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.
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.