Physocarpus opulifolius – Ninebark

A 3-10 ft., mound-shaped, deciduous shrub, ninebark offers spiraea-like flowers, attractive and persistent fruit pods, arching branches, yellow fall color, and exfoliating bark.

Ninebark is fast-growing, insect and disease resistant, and drought-tolerant.


Duration: Perennial        Habit: Shrub      Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes      Fruit: Red, Brown           


Bloom Color: White, Pink             Bloom Time: May, Jun

Native Habitat: Stream banks; rocky hillsides; woodland edges 


Water Use: Low              

Light Requirement: Sun, Part Shade, Shade 

Soil Moisture: Dry, Moist , Wet                

Soil Description: Clay, Loam 

Conditions Comments: Common ninebark is fast-growing, insect & disease resistant, and drought-tolerant. 

Dear Resistant: Yes


Conspicuous Flowers: yes       Attracts: Birds 


Description: Propagate by fall-sown seed or semi-hardwood cuttings with or without hormone treatment.
Seed Collection: Ripe fruits can be picked from the shrub or shaken onto a drop cloth. 

Eventual Size at Maturity:   Height – 6ft Spread – 5ft
Space Requirements: 3ft from fences, paved surfaces or buildings
Form:  arching
Growth Rate:  medium
Tolerates Standing Water:  no
Light Required:  full sun to ½ shade
Fall Color:  yellow
Flowers:  white to pink flowers in June to July
Fruit: small, dry, red berries
Wildlife: seeds provide food source for songbirds
Shrub Tips:  tolerant of drought and acidic and alkaline soil

Commercially available at local nurseries: Yes

Site Selection

Ninebark grows best in acidic, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade, but is adaptable to many soil conditions.

Planting Instructions

Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.


Water regularly until established. After it’s established, ninebark is drought-tolerant. You can propagate from hardwood cuttings. Established shrubs require annual pruning to maintain their shape. Prune early each spring by removing some of the oldest branches by cutting them off at the base. Do not ingest this plant, as all parts of the ninebark are known to be poisonous.

More info: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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