Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) is a flowering shrub that can provide year-round visual appeal in your landscape. It's named for its exfoliation bark that peels in layers as this shrub matures.
Correctly planting ninebark will provide a healthy start to this shrub reaching its full potential.
What You need to Plant Ninebark
Hose or watering can
Where to Plant Ninebark
Select a full sun to partial sun location with room for the shrub to reach its full width at maturity. Ninebark is fast-growing, so be sure to plan for its full width early on. They grow best in clay to loamy soil with an acidic to neutral pH (4.5 to 7). Dig a hole as deep as the container it was grown in so that the crown will be even with the existing ground or slightly above the existing ground.
Ninebark should be spaced 3 to 6 feet apart depending on the variety. Check the planting requirements for your specific variety by reading the nursery tag or doing online research. Ninebarks have a mature spread of 4 to 8 feet wide. Place them at least three feet from your house. Provide more room if you want or need to walk between the ninebark and your home, structures of fences for activities such as painting. Ninebark is a deciduous shrub so you may also want to be able to maneuver around it when raking the leaves. It grows in an upright habit that doesn’t need staking or support.
How to Plant Ninebark
Select a location and dig a hole as deep as the container and twice as wide. Place the container in the hole to check the depth. Once the hole is the correct size, carefully remove the shrub from the container. Do not pull the ninebarks from the container by the top.
Insert the ninebark into the hole and make sure the crown is level with the surrounding soil. Backfill the hole and make sure the roots are covered. Use a hand shovel to gently tamp down on the soil to remove any air pockets. Water well. Continue to water every few days during dry periods for a few weeks until the plant has had time to establish itself in its new home.
Steps to Plant Ninebark
Step 1 - Pick out a good location
Step 2 - Dig the hole
Step 3 - Make sure the hole is deep and wide enough
Step 4 - Remove the plant from the container or remove any burlap around the root ball
Step 5 - Position the plant in the hole and make sure the crown is level with the ground
Step 6 - Backfill with a mixture of native soil and compost.
Step 7 - Tamp the soil down to remove air pockets
Step 8 - Water thoroughly
When to Plant Ninebark
The best time to plant ninebark is in early spring when the plant is still dormant. This will give it time to become established before the heat of summer. Try to avoid planting during the hottest part of the day. The heat adds additional stress to the plant. If you do plant ninebark during the heat of the summer months, be sure to water it every 2 or 3 days if it hasn’t rained.
The best time to dig up and transplant ninebark is in early spring or late fall. Determine the size of the root ball by measuring the diameter of the trunk 6 inches above the ground. Estimate the size of the root ball to be one foot for each inch in diameter. Dig a hole in the ninebark’s new location.
Use twine to loosely gather the branches together to make transporting it easier. Use a shovel or spade to dig a hole six inches wider than the estimated root ball size. Dig under the root ball the free the plant from the soil.
Lift the shrub and place it on a tarp or burlap. Wrap it with twine to keep the soil intact during transport. Place the plant in its new location, backfill, and water well. Remove the twine used to tie the branches together.