Devilishly Good Ninebark

By Susan Littlefield

Plants with purple foliage are great for adding some drama to the garden. And dusky-leaved cultivars of ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) are some of the best choices for adding color throughout the season and serving as accents to all the garden's green. Ninebark is a tough, adaptable, easy care shrub that is resistant to most pests and diseases. Native to the eastern U.S., it is not fussy about soil and is hardy in zones 3-7.

Its only drawback is that many of the selections offered in nurseries mature into large shrubs. Now space-challenged gardeners can enjoy the benefits of ninebark with a new cultivar introduced by Bailey Nurseries. Little Devil™ ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Donna May') stays a compact 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. Easy to maintain with little or no pruning, it's a good choice for urban and low-maintenance gardens. The deep burgundy foliage is accented in June with pinkish-white, button-like flowers that entice butterflies to stop by. Drought tolerant once established, it grows best in full sun. Look for Little Devil™ in retail nurseries this spring.

For more information on Little Devil™ ninebark, go to: Bailey Nurseries.

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