Blooming Now--Ninebarks

You may have seen these bushes flowering the past few weeks. With their round white flower clusters, it would be easy to assume these plants are related to snowball bushes, but they are not. So what are they?

 These plants are ninebarks (Physocarpus opulifolius.)

The flower clusters, which are now beginning to fade on most of the bushes I've seen, will soon be replaced with clusters of red seed pods. These are nearly as striking as the flowers, and help to give the bushes a long season of interest.
little devil ninebark
Ninebarks come in several varieties with a wide range of sizes. The largest of the red leafed varieties is Diablo, which can grow to be 8-10' tall and wide.  Summer wine is a mid-size variety that grows to be 5-6' tall and wide, while little devil is the smallest and only gets 3-4' tall and wide.

dart's gold ninebark
If you're looking for a plant to add a bright green color to your landscape, dart's gold and nugget are medium sized ninebarks with yellow new growth that turns lime green in summer. They sport the same balls of white flowers and reddish seed pods as all ninebarks.

Red ninebarks hold their color best in full sun, but green varieties can take light shade. Ninebarks can develop chlorosis in alkaline soil. If the color of the leaves on your ninebark seem a little off, try giving them chelated or liquid iron.


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