jetred(3 Mb)May 5, 2004

Hi All

Have any of you grown Ninebark in semi-shaded rather dry conditions? I am looking for alternative shrubs for my front garden (NW side). I can't seem to grow hydrangea as it is too dry. I have a weigela (red Prince), a varigated dogwood, blue danube juniper, and a calgary juniper there already plus some perennials. I have a big space behind the blue danube, under the front window that needs to be filled. It gets sun for a few hours at the end of the day.

To make a long story short, I thought I might try Ninebark.

Any other ideas for shrubs? I would like to hear about your experiences.

Thanks very much.

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cailinriley(z3 Calgary AB)

Hi, jetred. I grow a Diablo ninebark in sun...absolutely love it--great leaves, beautiful flowers and berries. It grows in a lovely vase shape. I've already bought more to plant this year. For semi-shade, the golden varieties (Dart's Gold, for example) should work well for you. The leaves would positively glow in the soft light. Depending on how much sun it gets, the leaves may be more chartreuse than yellow, but that would only make it a better complement to the plants you already have. If you go ahead and get one, be advised that the bark does peel (that's why it's called ninebark). It makes the bush look interesting in the winter. Someone not prepared for that characteristic might think it's winter damage!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2004 at 12:07AM
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jetred(3 Mb)

Thanks for the advice and the education. Always wondered why it was called "ninebark".

    Bookmark   May 7, 2004 at 9:44PM
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I have two Gold Ninebarks in shade until 3pm, but the soil is very very moist.
If you know someone who has one, and are willing to be patient with it 'growing up' you might ask for cuttings. It's an easy one to start as such - I actually sold 4 today at my daughter's spring fair which we rooted last year. In that way, you could plant it in the fall when the ground is moist, letting it establish itself before the next summer.
And yes, in the shade it is a beautiful chartreuse!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2004 at 7:48PM
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KMGuiguet(4b/5a Ottawa)

Here in Ottawa, I have two Dart's Gold planted in almost full shade under a grove of mature pines where it is dry and gets no direct sunlight. I put them in late last year and they both flowered this spring and glow with that limey green light. They promise to fill in and block the view of the neighbour's unsightly orange fence.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2004 at 6:47PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

You guys like ninebarks? Just wait. The Landscape Developement Center, headed by Dr. Harold Pellet here in Minneapolis, Minnesota has crossed Diablo with one of the golden types like Dart's Gold. One or two selections will be released next year to wholesale nursery propagators. I am guessing we will see them in 3 or 4 years. The original shrubs I saw were quite breathtaking, with new growth yellow, grading as it ages to green then maroon (but not quite as dark as Diablo). Tentative name will be Fireglow if it is approved.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 12:11AM
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I purchased 4 Diablo last year for my front "foundation" planting. (yes I hat to admit it). Anyway thay have been very good in a difficult area - western exposure with 100 degree plus afternoons. the dark foliage is a good contrast. i am concerned that they may get too big for the soe.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2004 at 12:52AM
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I have the Diabolo in shade at home and it's doing fine. I also planted some ( alternating Gold and Diabolo)in the downtown core in concrete planters where not much will survive. These are supposed to be shade, drought & cold tolerant so I'm crossing my fingers.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2004 at 2:20PM
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debbb(zone 6B)

Ninebark actually grows on the edges of swamps naturally. I've had no luck with it in the shade. But I have clay, too. Maybe that's the problem

    Bookmark   September 11, 2004 at 9:35PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Ninebarks do fine in clay.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2004 at 5:05PM
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REID1975(z3-5 NH)

Ninebark is known best for it shade tolorence here in NH. Extremely cold hardy and fits in the largest range of soil types. Love the Dwarf Ninebark for foundation plantings-Physocarpus opulifolius nanus.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2004 at 1:32PM
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gordonf(z8a/Vancouver I)

I have a Diabolo Ninebark growing in mostly shade and it does fine, except this year it didn't bloom but it shot skyward! By the way, it seems I read somewhere that it's called "Ninebark" due to its layers of bark that split open as it ages.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2004 at 2:06AM
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does anyone have any ninebark seeds?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 2:23AM
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lesleynd(z3/4 ND)

I have heard a lot about Ninebark Diablo but what about the common Ninebark? Is it a nice looking shrub also? Thanks

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 2:27PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Common ninebark would be the same, just green leaves. It's nice if you want a wild look, and would probably fair better than others under trees. Bees and flower flies love it when it blooms too.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 2:46PM
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DeeAnne_WC(Zone 9: Calif.)

