Diabolo Ninebark is a large, drought tolerant deciduous shrub with intense reddish-purple color. Ninebark has been around for a while but I had not used it before in any of my designs or in my own garden. Thanks to Stefan at Arbor Valley Nursery for recommending this versatile plant!
I was looking for a large shrub that would provide screening along the inside of an open-rail fence. I wanted something that could handle the full sun and dry conditions, and that would get large enough to provide the screening that the client desired. Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) was my first choice, but in a 5 gallon size it was very small and spindly, and it is a slow grower- my client wanted some impact right way (note the size in the photo). Diabolo Ninebark provided the perfect solution.
Scientific Name: Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’
Plant Type: Deciduous Shrub
Mature Height: 6-8′
Mature Spread: 6-8′
Water Requirement: Low
Exposure: Sun (will handle part shade, but is said to have the best color in full sun).
Best Features: Intense foliage color.
Flowers: Clusters of creamy white flowers in mid summer.
Winter Interest: Limited. Bark tends to peel, which can be interesting.
Disadvantages: None known to me.
Availability and Sizes: Readily available for retail and wholesale purchase. Typically found in a 5 gallon container size.
Other: I think this plant would be a great replacement for Purple Leaf Plum, which requires more water, is susceptible to disease problems, and (in my opinion) is somewhat overused.
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