If you have a naturally-moist area of your garden with space for a largish shrub to settle in and make itself at home, the Pacific Ninebark might be the perfect choice.

In the wild it can be found along stream banks, at the edge of moist woodlands and wetlands; it will indeed languish if allowed to get too dry.

Pacific Ninebark

The clusters of flower buds, with their reddish-pink hue, open to reveal near spheres of tightly packed, tiny white flowers from April to July. What follows are pinkish-brown seed coats that tend to remain on the plant throughout the year, adding more contrast and texture (along with the peeling bark) for winter interest.

Slightly crinkled, dark/bright green lobed leaves, reminiscent of currant or maple, is a beautifully textured contrast against that of the reddish-brown, shredding bark.

Pacific Ninebark

The multi-stemmed nature of Physocarpus will create a graceful, slightly arching thicket, perfect for a mixed hedgerow or natural, wooded area attractive to birds, providing a good source of cover and protected nesting sites. The upright, graceful shape can be further emphasized by pruning, helping to keep the plant's tendency to sometimes become straggly in check, keep it more full and lush. Its extensive root system also makes it good for those situations needing erosion control, slope or along a waterway.

Aside from occasional pruning and assurance of sufficient moisture, Ninebark needs little else in the way of care. Virtually pest and disease free, though on occasion it can be troubled by aphids or powdery mildew.