Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Day 125
The Daily DuBrule

Do you know about ninebark plants? Physocarpus opulifolius is a great group of plants. We have a native green leaved ninebark, but these hybrid cultivars are way beyond that! Pictured above is 'Centerglow', so named because as the leaves open they glow with a brilliant bronze orange color. In the summer they are a coppery burgundy. Other varieties are a darker wine color. 

These shrubs bloom off of last year's wood. The flowers are round globes of white flowers. As they age, the calyxes of the flowers are revealed and they are a brilliant red. Eventually, the shrub is covered with red seed pods. In the winter, the bark is tan and a bit exfoliating (peeling) and I think it is very attractive. The habit is arching and the height ranges from 4-5' tall to 8-9' tall.

Physocarpus in late June with feverfew
I have found this shrub to be very hardy, thriving in full sun or partial shade. Deer will nibble on it, but it's not at the top of their list. Everyone comments about it when they tour the Natureworks gardens. I plan on adding quite a few more Physocarpus plants to my home landscape in the next few years. Good foliage color, easy care, and durable. It fits my criteria just fine. 
A crazy combo with Maclaeya cordata


  1. I have always liked Physocarpus but I noticed that sometimes the foliage turns moldy and black. Do you any suggestions on how to prevent this?

  2. I shovel pruned P. 'Dart's Gold' because of the black foliage problem. After turning black it would get hard like a fossil. After a few years of trying to prune it off I gave up.

    At a nursery RI this past weekend I saw a variety called 'Red Esquire'. Tag (and what little I could find on Google) claimed it was a dwarf 2-3'. Could this be true? If so then it would be smaller than 'Little Devil' and quite useful in my garden.

  3. I have been asking all of crews about this fungus. We haven't experienced it. Diane found it on 'Coppertina' which is crossed with 'Dart's Gold'. Can anyone else identify the VARIETIES they have seen it on? I have grow 'Diablo', 'Summerwine', and 'Centerglow'. No problems at this point. Knock wood.