En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Shape of common ninebark in Canton MI

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - April 24, 2010

From: Canton, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Shape of common ninebark in Canton MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have planted one center glow ninebark in a triangular area in between my front walk and driveway. It looks a little odd just having one plant, but I originally did this b/c of the mature plant height being 8' x 10' eventually. (there are a few hostas & day lilies in this area as well.) My question is can I shape this plant into a hedge if I add in another center glow ninebark, or is the round shape what I want to strive for?

ANSWER:

The 'Center Glow" you referred to is apparently a nursery retailer's idea of a more sellable name of a shrub than Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark). How you shape it is a matter of your preference and what works in your space, of course; the ninebark doesn't grow in Texas so we have no personal experience with it. From this USDA Plant Profile, we learned that it is native to Wayne County and hardy in your USDA Hardness Zone of 5b to 6a.

In terms of mound-shaped or hedge, the page on this plant in our Native Plant Database says:

"A 3-10 ft., mound-shaped, deciduous shrub, atlantic ninebark offers spiraea-like flowers, attractive and persistent fruit pods, arching branches, yellow fall color, and exfoliating bark." 

However, you also need to read this website from Paghat's Garden Physocarpus opulifolius. This gardener does grow the ninebark, and he refers to it as a thicket-forming, deciduous shrub that, if left to its own devices, spreads by underground runners and grows upright and slightly fountaining. That sounds to us like it would be really better to do some pruning and controlling, whether you add another bush or not, or it will rampage all over your garden. Just to help you visualize, we went to Google for images of the Ninebark. Most of these looked like they were mounding or "fountaining" and not hedges. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Physocarpus opulifolius

Physocarpus opulifolius

Physocarpus opulifolius

Physocarpus opulifolius

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Container plants for part shade in Bee Cave TX
June 18, 2013 - Dear Mr Smarty Pants, I am looking for plants that will thrive on my covered porch in 3 tall planters. These are meant to help me block an unattractive view out my living room window, so they must...
view the full question and answer

Native tree or shrub with fruit to espalier on fence
July 23, 2010 - I live in the Austin, TX area and I would like to choose a native tree or shrub to espalier on a fence in my garden. Ideally, I would like to use a tree that bears fruit. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Flowering tree with non-invasive roots from Palos Verde CA
June 24, 2013 - Want a flowering tree with noninvasive roots for Palos Verdes, CA.
view the full question and answer

Large-scale container garden for New York City
August 17, 2013 - I am a community volunteer in NYC who is trying to help a non-profit set up two large container gardens (about 3 feet high by 4 feet long by 2 or so feet wide). The problem is that they want natives,...
view the full question and answer

Winter- and drought-resistant plant for North Central Texas
April 11, 2012 - I would like to know is there a good winter and drought resistant flowering bush for my area. I would like something with bigger flowers like azaleas or roses maybe bigger, that will not grow anymore...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center