Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Ninebark, Common Ninebark

Ninebark, Common Ninebark

Physocarpus opulifolius

Full sun to shade; moderately wet to moderately dry moisture level; tolerates a wide range of soils including gravelly loams, medium loams, fine sandy loams, silt loams, clay loams and clays; slightly acid to slightly alkaline pH.

6-12 feet height by 6-12 feet spread; blooms in May and June; white or pink-tinted flowers; fruit is a papery, 4-parted bladder-like capsule which is bright red at first and then turns brown.

Growth Rate:  Fast

Maintenance:  Easy to grow.  Infrequent disease and insect problems.  Cut to the ground about every 10 years to clean it up and force growth of a new set of stems.

Propagation:  Seed germination code A.  Easy from seed or cuttings.

Native Region:  Middle and East Tennessee

Deciduous shrub with a dense, rounded appearance and of rather rank habit with its canes shooting out in all directions.  Bark exfoliates in large, papery strips.   One of its best features is its ability to thrive almost anyplace.  Has showy flowers and is closely related to the genus Spirea.  Attracts bees, butterflies and other insects; provides nesting shelter for birds.  Cultivars available.

shrub;sun;wet;clay
shrub;sun;wet;loam
shrub;sun;wet;sand
shrub;sun;wet;rocky
shrub;sun;medium;clay
shrub;sun;medium;loam
shrub;sun;medium;sand
shrub;sun;medium;rocky
shrub;sun;dry;clay
shrub;sun;dry;loam
shrub;sun;dry;sand
shrub;sun;dry;rocky
shrub;sun/shade;wet;clay
shrub;sun/shade;wet;loam
shrub;sun/shade;wet;sand
shrub;sun/shade;wet;rocky
shrub;sun/shade;medium;clay
shrub;sun/shade;medium;loam
shrub;sun/shade;medium;sand
shrub;sun/shade;medium;rocky
shrub;sun/shade;dry;clay
shrub;sun/shade;dry;loam
shrub;sun/shade;dry;sand
shrub;sun/shade;dry;rocky
shrub;shade;wet;clay
shrub;shade;wet;loam
shrub;shade;wet;sand
shrub;shade;wet;rocky
shrub;shade;medium;clay
shrub;shade;medium;loam
shrub;shade;medium;sand
shrub;shade;medium;rocky
shrub;shade;dry;clay
shrub;shade;dry;loam
shrub;shade;dry;sand
shrub;shade;dry;rocky

One response to “Ninebark, Common Ninebark

  1. joystewart February 13, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Whenever I see the word “Physocarpus,” I am reminded of a great quote from an earlier edition of Michael Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, where he talks about the ragged, straggly appearance of this shrub and says “anything is better than a Physocarpus.” So I always have to smile when I plant it and enjoy having it. Dirr is right that it can get straggly, especially in winter, but I think it has some nice traits going for it–easy to grow, fast growing, very attractive green leaves, and pretty white, spirea-like clusters of flowers which draw a lot of insects. If you are looking for something to quickly fill a tough spot, this could be your plant. I haven’t tried that many of the cultivars so I can’t say what they are like.

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