The Ninebark Color Wheel

By Kerry Ann Mendez

Physocarpus, commonly called Ninebark, is a four season, native shrub. It was nicknamed Ninebark because of the peeling bark on mature branches that reveals layers of reddish to light brown inner bark. This is especially dramatic in the winter landscape after the foliage has dropped.


Beautiful ball-shaped white or soft pink flowers will typically appear in late spring and continue into early July. The flowers then ripen to drooping clusters of reddish fruit that the birds will enjoy.


The blooms are nice, but it's the foliage that steals the show! Just a stroll down the Ninebark "aisle" at Estabrook's will make my point. The brilliant foliage ranges from rich burgundy to golden-yellow and ginger-marmalade to coppery-bronze. Ninebark shrubs will range in height from 3 to 10 feet.

Planting and Pruning

Ninebark does best in full to part sun and is hardy in Zone 3-8. Pruning, if needed, should be done right after blooming and before mid-August.

About the Author

KERRY ANN MENDEZ is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant based in southern Maine. Her latest book is The Budget-Wise Gardener. You'll now find her at Estabrook's consulting on garden design, answering your gardening questions and much more. Plus, check out her Garden Webinar series for more tips and tricks.

Kerry Ann Mendez