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Physocarpus opulifolius - Growing Guide

Growing Physocarpus opulifolius

Ninebark

P. opulifolius is closely related to Spiraea and Neillia. It is a medium sized, deciduous, and vigorous North American shrub which is fully hardy and grows to around 10ft when mature. It will grow in virtually any soil conditions and is a welcome addition to any shrub border or to a wilder woodland garden setting.

The named varieties of P. opulifolius are grown for their improved or different leaf colours and flowers. Most grow to around 6ft and are therefore somewhat smaller than the species itself.

“Dart’s Gold” is a compact shrub with bright long lasting yellow foliage fading to green.

‘Diabolo’ has bronze-green new growth turning dark purple later. It is a plant used to contrast purple with green foliage plants.

‘Lady in Red’ is a newish variety to us and has dark purplish leaves turning reddish brown later. Unlike most other varieties this has pink flowers which show up well against the darker leaves.

‘Midnight’ has very dark purple or near black foliage and a compact habit.

‘Summer Moon’ initially has deep purplish-green foliage maturing to purple-red later in the summer.

All other forms of P. opulifolius have corymbs of pink tinged white or white flowers in clusters along the stems in May or June.

Greenwood cuttings taken in summer and set on the mist bench with bottom heat is the easiest way to propagate these attractive plants.

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