Purple Leafed Ninebark Is A True Must Have For Your Garden Or Landscape

Purple Leafed Ninebark Is A True Must Have For Your Garden Or Landscape


Photo Compliments Of Katja Schulz

Physocarpus opulifolius, common ninebark is a large native shrub with modest ornamental interest.  It is the introduction of purple-leafed cultivars, starting with Diabolo, that has made this a must-have shrub for colorful landscapes.

Purple-leafed ninebarks are multi-stemmed shrubs with upright, spreading branches. The coarsely lobed leaves are burgundy colored and often develop even brighter red tones in the fall. In spring, many clusters of small pinkish white flowers line the branches, followed by small seed pods. Older stems develop characteristic peeling layers of bark, which gives the common name “ninebark.” Purple-leafed ninebarks add dramatic color to shrub borders, foundation plantings, and mixed planting beds.

An exciting improvement to Ninebark, Summer Wine combines the fine texture and compact branching of Physocarpus ‘Nana’ with the dark foliage of Physocarpus Diabolo. Smaller than other ninebark varieties, summer wine is an easy way to introduce wine colored foliage into your garden. It is fast growing and has few, if any, pest problems. Its graceful, arching habit makes if very appealing in the landscape. It adds beautiful color and vibrancy to your garden, especially during the spring months. In early June it blooms with white button-like flowers that accent the leaves nicely.

How To Make Your Ninebark Thrive

Easily grown in average, slightly acidic, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade.  The ideal condition is full sun.  It will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions.  Plants often struggle in the hot and humid summer climates of the deep South in Hardiness Zones 8 to 9.

General Nine Bark Information


Relatively pest or disease free


Cuttings are the most common method of propagation.  Ninebark will typically root quickly even without application of rooting hormone. Softwood cuttings of one-year old wood can be taken from summer to late fall.


Prune as needed immediately after bloom, but no later than mid-August. Plants may be cut close to the ground in winter to rejuvenate.

Garden Uses

Ideal as a specimen or in mass plantings in your landscapes.  It should also be considered for shrub borders, hedges, screens, or for erosion control on banks.  This is a vigorous shrub that is to be able to grow well in harsh conditions.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Rosacea
  • Common Name: Ninebark
  • Type: Deciduous shrub
  • Hardiness Zones: Zone 3 to 7
  • Height: 4 to 8 feet
  • Spread: 4 to 8 feet
  • Bloom Time: May to June
  • Bloom Description: Pinkish-white
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Water: Dry to medium
  • Maintenance: Medium
  • Tolerates: Drought, erosion, clay soil, dry soil, shallow-rocky soil

The Must Have Cultivars

• Burgundy Star (‘Tres’), this is a new selection that has deep burgundy foliage and a compact form.  It can reach a height of 4 to 6 feet.

• Diabolo (‘Monlo’) was the first purple-leafed ninebark on the market and is still popular. This will require more space it will reach 8 plus feet.

• Summer Wine (‘Seward’), love the rich burgundy foliage. The leaf is slightly smaller and has finer texture.

• Little Devil (‘Donna May’), this variety is very compact.  It reaches a height of 3 to 4 feet.

Photo Search

Google – Ninebark Photos

Flickr – Ninebark Photos

Be Social

Follow me on Twitter @kirklander61
Like me on Facebook
Enjoy the Seattle Trekker Pinterest Gardening Boards

Tags: , ,


  1. Charlie, this is beautiful!

  2. I love the bark on these shrubs but it is one I’ve never grown.

  3. Glad to learn about the ninebark!
    Amy recently posted..Travel Theme: PeacefulMy Profile

  4. This plant just came to my attention this year, through reading other people’s garden blogs. Very interesting. I have plans for a new bed whirling about my brain, and this shrub is on the short list.
    Kimberley at Cosmos and Cleome recently posted..Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day; June 2013My Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


CommentLuv badge