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Pacific Ninebark

  • Scientific Name: Physocarpus capitatus
  • Garden: Natives Garden, Rain Garden
  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Evergreen/Deciduous: Deciduous
  • Sun/Shade Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Moisture Requirements: Wet

Plant Information

If you have a naturally-moist area of your garden with space for a largish shrub to settle in and make itself at home, the Pacific Ninebark might be the perfect choice.

In the wild it can be found along stream banks, at the edge of moist woodlands and wetlands; it will indeed languish if allowed to get too dry.
The clusters of flower buds, with their reddish-pink hue, open to reveal near spheres of tightly packed, tiny white flowers from April to July. What follows are pinkish-brown seed coats that tend to remain on the plant throughout the year, adding more contrast and texture (along with the peeling bark) for winter interest.

Slightly crinkled, dark/bright green lobed leaves, reminiscent of currant or maple, is a beautifully textured contrast against that of the reddish-brown, shredding bark.
Characteristics: An upright, thicket-producing shrub that can range in size from 6 to 12 feet tall and wide, depending mostly on amount of sun and water it receives. Deciduous leaves are lobed and toothed, similar to red-flowering currant and reminiscent of maple.

Tight clusters of small white flowers appear in late spring into mid-summer followed by persistent brown seed coats; its reddish peeling bark makes it an attractive specimen in the winter garden.

Culture: Full sun to part shade, moist to fairly wet soil. Requires some pruning to keep its naturally graceful, arching shape from getting straggly.

Pests/Diseases: Occasionally subject to aphids and powdery mildew, but not frequently. Generally trouble-free.

Data Source

Photo Credit

PHCA Full, PHCA Flower2, PHCA Leaf (©2022 Cheri Moland)