Scientific Name: Physocarpus opulifolius
Common Name: Ninebark
Common Species/Varieties: Little Devil, Summer Wine, Petite Plum
Common Colors: Gold, nearly-black, green, red
Plant Type: Shrub
Annual or Perennial: Perennial
Hardiness Zone: 2-8 USDA
Self-Seeding: Not typically
Bloom Season: Late Spring to Summer
Grows Best In: Sun to Some Shade
Fun Fact: Common ninebark is part of the Rose Family (Rosaceae).
Ninebark is another plant that just isn’t very picky. It does like somewhat moist soil best, but it will tolerate rocky and clay soil as well. Here in Colorado, we tend to have clay soil, so this plant is a great option for you if you are local. Ninebark gets its name from the way this shrub’s bark peels away in layers once it is mature. Ninebark has a showy foliage that begins growing in Spring, and lasts until late Fall. Tiny flowers growing in little groups pop out of the foliage in Summer, and after the flowers are spent, red berries are left behind. Even in Winter this plant adds interest to the landscape with its unusual peeling bark. Ninebark is truly an all-season interest plant – and it even makes a lovely cut flower arrangement filler.
Ninebark is attractive to bees when it’s in bloom with its pink or white flowers. It doesn’t require a lot of water once it’s established, but it will need more water than Russian Sage, for example. They also grow to be taller than Russian Sage at an approximate height of eight to ten feet tall and wide. Use Ninebark when you need hedges or erosion control without sacrificing visual interest in any season.
Ninebark is related to both Rose and Hawthorne. Native Americans used this plant to treat stomach ailments (always consult a medical professional before using plants in a medicinal capacity), or as a poultice for treating sores on the skin. While there’s not widely known meaning attributed to Ninebark as there are for many flowers, it’s relationship to Rose and Hawthorn make it reasonable to relate this plant with feelings of love.