Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ninebark
Physocarpus opulifolius 'Donna May'

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Physocarpus (fy-so-KAR-pus) (Info)
Species: opulifolius (op-yoo-lih-FOH-lee-us) (Info)
Cultivar: Donna May
Additional cultivar information: (aka Little Devil)
Registered or introduced: 2011


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us


2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Jan 23, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

After two seasons, the foliage remains very dark and habit remains very compact even in partial sun.

This cultivar won the 2011 American Nursery Landscape Association's Garden Idol Award as the best new plant of the year.

"Little Devil" is the proprietary trade name. 'Donna May' is the cultivar name.

Bred by David Zlesak of the U. of Wisconsin.

US PP # 22,634 4/2012.

Positive braun06 On Jun 9, 2011, braun06 from Peoria Heights, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Ripped out my Coppertina because it grew too fast to keep pruned for the space I had it in and replaced it with this guy. It went in the ground and took off growing in the few months I've had it so far. The flowers are smaller just like the leaves which make it a very refined plant. Only one leaf has had powdery mildew issues in our humid, wet and hot spring this year.

Fruit capsules turn red and the plant finishes with red leaf color at season end. The most usable form of ninebark yet. It is easy to keep trimmed to a mound shape for those who like sheared plants, better than larger ninebarks. If left untouched should reach 3-4' tall and wide. The bark still peels like the species it isn't overly noticable with fine stems. Ninebarks have been resistant to rabbits in my neighborhood where they eat leathery and sharp yucca even in a good growing season.

Ninebarks have been prone to black aphid infestations for me yearly. They like to attach themselves at the top of growing stems. Ants will be be a good sign of this issue as you will see the stems covered thick in a black mass, which are all the ants and aphids feeding. The ants feed off of the honeydew produced by the aphids which feed off the plant. Systemic insecticides are the best tool for dealing with this issue as the ants protect the aphids as a source of food. Regular insecticides will require several treatments in this instance to treat the dogpile of pests.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Peoria, Illinois
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Ludington, Michigan
Eugene, Oregon

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