Ninebark Winter Care

Ninebark is a perennial deciduous shrub, which means it will lose its leaves and go dormant for the winter. Hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7, Ninebark shrubs can handle the cold temperatures and will rebloom the following spring season.


Ninebark will grow in even the harshest of conditions. The main task you will want to do to protect your shrub from cold temperatures is pruning. Established shrubs can be pruned down to the ground before the first frost hits. This can be a preventative measure to avoid winter burn that some shrubs can suffer from. Pruning will also allow the shrub to renew itself and prepare for new flower and leaf growth in the spring.


Cutting Back Ninebark For Winter

Even though Ninebark shrubs go dormant for the winter months, some gardeners like the look of the peeling bark and dark colored leaves. They choose to leave the plant as is to provide winter interest in the landscape area. If this is the case, then late winter pruning should be done to prepare the shrub for spring. At this time, trim off any broken or crossing branches. You can also prune at this time to shape the plant.

Another option to prepare the shrub for winter is to prune the plant before the first frost hits. Continue to water the plant through the fall. Typically, you will want to cut the shrub down 3 to 4 inches from the ground. If you choose, you can cover the base with mulch.

Ninebark Winter Care in Pots

Ninebark grown in containers are treated the same as garden planted Ninebark. This plant will go dormant during the cold winter months. In the fall, water the shrub well and prune the plant 3 to 4 inches from the soil. Cover the base of the plant with mulch and water occasionally if in an area that will not get rain or snow. Some gardeners will move the container to a covered porch, a protected corner of the yard, or a cool garage. One the threat of frost is over, return the plant outdoors and watch for initial blooming.

Watering Ninebark in Winter

Ninebark is typically drought resistant, yet can handle moist soil conditions. Due to the fact that the plant goes dormant during the winter, very little to no watering will be needed when planted in the garden. Seasonal moisture should be satisfactory during this time. Container-grown Ninebark may need occasional watering depending on where the container is stored during the winter.

Growing Ninebark Indoors

Ninebark plants can be brought indoors for the winter time but it is not required or recommended. Remember that winter is a dormant time for the plant. It will be spending its cold weather time reenergizing for the spring blooming. Do not expect much blooming or growth during this time. Place the container in an area that will get full sun. Water occasionally.

Steps To Care For Ninebark in Winter

Ninebark is a perennial deciduous shrub. This plant will go dormant during the winter time. The leaves can drop but the peeling bark on the stems may still be of winter interest to some gardeners. If this is the case, leave the plant as is. Otherwise there are a few things you can do to help your shrub survive the cold weather months.

Step 1- Water

If precipitation is scarce in your area, it is a good idea to give the shrub a good drink of water in the fall and before the first hots.

Step 2- Mulch

Place a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant to protect the roots and conserve moisture during the winter.

Step 3- Prune

Prune the branches down 3-4 inches from the ground. This helps the shrub to put energy into preparing new leaves and blooms for the spring. 

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Author Chris Link - Published 09-29-2021