Diabolo Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’)

Diabolo Ninebark

  • Four Seasons of Interest
  • Outstanding Foliage Color
  • Winter Interest
  • Wildlife Interest
  • Fast-Growing
  • Pest and Disease Free

Diabolo Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’) features eye-catching flowers, deep reddish purple leaves, and wonderfully textured bark. It’s a real knockout plant that’s also easy to grow.

Native to North America, this deciduous shrub family grows along streams, rocky banks, and in moist wooded areas. The unique burgundy red leaf of this particular variety is absolutely stunning and quite rare.

Since its introduction, more than a few people have called it ‘Diablo’ Ninebark, so don’t be surprised if you hear it called by this name, too. The common name of “Ninebark” comes from the textured stems of the plant. They have a unique way of “exfoliating,” or peeling back, to expose a variety of reddish-brown layers underneath. The look is quite ornamental, and it definitely gives your garden some Winter Interest.

The Diabolo Ninebark is prized for its four seasons of interest. In spring, white, button-like blooms appear in clusters. They present a showy display that’s sure to draw attention.

Ninebark is actually related to the Spirea species, and the little white flowers will remind you of those sweet, button-shaped blooms. Mother Nature knows what she’s doing. The profuse creamy white flowers are an amazing contrast to the deliciously deep red leaves.

Butterflies, hummingbirds and bees also love these flat blooms. We think they are easier to land on!

At the end of the growing season in fall, ornamental red capsules sparkle on the tips of the branches. They’ll add a ton of charm to the late season landscape.

However, even though all of these features are extraordinary, it’s the shiny, dark purple foliage in summer that act as this shrub’s real claim to fame. These long, lobed leaves turn an elegant deep purple that’s sure to stand out in almost any setting.

Ninebark is recommended on many fire safe plant lists.

How to Use Diabolo Ninebark in the Landscape

These large shrubs make a colorful addition to any landscape. They are absolutely wonderful as a mass planting as a screen or hedge. Use them along your property line, or to give more privacy to an outdoor room in the garden.

One would also be terrific at the back of your perennial bed. You’ll love the way bright flowers like Hydrangeas, Coneflowers or Sedum really pop against that dramatic setting.

Weave into your mixed shrub borders as either the superstar or as a supporting role. The bold foliage, fall color, and pinkish white spring flowers will carry either role easily.

Diabolo Ninebark makes a beautiful container plant that will add color to the patio. With patience, and by pruning away all but a central leader, the Diabolo Ninebark can even be trained as a single or multi trunk patio tree exposing the exfoliating bark for year-round display.

Tips for Care

Give it enough room to grow into its mature height and spread. It loves good air circulation for best results. It does best in full sun but will do well in partial shade.

Diabolo Ninebark is a fast-growing shrub that’s easy to grow and can tolerate a wide range of soils. It will tolerate wet areas, but good drainage is a must.

To maintain its deep purple beauty, the Diabolo Ninebark should get regular water. Overall, it’s considered a moderate water user. This shrub will tolerate some drought in mild summer regions but look to increase water use during extreme heat.

It prefers average to slightly acidic soils, so consider preparing soil with several heaping handfuls of Dr. Earth Acid Lovers Organic and Natural Planting Mix mixed with your native soil.

Fertilize with Dr. Earth Acid Lovers Organic Premium Fertilizer to maintain pH in higher pH soils and where water pH is high. Fertilizer twice a year, once in the late winter and once in the spring or early summer.

Diabolo Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’) Details

Common name Diabolo Ninebark
Botanical name Physocarpus opulifolius 'Monlo'
Hardiness zone 3-7
Growth rate Fast
Height 8 - 10 ft.
Width 8 - 10 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun, Partial Shade
Moisture Medium
Soil condition Well Drained
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Flower color White
Leaf color Deciduous