and  stream banks, and rock outcroppings. Ninebark provides seasonal interest with showy flowers, winter-persistent fruits, and papery bark, which molts in thin strips on older branches to expose reddish to light brown underlayers.

Print Version: Physocarpus opulifolius, Ninebark
Physocarpus opulifolius, Ninebark, Shrub Height: 3–10 feet Spread: 6–10 feet Bloom Color: White or pink Characteristics Upright, oval, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub Ovate to rounded, lobed, dull green leaves Showy, domed flower clusters from May to July Red seed capsules dry to brown and remain all winter; transplants readily from seed Yellow to purple fall foliage (varies with cultivar) Graceful, arching branches with peeling bark Attributes Tolerates clay soil, dry soil, rocky soil, drought, and erosion; no serious pests or diseases Deer rarely-to-seldom severely damage Mature branches display exfoliating bark in winter Easily grown, resilient; “...once established, requires a bulldozer for removal.” (Dirr, 1997) Attracts numerous pollinators and birds Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Average, well-drained Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade Water Requirements: Dry, Moist Prune as needed directly after bloom; remove old canes of established plants at the base in late winter Hardiness: USDA Zones 2-7 (maybe 8) Excellent Replacement for Berberis species - Barberry Ligustrum species - Privets Rhodotypos scandens - Jetbead Spiraea japonica - Japanese Spirea *It is native to DC and MD and is historical in the DE Piedmont. It grows throughout the middle and southern parts of PA. In VA, it is frequent to common in the mountains, infrequent to locally common in the Piedmont, and rare in the Coastal Plains.

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets