A Shrub For Foliage Color

A Shrub For Foliage Color

As you prepare to plant in your yard and garden this spring, consider using one of the colorful ninebark shrubs. There are many varieties of Physocarpus opulifolius, our native ninebark, that have purple, copper or lime-green leaves. When you plant a Physocarpus, you get two for one: flowers and foliage color. This shrub is also fairly drought tolerant, and when planted in a place where it can grow to its natural size and fountain-shape, you won’t have to do much pruning. A colorful, low maintenance plant.

Ninebark cultivars come in an assortment of mature sizes, from ‘Little Devil” that gets 4 feet tall and wide, to ‘Summer Wine’ and ‘Coppertina,’ that grow five to six feet tall and wide, and up to ‘Diablo’ that grows over 8 feet tall and wide. These plants have lovely fall foliage too.

Plant Ninebark in full sun. This is a plant that does not look good when sheared…no pruning at all is better than shaping it with a shearing tool.

This is a branch of the variety ‘Center Glow’ as it comes into flower. ‘Center Glow’ grows to be about 7 feet tall and wide.

If you plant a purple-leaf Physocarpus in with plants that have yellow or blueish foliage, you’ve got a winning combination. Here Center Glow is with the yellow ‘Chardonnay Pearls’ Deutzia (left corner) and Amsonia hubrichtii with blue flowers and grayish foliage.

Coppertina has reddish flowers.

Coppertina, in foreground, and Summer Wine, in background, grow about the same size. Summer Wine is more burgundy in leaf-color and has pinkish-white flowers.

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