I have ninebark (physocarpus diablo) and I love it--but the deer like it too, so I dug it up when it was dormant and am looking for a good place for it in my back yard.

It got a mixture of sun and shade in the front yard.

It didn't bloom after the first year--I don't know if that was because the deer pruned it for me, incorrect amount of sun, or some other reason. Maybe it doesn't get cold enough where I live (Northern California) and/or it gets too hot in the summer. Any suggestions or advice on the best place to plant it?

One interesting thing, though--when I went out this weekend to plant a replacement (Carpenteria Californica) in the front yard, I found a few ninebark twigs that I obviously hadn't cleaned up when I dug it up in December. They were lying on top of the soil, and had sprouted leaves! I dipped them in rooting hormone and planted them in a starter mixture in pots. They seem to be doing fine. I don't know if this is an indication of how aggressive this plant is, but it sure surprised me!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 3:13PM
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Ninebark here (sothwestern Ontario, Canada) is absolutely deer-proof. I live in the middle of a forest, and the deer never forage on it. Even better, ninebarks are never touched by rabbits or voles, either.
We have Dart's Gold, Diablo, Summer Wine (new last year) and Coppertina (new this year). And of course, the wild species, which I grew from seed.
We're absolutely in love with this shrub.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 10:46AM
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This shrub sounds like the perfect plant for my western garden and to contrast with my Green Velvent boxwoods. I just dug up four Midnight Wine Weigela that did not make it through the winter...such a disappointmentb because I was ready for a nice siz plant after one year of being planted. It contrasted nicely with everything else in the garden.

My only concern with Ninebark is the size. I do not mind giving it a trim once a year, but if it really has the potential to grow ten feet, it will outgrow its home rather quickly.

Any thoughts on this as a plant in front of Green Velvet boxwoods that I keep small (we have very long windows in the front and I like to keep the shrubs below the window, hence the boxwood choice)? Any alternatives that are deer resistant and maroon or burgundy foilage, but not barberry???!!! Does this shrub grow quickly and would it be tough to keep it a manageable size. Does it spread or is it more upright? A spreading shrub would be perfect to fill in the garden and to eliminate having to mulch every spring.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 7:56AM
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homer_zn5(z5 IN)

I bought two of the Diablo ninebark as a promotional deal at Lowe's two years ago. Small (1/2 gal?) containers with barely more than twigs on top . . . $1.00 each. But the foliage was outstanding!

This year, one is dead due to an unfortunate incident with the lawnmower last year, but the other is slowly plodding along--about 2.5 foot tall, and growing in somewhat of a vase shape. It gets full sun, and doesn't receive much TLC in our heavy clay soil. I'd love to have more, and will probably try to layer this once it gets some size to it.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2005 at 3:21PM
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I love these shrubs,also-I have Diablos planted in my backyard and they're in heavy clay soil and its very wet this time of year but they seem to love the conditions.I just purchased a few of the Dart's Gold-does anyone know how big these might get?-they're supposed to be a dwarf form of Golded Ninebark,but I've seen figures ranging from just three feet to seven or eight feet.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 7:35AM
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Pink_Petunia(3a Cnd)

I bought my Diablo Ninebark last year, they warned me that it may get out of hand and will need some hard pruning. I'm hoping it's not going to be that vigorous. I want to keep it to about 5 ft high and no more than 3 ft wide.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 10:57AM
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garasaki(z5 IA)

Anyone got any tips on propagating Diablo from cuttings? Time of year, loction/size of cuttings, how long to expect a nice looking little bush from a rooted cutting?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 6:28PM
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jetred(3 Mb)

This message seems to have a life of its own since I started it last summer. To wrap things up for me, I bought a golden ninebark and it made it through the winter very successfully and now is blooming and looks great with its companion plants.

Happy Gardening (in the rain)!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 7:22PM
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Greenthumb(Zone 5a, MN)

I've rooted cuttings of my parent's golden ninebark by just sticking semi-mature cuttings into moist garden soil. No rooting hormone is necessary. Seems very easy to start from cuttings.
Good luck,

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 9:12AM
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Here in Southern Oregon ninebark in the wild is pretty much a streamside plant only. I want to use it to anchor the soil on a slope outside my house, so I'm planning on getting some cuttings from down by the river. I don't know the taxonomical name of the species or variety we have. We always called it wild snowball bush until I recently heard it being called ninebark, which name I like better.

