This arrived in our garden as a changeling - I received seed in a trade labeled as Neillia thibetica, but that plant doesn't look anything like what grew from the seed. An inquiry on Gardenweb led me to the correct identification. The white flowers in late spring are nice, but the bright red fruit that follows is even more striking. As the picture shows, the flowers and fruit partially overlap, making for a lovely effect. The foliage is attractive too - all in all, not bad for a changeling!
||white (late spring)
||full sun-part shade
||ordinary garden soil
||germinate at or slightly above room temperature .
detailed seed-starting info below
|Seed ripens||early October|
We also grow its cultivar cousin 'Diabolo' - with purple leaves and, so far, a more upright habit. Quite a handsome devil!
|'Diabolo's fading flowers turning into red fruits ||
We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.
One or more images of this plant are included in my stock photo catalog
About my plant portraits
PlantLinks to other web pages about Physocarpus opulifolius
Visitors to this page have left the following comments
|Physocarpus 'Diablo' Question..?||Sep 25, 2004||Hello!
I just picked up on eof these plants at Home Depot. I love the burgundy foliage! I was wondering if you'd had this plant a full season yet? If so, did it bear fruit like your green variety? I am hoping to put it in the absolutely full, dry, hot, unmitigating sun of Southern Maryland (7b), where I use soaker hoses to give things a good bath when necessary.
I'd love your input on this one! I absolutely love it.
|Kathryn Yuodsnukis||Nov 24, 2004||Searching the web for the care and culture of Physocarpus Diablo, and low and behold my second click happened to be you, less than an hours drive away from my home in Delano. Both your specime pictures are quite beautiful. How lucky to have them . Your plant sale sounds wonderful. Please keep me posted.|
|Rachelle Towne||Jan 12, 2005||Rob, I really love your site. I wish I had the innitiative to start one of my own. I have been dabbling in starting a nursery to sell plants and have had some minor success. I start quite a few things from seed, but I like to propagate from cuttings as well (really into that). I will continue to visit your site from time to time. Your pictures and notes are helpful! I live in central WI and I have had the Diable Ninebark for 4 years now. (The Diablo version is a patented plant by the way, so be careful...) I am really impressed with Diablo, and looks great against blue leaved plants. I find the seed heads really impressive, too! The green one is actually native here. I have propagated, by cuttings, Diablo for a couple friends, a garden trade, and have had good success rooting it by cutting. I am going to attempt the native this year, after spotting one late last summer in the "wild". There is a gold one, "Dart's Gold", too (unpatented, I think). I was wondering if you have a wish list of plants for which you are looking? I like to trade and have a lots of unusual plants, natives, hostas, sedums. I do not collect a lot of seed, but let me know. During the growing season I would be game to mail you a rooted cutting. |
Thanks for the kind comments. I don't have your address (I don't like to ask for or list people's addresses, to allay spamming fears), but feel free to write me (see bottom of any page). I do have a partial list of wants.
|jayne||Apr 03, 2005||Hi my sister and me have just bought Physocarpus o. Diablo each we got them at the garden center at less than a third of their original price as they were a bit sorry for themselves. We hadnt got a clue what they were, looking on the net and you were my first hit. Now I can tell her what it is Thank you|
|tina||Aug 16, 2005||i have purchased a physocarpus diablo. something has decided that is quite tasty.
what kind of bug is this and what do i do to get rid of them without harming the plant. (also about 10ft away is a chinse lilac. could it be the same bug?|
I have no idea, Tina. If you didn't see the bugs, it'd be a wild guess at best. Mine remain relatively unscathed, even with the ridiculous onslaught of Japanese beetles we've seen this year.
|Betty Maupin||May 06, 2006|| I am taking a cutting of Ninebark, Diablo. I used rooting hormone, do you
think I should put a clear plastic bag over it also?
Nice web site.
I'm more a seed guy than a cutting guy, but I believe in most cases it is beneficial to preserve humidity around cuttings, for which a cover would be helpful.
|erica olson||Jun 06, 2006||I had a Diablo Ninebark for 6 years. It was on the North side of the house (Central WI) and it grew to be about 12 ft tall and 10 ft wide - bigger by far than the tag stated. I loved it, but so did the aphids.
When I moved last Fall I took a seedling with me but when it leafed out this Spring it had reverted to green. |
|Fran Grady||Sep 03, 2006||I purchased a shrub 3 summers ago and although it has grown from approximately 1 foot to about 5 feet, it has yet to flower. It appears to be a very healthy plant and receives sunlight for the entire day but could this be why it is not flowering??|
Mine are in full sun, and flowered in their second or third year after starting from seed. I don't know what might be going on with yours...
|skiwithchar||May 05, 2008||Hi! I have one of the ninebarks, and am thinking of splitting/dividing it into two, since it's supposed to get so big... do you know if this will kill the plant, or will it be ok? I plan to make a clean "cut" through the roots... Any help you can offer would be great! |
|connie hall||Jul 27, 2008||we live in the middle of the country. would a nine bark be a good choice with all the japenese beetles that come from the fields?
