Physocarpus, known as Ninebark, is a genus of about ten species of flowering plants in the rose family, native to North America and northeastern Asia.
Size: Physocarpus species are deciduous shrubs with a rounded, dense growth habit. They typically range from 3 to 10 feet (0.9-3 meters) in height and spread, although some can reach up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) tall. The arching branches create an attractive form both in leaf and when bare in winter.
Flowers: Physocarpus are known for their small, five-petaled flowers that bloom in dense, rounded clusters. Colors range from white to pink, and the blooming season is usually in late spring to early summer. After flowering, the plant produces clusters of small fruit (capsules) that open when ripe, providing additional ornamental interest.
Foliage: Ninebark is primarily grown for its colorful foliage of palmately lobed leaves which varies in size and color from purple to coppery-orange to bright golden yellow.
Hardiness: Ninebark is hardy in USDA zones 2-10, showing great adaptability to different climates and soil conditions.
Pollinators: The clusters of small flowers attract a variety of pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. The plant’s dense growth provides excellent cover for small wildlife, although deer generally leave it alone.
Uses: Physocarpus species are often used in landscaping for their multiseason interest – the attractive flowers, peeling bark, and colorful foliage that can range from green to purple and even lime-yellow in some cultivars. They’re ideal for mixed borders, foundation plantings, or naturalizing in woodland gardens.
A key fact about Ninebark is its reputation for being virtually disease and pest-free, making it an easy-care choice for gardeners of all experience levels.