Incidentally, nine bark is great for making string and rope, although it's not quite as strong as other fiber plants. Peel the split 'braided' bark from the stems and twine it together. I can often get strips to come off as long as six feet! The resulting string is a beautiful dark gold / copper color.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 1:43AM
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Daliah(zone 5)

My boyfriend and I have a nice hedge row of diablo ninebark. They were appox. 7ft. tall this year. He always gives them a good trim after they flower. They were cut down to about 4 ft. but now towards the end of the summer they have grown about 1/2-1ft. so far. We find them very managable. I recently picked up the "Nugget" variety which seems very lovely. I will plant it along the one side of the house providing I can find a few more to accompany it. Just keep in mind if you are planning a hedge row to space them about every 2 feet apart. It may seem unnatural or look strange, but believe me, they will fill-in those gaps and look great! I will try to post a picture later!


    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 11:40AM
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jasper_60103(z4 MN)

I here diablo ninebark has been used as hedge or screen and other places in the yard, but I was wondering has anyone used it on the corner of their house? You know, where you would normally expect a small ornamental tree or large shrub?

I planted one diablo ninebark on the corner of my house, but afterwords I thought a taller shrub/tree would probably look better. I have a 2 story house that kinda dwarfs the my ninebark. I think its currently about 5 feet tall. Now I'm torn now because it has done so well and its very attractive. Also, the other choices that would work in that spot aren't as attractive to me.
I admit it's not as tall as I would desire, but do you think just adding a couple more to form a grouping would help?
Appreciate your opinions. thanks,


    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 4:46PM
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jasper_60103(z4 MN)

I thought some pics would help.

Do you think I need a more vertical shrub or small tree on corner?
The spot is kinda small. The radius of the wall is 9 feet from house.
Maybe its fine the way it is?


    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 10:12PM
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jasper_60103(z4 MN)

FYI. I decided not to remove the Ninebark mentioned in my previous post. It looks great where it is!

Now I'm thinking about adding a few more to my yard in a shadey location.

I hear they do well in shade, but do they keep their dark maroon color?


    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 12:10PM
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Can anyone tell me what is wrong with my Golden Ninebark? It is planted in acidic soil near fir trees. It gets filtered sun and watered twice weekly in the summer. Our well water is high in minerals. It gets a top dressing of compost each fall and a shot of 20 20 20 each spring. The problem is.... it is nine years old and hasn't grown an inch since it was planted! It is still about 14 inches high. Yes... I plan to move it... but everything I have read says partial shade is good.... Any ideas or suggestions? Thx

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 12:26AM
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cateyanne(zone 5/6 Northern Ohio)

I have never heard of Ninebark but this posts makes it sound very interesting. could some of you post pictures of the varieties you have and how big they are? I wonder if I can have them where I live? I have never seen them at the local nurseries, does anyone have a mail-order source? Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 8:38AM
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I was just googling how to prune one, and this thread came up. I'll try to get a pic of mine- I can't recall. Maybe it was last year. No matter. Although it is an 'odd' shrub in my yard, and placed off by itself in my row of weirdness along my driveway with 2 Tardiva Hydrangea, a Rose of Sharon, and some Golden Rose of China, there's just something about it I like.

What I'm not real fond of right now is that it's taken on a life of its own and is starting to look like an octopus. Several of the 'leaders' have shot up away from the rest, and they need to be taken down a notch- LOL! I'll try to get a pic for you this evening, cate.

FWIW, I did purchase this at a local nursery, but it was one of the 'better' nurseries in our area (read: they carry a lot more, the quality is generally better, and the setup is 'nicer' and thus, the prices are a tad higher, but worth what you get.)

Anyway, thanks for coming up in my google search. I'll do some more searching for the 'when' of pruning, as I'm getting conflicting info from daliah's post, and other web info which says it's ok to prune back hard in the fall.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 2:35PM
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So here's the pic of it this morning. It was just a little thing when I bought it. Now that I think about it, it was last season, not 2004, so it's only a year out of the pot. All the 'gangly' arms have grown since then, so I'll probably prune it back to where it's more full- about 18" off the ground there. One broken arm, too, that'll have to come off :(
Hoping that the growth spurts will continue as successfully as this year's was once I prune it back!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 8:17AM
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Laurie_z3_MB(sw MB)

Cateyanne, here's a picture of my ninebark 'Diablo' in full bloom in June. It's about 6 years old and is about 6' tall and wide. I picked this one up at Walmart.