In our garden ninebark is not a Japanese beetle favorite - they may browse it, but they don't flock to it like they do to our pussy willow, sand cherry, and hardy hibiscus.
|Grace||Jan 17, 2009||Any idea how big the diablo grows in the Pacific NW (Cascade Foothills)?|
I don't know. Ours is a large shrub (about 9') by now , about ten years after we first welcomed it into our zone 6 garden.
|Diane Vinci||Jun 30, 2009||I just purchased a physocarpus opulifolius _ Physo op Summr Wine Ninebark(from its tag) - it resides in shade in the morning and full hot sun in day and back to shade in late afternoon. It keeps wilting - what should/or shouldn't be doing to improve the conditions.
Just keep it well watered in this first season. Once fully established, it should be quite capable of weathering some drought.
|ray||May 20, 2011||A simple and dirty way to propagate Physocarpus (and other shrubs with arching branches like forsythia) is to simply bend a long, arching branch down to the ground, scoop out a shallow trough (@1/2"-1" deep), put the branch in with some sticking out on both sides, cover it with the scooped out soil and put a rock on it. Usually, it has lots of healthy roots and is ready for transplanting within a growing season. The connection back to the main plant provides it with moisture and nutrients, so extra watering is unnecessary until you transplant it.
I transplanted three new Dart's Gold this spring from this approach. I have also been able to increase the size of a forsythia clump this way as well.
Most of the commercial Ninebarks, like Diabolo, are singular mutations or hybrids of specific mutations and do not propagate their horticultural characteristics through seed. The named varieties generally need to be propagated through rooted cuttings or they are likely to just be the green original species. They are native to the eastern US but Diabolo was discovered in a nursery field in Germany. Coppertina and Center Glow are hybrids of Diabolo and other specific varieties such as Dart's Gold.|
|bgiles403||Jun 28, 2011||Hi I have a Physocarpus "Satin Chocolate" It was planted last year and has flowered lovely this year. There are numerous branches coming up in the centre straight up and strike me as being suckers however do not want to cut them out and harm the bush but want to keep a 4-5ft. size bush. Thank you.|
I'm not familiar with that cultivar - but assuming it's not a dwarf variety, you're trying to keep your shrub smaller than it would naturally grow. In that case, the new branches are a good thing - it allows you to cut away older upright branches periodically, leaving the new ones to rejuvenate and fill out the shrub, and avoiding building up a scraggly trunk.
|Macedonian||Jul 12, 2011||We just got our landscaping done in our backyard which included 14 of these physocarpus diablos. But several are wilting and we can actually see dying leaves in the middle. Was this a bad transplant or does it need time to establish? We set the sprinklers for twice a day and it's been 85+ during the days.|
These are tough shrubs, once established. Keep the soil reasonably moist, but make sure not to overwater (soil should not be soggy between waterings). It may even help, if the plants are small enough, to provide some partial shade during the heat of the day. If the plants fail despite your good care, get your landscaper to replace them – this is hardly the best time of year to install new plantings.
|Geri||Aug 31, 2011||Great info. on the Physocarpus. I just planted my first Ninebark "Coppertina". I am so hoping it does as well. I am concerned about my soil condition. I have planted it in full sun but the soil tends to get very wet at times as I have a stone wall behind it and landscape edging it front of it. I was told that the ninebark can handle some wetness... one reason I selected this shrub. Do I have a potential problem? Any ideas on how I can make this work? Thanks|
I agree that physocarpus can handle some wet. One of ours is planted in an area that gets very soggy during periods of extended rain, and it does just fine.
|joyce graber no. Cal z9a||Feb 20, 2012||Hi, i recently purchased some ninebark seed on ebay, when I looked at the seeds I couldn't figure out what was seed and what wasn't, it just looks like stuff on the ground from leaves, weeds, etc. And, no, I don't have a clue what the seeds look like. Can you give me a description of what it should look like? thx in advance|
I'm afraid there's probably no seed in the material you received - the ninebark seed is immediately obvious, as slightly oblong, shiny tan-colored particles, about 1/16" in diameter. In my experience, most seedheads have only a limited number of developed seeds.
|sandra ||Mar 25, 2020||Hello!
Does anyone know if I can divide a very mature ninebark shurb? It's about 4 ft in diameter and 10-12 ft high. I'd like to take some of that shurb and move it another part of the yard.
Thank you! |
I no longer grow ninebark, but in my recollection the two specimens I grew were single-trunked or tightly multi-trunked. I doubt that division of a mature specimen will be successful. If you can extract a smaller side shoot without greatly disturbing the roots of the original plan, it's worth a try.
- Seed from '01 trade. Baggy 70F (90%G, 8-35d). Extra warmth helped germination
- Seed from '04 garden, collected from 'Diabolo'. Baggy 75F (57%G, 10-23d)
- Seed from '04 garden, collected from species. Baggy 75F (52%G, 8-27d)
- Seed from '07 garden collected from 'Diabolo'. Baggy 75F (35%G, 7-17d). About half the seedlings have dark coloration
I welcome comments about my web pages; feel free to use the form below to
leave feedback about this particular page. For the benefit of other visitors
to these pages, I will list any relevant comments you leave, and if
appropriate, I will update my page to correct mis-information. Faced with an
ever-increasing onslaught of spam, I'm forced to discard any comments including
html markups. Please submit your comment as plain text. If you have a
comment about the website as a whole, please leave it in my
guestbook. If you
have a question that needs a personal response, please