The name of this attractive native shrub derives from its exfoliating bark, which produces a fascinating variety of shades from red to brown, making it especially valuable in the landscape for winter interest.(A fine example can be seen in the SBG’s Shrub Showcase garden.)
Ninebark grows to 5-8 ft tall and 6-10 ft wide, but can be pruned for a more bushy habit. Like most natives, it’s not fussy, tolerating a wide variety of conditions, but does prefer full sun to part shade, and is a great choice for wet areas. Deer resistant, it requires little care once established.
As a member of the Rosaceae family, its flowers are similar to those of spirea (another family member) and are very attractive to pollinators. Its glossy red fruit is popular with birds, and its brilliant fall color makes it an outstanding native alternative to barberry. Finally, it’s the host plant for several species of moth caterpillars.
If you weren’t lucky enough to snag one of our free ninebark shrubs at the SBG this weekend, check your local nursery or plant sale. Ninebark is definitely worth your while!