Hope this helps,

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 1:15PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Laurie, do you ever prune it? I just got one this fall, and it is rather lanky. I was thinking that I might be tempted to prune it now for spring growth, or perhaps I should wait until it blooms in spring.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 7:36PM
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Laurie_z3_MB(sw MB)

It's never been pruned. I've also got another one, about 2 years old I think, and it's fairly lanky too. I think that's just the nature of these shrubs and that they'll fill out as they mature. But if you do want to try pruning, I'd wait until it was done blooming in the spring.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 9:54AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Thanks, Laurie. I was thinking that it might be best to prune after blooming, as that is the "standard rule" of pruning. However, I was also thinking that I might force more bushiness if I trimmed the leader stem. I think I'll wait until I see what it does in the spring.

I've got a mock orange nearby that has been in ground for 6 years, and not bloomed yet. I've trimmed it; I've let it grow; I've root pruned it; I've cut it down to about a foot tall, and still it grows like crazy, and does not bloom. This spring may be its last. Hopefully the ninebark will work better for me.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 8:27AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Stumbled onto this thread when I was studding ninebark, ....Rick has suggested for Bees.

That Diablo looks awesome! it visited by bees or honey bees?


    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 2:32PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Forgot to ask, you know which one is better for bees?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 2:37PM
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Laurie_z3_MB(sw MB)

Hi Konrad, did you mean me? You know, I can't say that I remember a lot of bee activity on the ninebarks. I've also got the golden variety close by, and I have to say that the flowers do show up much better on the 'Diablo' variety. Both of these ninebarks are right by the cotoneaster hedge, and that's always a buzz with bees or wasps. So I'm thinking that they prefer the cotoneaster over the ninebark.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 9:58AM
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messymoops(z6a MA)

nothing like coming late to the table!! Well, I only got my Ninebark this year, so I thought I'd read a little about it. It's supposed to be a Diablo, but the leaves are NOT red, just green! Also, the branches have sort of fallen open over the months. it's not unattractive, i just didn't expect it to do that. AND, i thought it would have bloomed by now. But nothing. We planted it in June, i guess. It's in a south facing spot, but with dappled sunlight until late afternoon when it gets full sun for a few hours. Anyone have insight for me?!


    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 6:10PM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

I probably wouldn't worry about it not blooming, mine was purchased as a one-gallon pot last year and didn't bloom. This year it bloomed quite a bit.

As for the green leaves, maybe it's currently not getting enough sun? Or, perhaps, if you bought it already in full leaf maybe it wasn't getting enough sun at the nursery? (Sun tends to bring out the purple leaf color.) At any rate, sometimes purple leaf shrubs turn more purple-green during summer and even then it might depend on the individual weather of that summer.

As for branch structure, I think that's normal. Mine has these strong branches growing fairly upright, but some awkward looking bending branches toward the outside. My purple leaf sandcherry used to get these as well and once it was a decent size I just trimmed them.

Maybe wait until Diablo has it's full complete year in your garden to see?


    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 9:21PM
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I also have 3 Diablo Ninebark, beautiful bushes. Mine never flowered for the first 2 years, since then they have done a great job of flowering. They had lovely dark purple foliage when I bought them but this year I noticed that one of them was sending up green shoots. Does anyone know if these shrubs are grafted? Anyway, I just cut off the green stems. That seems to have solved the problem. This year I also decided to get 2 more Diablo since we like them so much. I bought 2 that were labeled Diablo and looked the same. When we got them home and started to plant them, we noticed that the foliage wasn't quite as dark purple as Diablo. I called the nursery and asked them what other kinds they had. It turns out the ones I bought were mislabeled, still beautiful shrubs, but they were called Summer Wine. We have them all planted a fair distance from the house and when you look out at them you can't tell the difference, up close you can. Marg

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 11:21AM
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I just love my Diablo, we have 3 in front of the house, along the foundation. Not getting much water or sun, The sun it gets is from 4pm to sundown. The maroon is not as intense, as if they were in full sun, but still get enough maroon to make it interesting. Nothing would grow there before, but the Ninebark took of amazingly well. We had to trim them the first year, because they had grown so fast. This spring, we had a lot of white/pinkish blooms on them.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 10:25PM
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I have 4 ninebark planted last year, not sure of the variety but the leaves start green and turn somewhat burgundy. They developed some sort of disease that a local plant specialist defined as a fungus. I bought a spray fungus killer and removed all damaged leaves and sprayed the plant every 2 weeks until it was under control. Not that the leaves are blooming the fungus is back. Any recommendations on what can be causing this and how I get rid of it permanently?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 9:07AM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

I adored my Diablo but now I think I have to move it. It gets plenty of sun, but from 4 p.m. on it's in a shady corner and it makes the corner look rather dull and depressing. Maybe I just have to spice up the corner with other greenery to contrast against the Diablo color.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 8:33PM
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