Physocarpus: Garden Color All Growing Season
As we progress through the spring season, green becomes the background color of our gardens. We plant a variety of flowers to create pops of purple, orange, yellow, red, white, and pink. These exciting moments of color can last all growing season if you plant Physocarpus with various foliage hues.
While ninebark plants do bloom with a white or pink flower in the spring, Physocarpus cultivars offer tones of purple to orange/yellow foliage. These foliage colors add variety to your color palette in the garden without the use of flowers.
Check out some of our favorite cultivars. These selections are resistant to the mildew problem plagued by some varieties.
Physocarpus opulifolius Summer WineTM is a staple in the Terry Shane Teaching Garden with its superior powdery mildew resistance and rich, dark purple foliage. This native produces soft pink flowers this time of year but our horticulturist values it for the purple foliage.
Physocarpus opulifolius Amber JubileeTM is a combination of various foliage colors. This spring you can see the yellow and orange foliage paired with the dark purple of P. Summer WineTM in the shrub border in the Terry Shane Teaching Garden. The orange leaves will mature to lime-green, completing the cycle with purple in the fall.
Finally, if you love the color but do not have the space for a ninebark, consider Physocarpus opulifolius Tiny Wine®. With a height of only 3-4’ and spread of around 4-5’, this small ninebark will fit nicely into almost any garden bed. P. Tiny Wine® has deep purple foliage making it an excellent plant for year-round interest. Blooming in late spring with a profusion of small white and pink flower clusters, it has a fine, dainty texture, yet is very showy.
Once established, Physocarpus is extremely tough, enjoys full sun, and can tolerate most soil types. Consider using these foliage hues to add color to your garden.
Scott Associates can choose Physocarpus opulifolius Tiny Wine® or Anemone x hybrid ‘Loreley’ as their spring dividend this weekend during the Scott Arboretum Selections: Spring Sale (See website for times.)