Pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus) is a dense deciduous shrub growing up to 12 feet tall. The name refers to the unusual bark, which naturally peels off in many colorful layers.
The shrub has maple-like lobed leaves and attractive clusters of small white flowers in May and June. The unique fruit is a glossy red pod which turns dry and brown, and then splits open to release seeds.
The twigs, berries, buds, and leaves are all browsed by wildlife. Pacific ninebark is very important for pollinators, especially solitary bees who lay their eggs and take shelter for the winter in the hollow stems. Pacific ninebark is also a food source for the young of spring azure butterflies, and many birds use it for nesting.
It is often found in wetlands, but also forms thickets along rivers and in moist forest habitats. It can also tolerate some drought. Create a dense deciduous screen by growing it in combination with oceanspray and Douglas spirea. Best in full sun to part shade.
- Light Requirements: Part Shade
- Water Requirements: Moist, Seasonally Wet
- Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
- Growth Rate: Fast
- Spreads: Yes
- Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
- Fire-resistant: Yes
- Edible: No
- Mature Height: 8-12ft
- Mature Width:4-7ft