Deeply Rooted

A Little Bit Smaller

  • Ryan Falk, Author
  • Nursery Sales Manager, Falk Nurseries

In my last post I wrote about different colours and varieties of Ninebarks. With foliage colours ranging from purple to yellow and they are a unique option to add to your yard for a pop of colour and contrast.

A problem that Ninebarks can have is that they are just too big. A 6′ tall shrub has limits on where it can be planted. It may become too wide and crowd other plants, or too tall and start blocking the windows. You have to think about mature size before planting, especially when you consider that the Diablo Ninebark can grow as large as 10′ (very old and unpruned).

So what do you do if you need a splash of colour in your front flowerbed, but don’t want it taller than your waist? You could prune the Ninebark rigorously and keep it contained at 3 feet. The simpler alternative would be to plant a dwarf Ninebark.

Tiny Wine Ninebark is first and for most recognized for its size, only 4 feet tall when mature (it can still be pruned if that is too tall). Secondly it has a very upright branching pattern giving it a natural base shape. It also has leaves that are half the size of a regular Ninebark leaf. This helps the little plant continue looking compact. It’s foliage colour is purple/bronze over green, and the more sun it gets the more it’s colour enhances.

Something I forgot to mention about Ninebarks in my last post was that Ninebarks flower as well. Ninebarks will bloom in mid June with 1.5 – 2 inch clusters of tiny flowers. The blooms are typically white but in some Ninebark, like Tiny Wine, the blooms have a pink to red blush. The blooms last for about 2 weeks before dehydrating and turning to seed pods.

But what about a small yellow option? Is there a Ninebark for that as well? Introducing Tiny Wine Gold. With the same size, growth style and pure white blooms the Tiny Wine Gold is a perfect yellow counterpart for the Tiny Wine.

If you still need something smaller than 4′ you will need to consider Spireas. But that is a topic for another time…