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Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’

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Zones A1-A3, 1-10, 14-17, 32-45
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Physocarpus opulifolius

Common Ninebark
Deciduous, Shrubs


Ninebarks are so named because of their peeling bark, which is many layers deep. These deciduous shrubs resemble spirea and are closely related to it, bearing round clusters of tiny white or pinkish flowers in spring or early summer. All have medium green leaves with lobed edges. Prune plants as needed after bloom; rejuvenate by cutting old stems to the ground.

Physocarpus opulifolius

Native to eastern and central North America. Grows to 9 ft. tall and 10 ft. wide, with leaves to 3 in. long. Many white or pinkish blossoms in each cluster. Varieties are more attractive than the species. ‘Diabolo’, to 9–12 ft. tall and wide, has intense reddish purple leaves (foliage color can tend toward dark green in very hot summers or when plant is grown in partial shade). Leaves of ‘Luteus’ are yellow when plant is grown in sunlight, yellow green in shade.

Compact varieties to 4–6 ft. tall and wide include ‘Dart’s Gold’, similar to ‘Luteus’ but brighter; ‘Nanus’, with small, shallowly lobed dark green leaves; and ‘Nugget’, with leaves that unfold golden yellow, gradually mature to lime green, and then turn gold again in fall.

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