Physocarpus opulifolius, commonly known as Ninebark is currently in full bloom here in Kansas City.
Ninebark is an easy to grow deciduous shrub that adds interest to the landscape all year long . It thrives in average, but well-drained soil in the full sun or partial shade, but will also tolerate dry periods with no serious damage.
Ninebark’s dense white or pink blooms typically appear on gracefully arching branches in mid to late May and last until early June, attracting butterflies of all types. Flowers become drooping clusters of fruit that begin as a light pink and turn rosy red as the summer progresses and end as brown clusters that attract migrating birds in the fall.
Winter however, adds a new dimension to ninebark’s allure. Once the leaves have dropped, the bark, especially on older stems begins to exfoliate into thin, papery strips, revealing an array of color from the lightest tan to a deep reddish brown.
Beautiful as a massed hedge or as a focal point, ninebark can be cut to the ground in winter to revive tired plants. Pruning should be completed by August to ensure strong blooms the next spring.