Ninebark Growing Guide

Physocarpus opulifolius


Crop Rotation Group



Fertile, well-drained soil with a neutral to slightly acidic pH.


Full sun to part shade.

Frost tolerant

Yes, ninebark is winter hardy woody shrub, tolerating cold to -20°F (-29°C).


Feed with a balanced organic fertilizer in spring for the first year or two, until the plant is well established.


Single Plants: 5' 10" (1.80m) each way (minimum)
Rows: 5' 10" (1.80m) with 5' 10" (1.80m) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Wild ninebark can be started from seeds sown outdoors in fall, immediately after the brown seed pods are collected from plants. Successful seedlings will appear in late spring. Start with a purchased plant if you want a cultivar with red or chartreuse leaves. Plant as early as possible in spring. Container-grown ninebark shrubs can be set out until early summer. Closer spacing may be needed when dwarf cultivars are planted as a hedge. Container growing is not recommended because even dwarf ninebark cultivars grow to 4 feet (1.2 m) tall and wide. Young plants can be held in containers for a year if they are attentively watered.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Native to much of North America, ninebark gets is common name from its peeling bark, which provides winter interest when the branches are bare. Globes of white or pink flowers appear in spring on long, arching branches. Many improved cultivars are available that feature colorful leaves, compact growth habit, and strong blooming. Because it is native, ninebark is often recommended as a replacement for invasive or exotic shrubs in American gardens. Prune as needed in mid to late summer, after the plants have finished blooming. Ninebark blooms on old wood, so pruning in summer gives the plants plenty of time to set buds for the following season.



Pests and diseases are uncommon with ninebark, though powdery mildew can develop late in the season. Root rot can occur in low spots that do not drain well.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Ninebark