Saturday, July 9, 2011

What can you Tell Me about the Ninebark Diabolo shrub?

Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo'

I bought two of them today to use when I redo the porch border. I liked the rich reddish-purple leaf color and since they will be planted among mature shrubs, the fast upright growth habit is a big plus. Ninebark Diabolo grows 4 to 8ft tall with a similar spread.  I need something tall and full for this area.

 I thought I would plant the second one on the opposite of the porch, although a bit further forward than this picture shows.

Here is a close-up of the leaf color:

This shrub has a smallish white flower in late spring/early summer, but the flowers look to be insignificant. They remind me of spirea flowers. Imagine my surprise when I read that it is related to genus Spiraea! 

I bought it only for its spectacular leaf color.  After googling it, I found another characteristic that appeals to me -- it has exfoliating bark in the winter-- apparently quite a few layers as the name "ninebark" comes from this characteristic.    I noticed evidence of this at the bottom of the shrub:
Of course, the purple foliage covers this all summer, but once the leaves drop, it will add winter interest.

I have not yet planted these and can still return them if any of you can give me a good reason to.  Do you have this shrub?  Do you like it?  I am eager for any help you can give me!  I read that it is native to Missouri -- Patti, do you grow this one?

I was out early this morning pruning my yew hedge on the side of the garage.  I just use my Felco pruners and it takes about an hour to remove any new spring growth and reduce its girth. I wish I could reduce my girth in such a short time!

After it was done, I cleaned up the skinny "garage garden" behind me.  Earlier this spring I hit it with Round Up because it was full of stuff I no longer wanted.  Now I need to come up with a new planting in this area.  I wonder if zinnias would grow here?  I would love a nice strip of colorful zinnias. I wonder if the hedge blocks too much sun..................this area has a ton of Star of Bethlehem bulbs...I sprayed the flowers with Round Up, but I suspect the bulbs with flourish next spring.  I swear, NOTHING kills that flower.
DH needs to get out the rarely used Christmas gift (power washer)  from 10 years ago and clean the sidewalk!

So I have had a busy Saturday. Earlier I splashed some new-to-me Sweet Baby Ray's Steakhouse marinade on a pair of supermarket-special T-Bone steaks which DH will be grilling for dinner. I am now heading out to the deck to sip wine and relax a bit before dinner. 

I hope you are all having a great Saturday!


  1. Zoey, in the garden center, the diablo gets powdery mildew something fierce, but none of that has shown up on mine.
    Another bonus--deer don't eat mine!!

  2. Zoey the Diablo does not get powdery mildew here. The only one I have that does is the Ninebark Coppertina and with the rains this year and where it's at, it might be this year only. If that one does it next year I may pull that one out, but my Diablo's and Center Glow are gorgeous. In fact I have photos of both of them on my blog in bloom. I LOVE them, really love them. The only one I saw in research for it was the one I mentioned. Didn't know it at the time as I had researched the other two. Now keep in mind to leave enough room around it as they get wide also, but I think it's one of the most stunning shrubs there are. Any other questions feel free to email me.
    Cher Sunray Gardens
    Goldenray Yorkies

  3. Sissy, I am thrilled to learn that deer don't eat them! Powdery mildew........YUCK! Not happy about that!

    I just visited your blog and I really, really like yours. It looks very nice in flower, too. Better than I expected. I am happy to hear that mildew has not been a problem for you!

  4. Hi Zoey,

    I put in three ninebarks this spring, Summer Wine, supposedly a cross with Diablo and some other variety. The flowers on Summer Wine are lovely (very showy) and it is recommended that it be sheared a few times before August (so that it will set flower buds for next year) to develop a pleasing shape.

    I am not sure if these are the directions for Diablo but they should give them online.

    Don't you just love that dark color? I put them in place of Rhus Aromatica which was a continual pruning job.


  5. Eileen,

    I think they had 'Summer Wine' and I was debating between the two. Does Summer Wine have bright pink flowers?

    I chose the other one because it was taller and I really need something sizeable soon!

    Do you have pics of the Summer Wine on your blog?

  6. I have a shrub that looks somewhat like that one but have no idea what it's called..
    Hey Zoey that pic of you reminds me of what the guy on Tim the Tool Man always did:)
    Your day sounds tiring but so successful..

  7. I planted zinnias this year, a smaller variety than before, and multi colors. There are now all white wooly worms eating them up. Sevin helps. Last year I had tall all red, I think I like them better.
    My MIL just told us about Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce, I will have to look for their rub.

  8. I fell in love with the Diablo Nine Bark my first garden center season~ and just had to have one! It's five years old now and one the easiest shrubs I have. It does very well in the part shade against the garage where I have it planted~ with little to no care, and blooms with abandon in spring. I also read that you can cut it back if gets too out of bounds~ which I think I will be doing next spring after it flowers. It is at the roof line of the garage now. And, I have had no problems with powdery mildew.
    I think you will be very happy with yours.

  9. Hi Betty,
    It took me a while to figure out who you were talking about, then I started laughing -- the neighbor guy whose face was always hid! LOL.

    OBQ, I remember those red ones. They were so pretty!

    LIl, Thank you for the info. I think I going to be happy with them now.

  10. Hi again Zoey. My Ninebarks will be 2 years old this fall. I started with about the same size you have. Last year they did really well and this year they shine and are growing well. I think you'll love them.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  11. I think Portulaca, Zinnias or Nasturtiums would do well in that little strip of garden you have-if you get good sun for a bit of the dad. The Ps and Ns seem to be hardier and bugs on the most part will leave them alone. I planted Zinnia in the veggie patch and somethings munching on it too!
    The Ninebarks looks interesting! Cant' wait to see it in your garden.

  12. Zoey,

    Your new Ninebarks will look wonderful. I have several different varieties and love the reddish-purple foliage.

  13. Cher,
    Thanks for letting me know that.

    Great idea on the nasturtium! I need to remember that for next year.

    Hi Donna,
    Thank you for your comment. It seems that almost everyone is happy with their Ninebarks. I am feeling good about my purchase. I just went out today and bought two dwarf Golden Threadleaf False Cypress to plant in front of them. I think it will be a nice combination - something different than all the dark green I now have.

  14. You will love your ninebarks! I have one that is called Ninebark center glow. It is very similar to yours. When I purchased mine it was about 3 feet tall. 4 years later it is now 8 feet tall! I have mine in full sun. People always stop to ask me the name of the plant. It is most beautiful when in bloom. Amazing clusters of white flowers all over. It is also beautiful in early spring when the center of my ninebak has a yellowish greenish color in the center of the new leaves that are coming out against the exterior purple leaves. Truly a sight to see! Does well in Washington state where I am.

  15. Hi Deb!

    Great review Nickie. Thanks so much!


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