Common Ninebark, Eastern Ninebark
Physocarpus opulifolius

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Physocarpus (fy-so-KAR-pus) (Info)
Species: opulifolius (op-yoo-lih-FOH-lee-us) (Info)
Synonym:Opulaster alabamensis
Synonym:Opulaster australis
Synonym:Opulaster opulifolius
Synonym:Opulaster stellatus
Synonym:Spiraea opulifolia

Category:

Shrubs

Height:

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Spacing:

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)

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)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Pale Pink

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Foliage:

Deciduous

Other details:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us

Regional

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

, (2 reports)

Morrilton, Arkansas

Dekalb, Illinois

Indianapolis, Indiana

Clermont, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

South Lyon, Michigan

Cole Camp, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri

Stover, Missouri

Amsterdam, New York

Holmes, New York

Hayesville, North Carolina

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Berwyn, Pennsylvania

Birdsboro, Pennsylvania

Coopersburg, Pennsylvania

Nashville, Tennessee

South Boston, Virginia

Vancouver, Washington

De Pere, Wisconsin

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Muscoda, Wisconsin

New Lisbon, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

2
positives
1
neutral
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Jun 12, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

I remember my old famous woody plant teacher, Dr. Michael Dirr, when he was at the University of Illinois in the 1970's, not warming up to Ninebark because it can get messy with a very twiggy habit and it does not have fabulous fall color. (He often likes naturalistic, but his view is mostly towards the refined, ornamental, neat landscape). If one knows how to properly prune shrubs to keep their natural form, this shrub is perfectly fine even in a fairly refined landscape, and one can look upon its interesting bark of different shades of color and smooth plus exfoliating. My favorite landscaping is naturalistic, so having this straight species in one of my landscapes would be something I would like, as I love Nature, and using eastern American native plants in eastern American landscapes w... read more

Neutral

On May 13, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is a tough, easy, adaptable shrub. The species is big and rangy, and very coarse in winter. Some of the dwarf cultivars, particularly with chartreuse or purple foliage, are much better ornamentals for most home landscapes.

The flowers are attractive but not overwhelming, definitely not in a league with bridalwreath spirea.

Gets straggly in partial shade.

"After looking over the entire group, I still came away with the opinion that about anything is better than a Physocarpus."---Michael Dirr

Positive

On May 13, 2015, birdsnbeeskc from Kansas City, MO (Zone 5b) wrote:

We planted 4 ninebark from a native plant nursery 6 years ago and it has been delightful to watch them grow. We live in solid clay on the side of a south facing hill and have constantly changing springs on our property. Ninebark has tolerated having its feet in water for months and having 2 inch cracks going through its root system the year and a half we were in 'exceptional' drought conditions. It is also used here for erosion control. This year it has performed beautifully and very similarly to bridal veil spirea. The few early butterflies we had and the bees and flies swarmed to it.
But beware you in deer country, they love it, too.